Coronation Celebrations

“Newmillerdam Green” Photos Mike Carr, Jane & Phil Barr, Richard Hancock. Videos Jane & & Phil Barr

Wakeylele Band at the Double!

Coronation Sunday, 7th May,  2023 at Walton and Newmillerdam.

It was the morning after the Coronation of Charles 3rd and, as dawn broke, it was time for the band members to gird their loins , some of whom faced the prospect of three gigs in 3 hours. After a grey start, the weather showed promise, and by midday, the sun beat down on Walton recreation ground as the crowds gathered with their picnics and proseccos ready to be treated to a musical (as well as athletic) feast.

Walton Coronation Celebration’s excellent Master of Ceremonies looking on as Pop relaxes.

However, technical problems ensued which meant both delays and ongoing glitches with the sound system. Despite these problems, the personnel within our band who played at Walton performed their two sets, either side of an energetic dance troupe, to their normal high standards and a reliable source informed me that there were several compliments afterwards with one esteemed member of the community commenting that he liked the fact that the band played with plenty of oomph.

Thus, after two slots of 20 minutes, part one of the day was completed , and the said personnel, took a deep breath, wiped their brows, gathered their belongings, returned to their cars and headed for the attractive park area close to Newmillerdam.

Joe needs a moment, Mags sorting out her percussion, David Flatters testing his seat, Mike Carr looking cool and David making an unconventional entrance
Sue needing an extra arm.

Group members arrived in dribs and drabs, some having lugged their gear uphill, then paused for breath, wiped their brows a second time (particularly, but not exclusively, those who had played at Walton), while those who had also sung in the choir revived themselves with a splash of water and sucked ferociously on lozenges ready to sacrifice themselves yet again in a good cause. Fortunately, there was time to recover as  the soothing sounds emanating from the brass instruments of the Wakefield Met. Band floated through the air. The band made the most of this interval by indulging in a cooling beer or homemade cakes which were on sale in the small enclave of gazebos set between trees, which made for a very pleasant location.

Chilling before the Newmillerdam set. Roy not in the conversation for once as he devours a huge salad.

Of course, there is always someone to disrupt a genteel atmosphere and sure enough as one of our prominent members unobtrusively hunted for a convenient comfort stop, Roy was heard asking if he required any paper. I may be mistaken but I thought I heard another voice chipping in saying “You can have my copy of Enjoy Yourself,” but there was a French Horn playing at the time, so I can’t be sure. 

  Finally, the last lap of the day arrived, and the band positioned itself initially under the gazebo which the brass band had vacated. However, as the majority of the viewing audience were still some distance away, we gradually crept forward until we had advanced another ten yards or so.

Those who preferred a seat settled in although Pop had unfortunately placed his chair on a bog and it was only razor sharp reflexes from helping hands that prevented him careering backwards.(Pop’s professionalism never wavered though as he recovered instantly to help fine – tune my uke.)  That incident only served to focus the band’s concentration  and so, thanks to David’s clear prompting the band again performed admirably in testing circumstances as the oppressive heat enveloped us and the background buzz of people in party mood filtered in to the gazebo. It certainly helped that we had a receptive audience in the adjoining tent who were happy to sing or clap along to our now very well rehearsed set with David giving members a choice of songs after the first half  dozen songs had been completed. Finally, we ‘Zinged’ through the final number and the day was done. (Pop could now look forward with relish to the belly pork his daughter in law had prepared earlier.) We collected our belongings, applied smelling salts where necessary to members of the group who had completed the whole musical triathlon and trudged wearily back to our vehicles in the knowledge that we had done our bit towards the celebrations irrespective of whether our audience were staunch royalists, republicans, or something in between. 

Pippa prepping, Maria, Phil and Pop ready to go. Pop’s son and wife have ringside seats so Pop needs to be on his mettle.


The band’s view, looking through the Pagolas to the sunny glade.

Kudos must go to Mags, Roy, Maria, Sue and Lynn who participated in all three parts of the day, to David who’s voice was threadbare by the end of play, to Liz, Margaret B and Mike Hindley’s wife for being our number one supporters on the day, along with Pop’s son and wife , to the event organisers and volunteers, and to Jane for attempting to provide photos and videos from the Walton venue.( due to the dazzling sunlight, only one of the videos turned out okay but is a bit distant. The sound is good though so it’s worth a listen. 

 A quick turnaround as the next gig is on Friday, 12th May at Snydale Care Home at 2p.m.

2 Comments on “Coronation Celebrations

  1. Girding of loins indeed! Thanks so much whoever decided the weather! Not my job to fault proceedings earlier on but all that time to prepare… ? Still, goodish reports from friends at Walton were (kind of) reassuring.
    Onto a different day around Nmd. Once we got settled, things mattered less, voices croaked and energy wilted but our performance was still top notch.
    What a day.. sorry for inflicting the double whammy. Respect to all involved. Choir members…something else!
    Despite an earlier downer, Phil recovers to produce another splendid report (with a little help from his friends!)
    Is that it now for Royal events? Is it safe to discard all the Union Jackism? Power to the downtrodden masses. Power to Wakeylele!

    Well done everyone!

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