Hall Blog - Feb 2011

January / February 2011.

Well, a spell abroad in the first couple of weeks of the New Year, followed by a long bout of 'man flu' has effectively wiped out January for your humble reporter, so I have to somewhat belatedly catch up on events now I'm finally back in circulation.
I am reliably informed that our first event of the New Year - The Sarah Gillespie Trio featuring Gilad Atzmon - was an absolutely storming event.  It's lovely to see that we can expand our range of events successfully to incorporate a broader 'church' of musical tastes.  We're delighted with our collaboration with Sherborne Jazz and hope to have more in our Autumn programme.
Our folk fans were also suitably delighted with the lovely Miranda Sykes who gave us a great evening along with Reg Preston.
Winners of the 'Friends of P.A.T.' Christmas draw were Terry and Gloria Fox. Congratulations both.
Of course, our major preoccupation during the first few weeks of January was how on earth we were going to cope with the news that our fuel tank was in a dire condition. We were seriously worried that there was a possibility it would split and that we may be faced with a huge (up to £30,000 !!!) clean up bill if it went. That would have spelled the end for the Hall and all of our work over the past years would have been in vain. We put out an appeal to our our supporters in late December, hoping that perhaps we might raise a few quid. The magnificent response brought a lump to our throats - in three weeks we had received over £2,500 in donations. We even heard of people contributing their Winter fuel allowance! We also had a lovely two page write up in the Western Gazette about our problems which helped to spread the word. Additionally we had two approaches from commercial companies offering to help. Hopefully more on this in subsequent blogs. In the meantime, a HUGE 'Thank You' to all who came to our assistance in our hour of need. 
Lottery News. The 'other' good news is that we are starting to see the results of our most recent grant from the Lottery 'Awards for All' fund. It has always been our plan to use the balcony more effectively as a conference/meeting/rehearsal room. The money from the lottery has enabled us to purchase acoustic screens which will form the fourth 'wall' to close off the balcony when required. We are also equipping it our for meetings, so will be able to accommodate up to 20 people in privacy and comfort.
Sat Feb 5th. If it's not one thing, it's another ! Now the South Petherton Library is threatened with being closed. This 'New Society' is a great idea in theory, but speaking as a dedicated volunteer at the Hall I can tell you that it's no substitute for a 'proper' full time managerial core to an enterprise. (We speak from experience). Anyway, the library had a 'read-in' morning with about 100 people turning up.  In order to show support we opened the hall and provided overflow reading space and cups of tea for the weary.
Sun Feb 6th.  It was with a sense of relief that I was finally able to get back down to the hall to see The Churchfitters, an amazing group who hail from Brittany. They treated us to a fantastic variety of music and although they describe themselves as 'Celtic' that hardly does justice to their range of abilities and styles. Rosie played any number of wind instruments, sang and kept brother Chris and the other two guys in order! Chris plays a mean fiddle AND a musical saw (a lovely sound).  Boris Lebret - tall, aimiable and mildly eccentric, on a eclectic range of home made bass instruments, including one made from a Mercedes Benz hub cap !! as well as a 'suitcase' drum (made from a real suitcase) kept us smiling, whilst Topher Lowden on guitar and vocals completed the ensemble. A genuinely excellent time was enjoyed by a capacity audience. Terrific stuff. 
Tues 8th Feb.  I watched the Radio 2 Folk awards last night and was struck yet again by how many of the nominated performers had appeared at the hall. Just shows that we really do get the best. (p.s. Those who haven't yet appeared here are always on our wish list)
Tues 15th Feb. Oooh exciting News !  We've just had confirmation that we've got our hands on 'The Kings Speech' for a special Saturday showing on April 9th. 
Fri 19th.  Performers Evening. Well the move from the last Sunday of the month seems to have worked very well. A great way to start the weekend with a good selection of excellent performances. It was also nice to see new faces, both performing and just coming to listen. A really good night out for a couple of quid. Next one is on Friday March 18th. Do come on down and join in.
Sat 26th. Reg Meuross has been a good friend to the hall over the years and we're always delighted to see him back. His show entitled 'Songs about Tom Dick and Harry featured many tracks from his new album ' All this longing' (which we heartily recommend) and was performed to a full house. Reg brought along two artistes who also feature on it - young and talented Bethany Porter on Cello and Paul Sartin (another David Hall favourite) on fiddle and oboe. The combination of their instruments and harmonies was delightful and Reg made full use of their combined talents to give us a varied and fun filled evening. He had also brought along a friend who was videoing the performance so I'll keep an eye out on You Tube and post a link to it here when it's available. 
nb. We grabbed Paul Sartin at half time and he's keen to come back with Paul Hutchinson in their guise as Belshazzars Feast - watch this space.
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