CELEBRATIONS AT THE BLACK COUNTRY ACCORDION CLUB
MONDAY JANUARY 23RD. By Lou Ambrose
2016 departed with a flourish with our Xmas party and 2017 began with the club birthday celebrations as we begin our ninth year of music and fun. Nostalgic reflections were rather sad as we remembered the loss of elderly members and others unable to attend through age related problems. We send our kindest thoughts and regards to these members. Although membership numbers are down on the original figures we have attained a steady membership over the past few years with several members reliably supporting the club. We are trying to offer varied entertainment with the accordion ruling but an occasional band, comedian and singers. The club social nights are very popular and players are gaining confidence when playing to a casual group. It is very pleasing to see a new face on a social evening as often the new face will becomes a member. The club band is making steady progress under the influence of Barry, the musical director. The sad part of the band is the lack of youngsters neither joining the band or the club. Barry did make serious attempts to attract young players but we all are still hoping this will happen. The club night often attracts several elderly visitors and they seem to like the type of entertainment we provide but the attraction seems to be Black Country type of fun and humour. We seem to be going down this path with good results. Back to the party and our guest artist was the very amusing, unpredictable and extremely entertaining, Roman Voloshchuk. Although this was a return visit for Roman some of our members were seeing him for the first time and were unprepared for the unexpected and very amusing show. Roman is very friendly and did not use the stage but played in front which gave him contact with the first few rows of the audience. This is what he enjoys doing and was able to have full verbal contact with anyone that he focussed on. This led up to non stop humour, jokes and comments throughout the evening. Ray Izod started the evening with a French selection and finished with ‘Beautiful Days’. Ray is a local player and often performs at the club and this evening he was playing his latest acquisition, a beautiful sounding Settimio Soprani. Roman then began his show and immediately everyone joined in a rending of ‘Happy Bithday’ to the club. He followed with Russian and French melodies. Romans voice can be very pleasantly quiet or can rise to ear tingling decibels which certainly made sure that we were aware of his singing.. The interval very quickly arrived and the buffet was attacked and went down very well. Then it was time for the annual presentation of awards with Trevor Thomas presenting the Fred Payne Trophy for the most improved player of 2016, to Edward Guest and the most improved novice of 2016, Kay Powell, was the recipient of the Reg Philips Trophy. This was presented by Vicky, the daughter of Reg. After the interval Roman began with a selection of pop themes and a surprise for everyone was a yodelling duet with Pat Hill. This was followed by ‘Dark Eyes’ but we were not sure that the words Roman sang as he adds so much to every tune he plays. Roman completed the evening, eventually, as it was very late, with a good old sing along. We all agreed that it was a superb party, the food was first class, and we had an abundance of raffle prizes. Many thanks to Ray, Roman and our canteen girls.