It really goes without saying that the last convention of 2013 was just as good as the first - and as good as all the others that come to mind. The players were great, the people who worked both behind and in front of the scenes did a fantastic job and the one certain feeling that I took away with me was that everyone had enjoyed themselves immensely. Whilst the winter convention is probably the least well supported, we still had a good Saturday crowd and the Sunday gang also turned out in style. Some long standing members have actually stated that we ought to drop the winter gathering - for what reasons I know not, but in the "good old days" the last convention would be the AGM meeting in September and perhaps the nostalgia of the first thirty years has clouded their judgement slightly! But I always feel that the winter convention carries with it an extra little bit of good fellowship because we are saying farewell to each other with Christmas wishes, knowing that most of us won't be together until 2014. So in my humble opinion, whilst one could argue that Blackpool in November isn't that enticing, the winter get-together is just as good as the other three in the George Formby Society calendar. The entertainment provided was once again top class with some wonderful displays of talent from so many people, this time a slightly changed system of selecting the players for each concert was in use, some members had requested a longer Saturday evening concert so the showing of "The South Bank Show" at just under the hour allowed a little extra time for more players to take to the stage. The aforementioned "South Bank Show" film and on Sunday, "Trouble Brewing" proved to be very popular choices and the quality of the films was top class, we have come along way from 16mm films and video tapes. We were treated to some wonderful non-Formby ukulele players throughout the weekend, it was great to welcome back Peter Moss after an absence of quite a few years and also to watch the talents of Ken Middleton and George Elmes - all brilliant ukulele players who displayed complete mastery of the instrument, those who believe the ukulele to be a simple little instrument that is easy to pick up and play would be astonished to watch the skills that must have taken years and years of practise to achieve. But let us not forget why we are in Blackpool in November, the lynchpin of every gathering is George Formby and the GFS can certainly boast of having some brilliant masters of the banjo-uke within our membership, Alan Yates, Steve Helme, Paul Kenny, Lewis Clifton, Bradley Clarke, Matt and Jonathan Richards, Francesca Davies, Cameron Aitken, Tommy Bland… I could go on! But the one thing about our Society is that there is room for all who have the nerve to take to the stage and entertain us with a rendition. Each convention throws up more than a few memorable moments and for me the best one was when Francesca and Catalina Davies took to the stage and won the hearts of everyone in the room - so much so that a repeat performance within the hour was demanded by the large gathering. I know it wasn't Formby, but Francesca is a great Formby entertainer and Catalina is sure to follow - and their singing together was absolutely magical! Two lovely girls providing a lovely memory of a great weekend to get us all through the dark nights until the next gathering in March 2014. Two other very special moments which were warmly received by the large Saturday evening audience was when Kathryn Pollard received honorary membership for her years of work for the society. Kathryn's work is well known, she has managed the ukulele raffle on numerous occasions and is manager of the George Formby Society Shop and in the last three years has raised around £20,000 for the benefit of the GFS. President of the GFS Gerry Mawdsley managed to get Kathryn to come on the stage for the presentation. Also congratulations to Alex and Kitty Barrett who celebrated 60 years of happy married life, obviously successful with the help of George Formby, Al Bowlly, Guy Mitchell and Glasgow Rangers!
NOVEMBER 2013
Francesca and Catalina steal the show!
It really goes without saying that the last convention of 2013 was just as good as the first - and as good as all the others that come to mind. The players were great, the people who worked both behind and in front of the scenes did a fantastic job and the one certain feeling that I took away with me was that everyone had enjoyed themselves immensely. Whilst the winter convention is probably the least well supported, we still had a good Saturday crowd and the Sunday gang also turned out in style. Some long standing members have actually stated that we ought to drop the winter gathering - for what reasons I know not, but in the "good old days" the last convention would be the AGM meeting in September and perhaps the nostalgia of the first thirty years has clouded their judgement slightly! But I always feel that the winter convention carries with it an extra little bit of good fellowship because we are saying farewell to each other with Christmas wishes, knowing that most of us won't be together until 2014. So in my humble opinion, whilst one could argue that Blackpool in November isn't that enticing, the winter get-together is just as good as the other three in the George Formby Society calendar. The entertainment provided was once again top class with some wonderful displays of talent from so many people, this time a slightly changed system of selecting the players for each concert was in use, some members had requested a longer Saturday evening concert so the showing of "The South Bank Show" at just under the hour allowed a little extra time for more players to take to the stage. The aforementioned "South Bank Show" film and on Sunday, "Trouble Brewing" proved to be very popular choices and the quality of the films was top class, we have come along way from 16mm films and video tapes. We were treated to some wonderful non-Formby ukulele players throughout the weekend, it was great to welcome back Peter Moss after an absence of quite a few years and also to watch the talents of Ken Middleton and George Elmes - all brilliant ukulele players who displayed complete mastery of the instrument, those who believe the ukulele to be a simple little instrument that is easy to pick up and play would be astonished to watch the skills that must have taken years and years of practise to achieve. But let us not forget why we are in Blackpool in November, the lynchpin of every gathering is George Formby and the GFS can certainly boast of having some brilliant masters of the banjo-uke within our membership, Alan Yates, Steve Helme, Paul Kenny, Lewis Clifton, Bradley Clarke, Matt and Jonathan Richards, Francesca Davies, Cameron Aitken, Tommy Bland… I could go on! But the one thing about our Society is that there is room for all who have the nerve to take to the stage and entertain us with a rendition. Each convention throws up more than a few memorable moments and for me the best one was when Francesca and Catalina Davies took to the stage and won the hearts of everyone in the room - so much so that a repeat performance within the hour was demanded by the large gathering. I know it wasn't Formby, but Francesca is a great Formby entertainer and Catalina is sure to follow - and their singing together was absolutely magical! Two lovely girls providing a lovely memory of a great weekend to get us all through the dark nights until the next gathering in March 2014. Two other very special moments which were warmly received by the large Saturday evening audience was when Kathryn Pollard received honorary membership for her years of work for the society. Kathryn's work is well known, she has managed the ukulele raffle on numerous occasions and is manager of the George Formby Society Shop and in the last three years has raised around £20,000 for the benefit of the GFS. President of the GFS Gerry Mawdsley managed to get Kathryn to come on the stage for the presentation. Also congratulations to Alex and Kitty Barrett who celebrated 60 years of happy married life, obviously successful with the help of George Formby, Al Bowlly, Guy Mitchell and Glasgow Rangers!
NOVEMBER 2013
Francesca and Catalina steal the show!