Group report

It was a year of great sadness for Bell Canto as we lost five of our members who had been with the team almost from its beginnings. The loss of Audrey and Derek Knight, Avril Keyes and Paul Chapman, plus Joan Palmer who went into care, was grievous not only because they were all good musicians who contributed sensitively to the music but also because they contributed significantly to the friendship and concern for each other that has evolved in the group. Happily we have made four new recruits and we look forward to their becoming integrated into the group and its music making.

Our main events were crammed into the latter part of the year. Just before the summer break we shared a concert in the URC Church with the Hampshire Guitar Group, organised by Hannah Hone. After a gap of a year we returned to the URC Church for the Late Night Shopping Concert. We had a goodly crowd in to listen, and appreciated the many kind comments at the end of the concert.

At the end of the year we had two contrasting concerts. We shared an event with the Solent Fellowship Band in a packed St Mary’s Church. We played two sessions, one of light classics and the other Christmas music. This was our best playing ever with the bells resounding through the superb acoustic in the Nave.

Later 15 of us went to play to the severely disabled people who live in the Bryony House Care Home. There are just eight residents. Although individual communication was very difficult, their evident pleasure and enjoyment came across very clearly: and whilst, with one exception, no-one could sing the words of the carols, they all joined in humming and singing as best they could until the whole room filled with music, their sounds blending with the bells.

Big events, broadcasts and CDs over the years have seen the team play to many people. Perhaps our most worthwhile event was playing to those eight people whose lives, to us, seem impossible to bear.

Derek Dunn

This is an article published in the Spring 2020 edition of the Hayling Island U3A newsletter .