Friday, 23 December 2016

Stourbridge Branch of the George Formby Society celebrates 25 years!

The nearest branch of the George Formby Society to where we live is the Stourbridge Branch. We attend the meetings, held every third Tuesday of the month, when we can, which isn't really nearly as often as we would like. But like all the society meetings, it's a place you can be assured of a warm welcome. It was so on Tuesday evening, 20th December.

It was a very special meeting - not only was it the Christmas meeting, but they were celebrating something rather special - 25 years since Malcolm Palmer had begun the branch! And Malcolm, now turned 80, has been running it with devotion and commitment ever since. Very special, that. The membership were determined to mark the occasion in style. The atmosphere was superb, full of warmth and affection, both for Malcolm and for all those so generous in so many ways, who made it such a special occasion to remember. Malcolm was presented with a lovely glass commemorative clock and a specially designed magazine featuring Malcolm himself in specially crafted images on every page, and more gifts besides! Well-deserved and a delight to witness!

Let us not forget the music! So many members turned up to play and watch that people could only do one song at first. Being the George Formby Society, most people did perform a George Formby song. There was a great selection. I did one as well, one I have only learned recently. I did "Smile All The Time" and remembered it ok, though I think I lost my way a little towards the end of the banjo-uke solo. Never mind, I thought, I'm among friends! Some of us were able to do another song later on, and I did the evergreen wartime song "We'll Meet Again" - a lovely one for everyone to join in singing, and they did! I do enjoy the join-in songs the most! In the photo, just by my strumming hand you can see seated at the keyboard the Stourbridge Branch's greatest star member - Musical Director of the whole George Formby Society, the massively talented Matthew J Richards, who plays keyboard to accompany everyone at Stourbridge and at every national GFS convention at Blackpool. Matthew is simply one of the very most musical people I know, and the most musically considerate, generous and supportive accompanist. He ably accompanies anyone on stage, even when someone loses the rhythm, he manages to stay with them and support them. All the players know this and appreciate it hugely!

I was delighted that Gabriela La Foley was able to call in and give a song, (I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate) even though she had already fitted in a busy day travelling from gig to gig! She's always a star turn, and the most vivacious and charming person you could ever wish to meet! You can just pick her out at the back of the pic here, where all the ladies were playing jingle bells to accompany the song on stage, played and sung by Lynn and Leigh Raybould and friend! (Oooh dear I don't know her name, sorry about that!) I'm there at the back too, next to Gabi; forever at the back, being tall!

I'm indebted to Chris Richards for the photos. There are more on the Stourbridge Branch website!
Well, under pressure time-wise or not, I just had to share this with you. And if I can find some time tomorrow, Christmas Eve, I'll share something else.

In case I don't make it, (the family are coming! Hooray!) I wish you all now a very Happy Christmas, with huge helpings of Peace and Joy! Thanks for finding time to pop in. Please come again!

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HI! I hope you enjoy this blog and I'd love to hear your comments! But I know you'll forgive me if I read them over before I click the "publish" button! Thanks!