Last Friday (December 16th), Millman Street Community Centre members enjoyed a Christmas Party, with musical accompaniment from our friends The Daisy Bowlers. The band have played at the Centre several times before, but perhaps never with the same gusto. Debbie Bines (ukelele and kazoo), Heather Simmons (double bass) and Dave Cooke (piano and guitar) played what they described as “vintage” tunes, ranging from the 1920s to 1950s, often in a sassy jazz style. Being Christmas of course, they completely ignored the season and couldn’t be persuaded to play a festive number. Nonsense of course: the band played twenty songs in all, several of them Christmas songs – and to great appreciation and applause, to boot.
A small army of staff and volunteers – including Pat, Mandy, Vashtina, Sarah and Steve – attended to our members, and Lucas, Saira, Hanif and Charles turned up at various stages. As did former manager Sue, who this reporter caught doing some washing up. With our usual hard-working kitchen staff on a well-deserved break, agency caterers Muanacha and Adenise prepared and cooked most of the food. However, it was volunteer Gloria’s homemade Christmas cake that went down best of all.
There was also a raffle, organised by our Activities Coordinator, Carmen, which raised funds for HCA. Amongst the winners were Melanie, who won a bottle of wine; Siwela, who enjoyed some body butter, Ken, who won a book on Asrrology (which he must have foreseen before buying his ticket), and Alex won what he descibed as “bathroom smelly stuff.”
There was dancing and jiving to The Daisy Bowlers set: they played Yessir, Thats My Baby; Beside The Seaside; Little Brown Jug; Don’t Fence Me In; Hawaiian Warchant; Winter Wonderland; Hey, Mambo!; Santa Baby; All About The Bass; Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy From Company B; Sentimental Journey; Abbadabba Honeymoon; Has Anybody Seen My Gal?; You Must’ve Been A Beautiful Baby; Santa Sclaus Is Coming To Town; Have Yourself A Very Merrt Christmas; Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens; Orange Coloured Sky; I Wanna Be Like You and, as an encore, I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas – all to rapturous applause from our members and staff.
Due to an overabundance of badly-taken photos, there are several slideshows to see. The Daisy Bowlers in action are first:
At the end of the performance, Heather made a brief speech: “Thank you very much for having us,” she began. “We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year! We hope to see you again in the new year!”
There was also the Christmas tradition of pulling crackers:
As is customary on these occasions, our members’ opinions were sought and given. A selection of their reactions appears below:
Melanie’s husband, Pascal, enjoyed the party, and winning the wine, he said. Melanie proclaimed that she was: “Happy! Happy!,” adding: “Everything, I enjoyed [it]!” and said she’d lost count of the years she’s been a Millman Street Centre member.
Patrick said: “I very much enjoyed myself. The band were very good. I’d like to see them again! Anything with harmony; really well done! I’d sit down and make a point to listen to them. Well worth listening to,” he added.
Janice “Very much” enjoyed herself. “Nice company, nice food and nice singing,” she said. “It was well arranged by the staff,” she added.
“I very much enjoyed myself,” said Bettina. “I had a sing-a-long, and the cake was lovely!”
“It was good,” said Tom. “The band were very good. The company was terrific, the personalities. Cake was good, too!”
Helena said: “It was lovely. Marvellous. Everything about today was lovely!”, especially the cake.
“it was quite nice,” Margaret agreed. “I liked the music; very nice.”
Back to our members after the following ‘dancing’ (and random Hanif pic) slideshow:
And now, more from our members:
“It was very good entertainment,” said Jean U. “Very enjoyable and the food was very good. The cake by Gloria was very, very tasty!”
Former manager Sue said: “It was lovely. The cake was fantastic! I was too late for lunch. It was nice to see everybody!”
Queenie also enjoyed herself. “The singing was lovely,” and she “like the cake”.
“I loved the band,” Ivy enthused. I think they’re brilliant! They’re so friendly,” she added. “Happy to have a good old laugh! I look forward to them coming back!”
All at HCA hope so, too, and we thank everyone – staff, volunteers, The Daisy Bowlers and our members themselves – for making the 2016 Christmas Party go with a right royal swing.
Contact The Daisy Bowlers via:
Badly-taken pictures and report by Notes Smudger