Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Welcome to the Sixties, WOAPA Day..

Tom and Lou teaching us Welcome to the Sixties
Well, can you believe it's that time of year again? WOAPA DAY has once more been and gone. I can't believe how fast this year is going. This Sunday in August has got to be one of the highlights of my year and serves to keep me from getting withdrawal symptoms as we don't meet on a Wednesday during the school holidays.

Every year a theme is chosen for the day and this year it was music from the 60's. Being a 'lady of a certain age', I knew that I would really enjoy singing songs which I was sure would bring back memories. I was not disappointed.

Jo and Diane practising
As usual we gathered at 10am in the main hall of a local school. There was an excited buzz, with a few brave individuals who had opted to do a duet or group performance busily expressing their nervousness and questioning their sanity. Some of the more seasoned performers seemed to be taking it in their stride.

I felt quite sombre at the beginning as we arrived to the lilting sound of Cilla Black singing, 'Anyone who had a heart', particularly poignant as Cilla had recently passed away and if anyone female singer embodied the 60's, for me it is Cilla.We sang a range of songs including a Eurovision and a Beatles Medley, with a lot of other brilliant songs in between.

Anyone who has read any of my previous blogs will know that I'm a frustrated Karen Carpenter or Lulu, and this is usually my time to get up on the stage and sing a solo. But this year I decided to just enjoy the day and let other people experience butterflies in the stomach and feeling sick, that accompany the nerves of solo performing. But fate had other ideas. The previous Wednesday I was approached by Lou and asked if I'd be willing to step in and sing a duet with Gail, as her partner couldn't make it. With very little persuasion, I agreed. The song being, 'To Sir with Love'.

Our two brave guys.
There were a few firsts that day. for one thing, we had some men come along and not only did they join in the day, they actually gave a wonderful rendition of Elvis's 'The Wonder of You'. Another first was Tom, Brian and Lou's eldest son, taught us a number from the musical Hairspray called, 'Welcome to the Sixties', which he conducted for us in the evening's performance. And a brilliant job he did too.

After an exhausting , but fun day, we had a break for a couple of hours, then reconvened at 7pm to perform in front of our family and friends.

The Golden Girls
The evening began with us all singing, 'Welcome to the Sixties' , followed by, the wonderful Petula Clark's, 'Downton'. Then seven of our more mature ladies, calling themselves 'The Golden Girls' sang a number called, 'Everybody's Somebody's Fool'. The girls were really nervous, but did a great job, so much so, that Brian asked them to sing a few lines together in the closing number of the show. The rest of the programme was supposed to be;-

Eurovision Medley, Everyone
Son of a Preacher Man, Chris and Gladys, (alias Lucy)
Build Me Up Buttercup, Jo and Diane
Beatles Medley, Everyone
Ain't No Mountain High Enough, Laura and Marilyn
Something Tells Me I'm Into Something Good, Everyone
To Sir With Love, Gail and yours truly.
The Wonder of You, Dave and Russ
Your Loves Keeps Lifting Me, various artistes.
Dame Shirley Bassey.
But Brian and Lou had a surprise in store. Instead of the music for Something Tells Me', Brian announced that there was to be a celebrity guest appearance by Dame Shirley Bassey. The lights were turned on to the curtains across the entrance at the back of the room, which then opened to reveal the amazing apparition that was Dame Shirley Bassey, alias Louis Raschke in drag. To rapturous applause, Dame Shirley made her way on to the stage and gave a rendition of 'Gold Finger' that the Dame herself would be proud of, if somewhat of a more comical version. The audience and singers alike loved it.

Follow that! 

My partner in crime, Gail.
I thoroughly enjoyed singing with Gail and was very glad that I had performed a duet. I know that if I hadn't, I would've regretted it.

The evening ended with a spirited rendition of 'You Keep Liftin Me', performed by the Golden Girls, some of the duet singers, including myself, and two brave volunteers, Sarah and Ellen.

It was another fun and enjoyable day and I can't wait to find out what the theme for next year will be. Thank you so much Brian and Lou, not forgetting Tom, Eddie  and of course Louis, for all your hard work. It's much appreciated.

Finally, I wouldn't be me if I didn't include the video of Gail and me singing, 'To Sir with Love'. (apologies for the quality). 

Photographs courtesy of ;-

Diane Iverson
Isabel Johnstone

Videos:- Isabel Johnstone.
Celebrity guest video courtesy of WOAPA

Isabel Johnstone 2015 ©

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