Following our super saxy performance atin September there was no time to rest on our laurels, we went straight into learning a new set of songs for our annual ‘Christmas Busking Bash’ at the Henley Living Advent Calendar on Monday 18th December 2023.
As a newbie to the group at the beginning of the year, the Christmas gig was all new and exciting to me. During the next four band sessions our band leader guided us through the set of Christmas music, the months flew by and I was often to be heard singing our songs in the shower, in the street, everywhere and anywhere… and I doubt that I was the only one – they are all ear-worms that get stuck in your head!
Gig night arrived. We gathered at the King’s Arm Barn and the fun began. The room was buzzing with excitement, as well as a few nerves. More and more saxophonists kept arriving and we were getting hotter and hotter, having dressed for cold winter temperatures. Of course, instruments and music stands had to be decorated with tinsel and lights. Oh, and then, of course, so did the musicians – there were the festive hats; with elves, upside-down Santa legs, and even angel wings! There was no doubt…the adrenalin was flowing, we were ready for a great performance!
On the market square, an audience had assembled and was waiting eagerly. 100+ saxophonists trooped out in single file to be given a rousing introduction by Richard Rodway. This was it; this was the moment we had been practising for.
We began with one of my favourites Wizzard’s ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’. That got the crowd rocking and any nerves that we had just disappeared. It was followed by a change of tempo and Ariana Grande’s ‘Santa Tell Me’. Next came Britney Spears’ ‘Baby, One More Time’ – not a Christmas tune, but maybe one of our favourites of the year. The crowd were clearly enjoying themselves as much as us and we continued with Paul McCartney’s ‘Wonderful Christmastime’. Sadly, and all too soon, it was time for our finale – ‘The Rockin’ Saxmas Medley’ a fun medley of ‘Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer’, ‘Jingle Bell Rock’, ‘Frosty the Snowman’, and ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’.
As we left the stage, we were on a high, chattering enthusiastically. Six individual bands had gone on stage to play together as one group and were accompanied by a professional West End drummer, Lewis Jenkins. It had been such an enjoyable experience to share, to play as a group, and to be part of that supportive atmosphere. I have enjoyed my first year as a Sax Bandit and look forward to 2024!
Many thanks to for the work he put in to organise and prepare us for this very successful event. Impressively, £659 was raised on the night for the charity ‘ ‘ as chosen by .