Hearts of Oak

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Performing maritime and folk music in North Devon and beyond

Newsletter - Christmas 2002

Hiya Folks.

So dear friends, another year comes to an end at the end of next month, and it's probably the right time to recap on another year of successes. Thanks are due to ALL of you who have supported us no matter what. We could never have done it without YOU our esteemed audience. Just think what would have happened for instance if you hadn't been there for the 'Childrens Hospice South West'. night at 'The Mariners' ? Without you we would have had about 10 people in the audience ! As it happens we were able to donate 500 to this worthy cause.

We seem to be using 'The George Hotel' at South Molton a little more lately, more by accident than design but at least it goes someway to satisfy those of you who just come to 'The Mariners' to see us, plus one or two other singers that come along as well as the odd guest.

We all enjoyed the carol concerts last Christmas as well as 'The Mummers' even though the total programme was a bit hectic to say the least ! Every year I say "This is the last time I'll do the Mummers" and after 27 years I still come back for more! Perhaps Christmas wouldn't be the same without these two series of events - I don't know.

This is our fifth year for the carol concerts and each year the church congregations get larger and larger. (See our programme issued with this newsletter or check our web site on www.heartsofoak.net ) We all believe that this is a great way to start Christmas, and although you think we are good (?) I also think that one reason is that everyone is just about 'geared up' and looking forward to the Christmas break which helps us to sound better than perhaps we really are.The shops and stores start their Christmas season earlier than ever so maybe we enter into the spirit of Christmas earlier than perhaps we should ??

Back in March we had 'The Cry of tin' which I thought was superb even though some of us had seen it all before. Maybe one or two of us will start learning a couple of those superb songs before long ?

In April we had Fred Wedlock and he was brilliant. I'm going to try to get him back next year sometime because he was most certainly worth seeing and hearing. - Good singer and great comedian.

The Maritime evening on 25th May for Braunton Museum was also excellent. I understood from the organisers that as this was a 'Sell-out' they were going to do it all again in October ??? - We didn't hear anymore about it although there were lots of our good friends that couldn't get a ticket! I understand that there will be a repeat next year.

Then we come to the Queens Jubilee weekend and on 2nd June and Woolacombe. We had a fabulous night there with probably the biggest North Devon audience we've had for a while and there were only about 6 holiday makers there! ( I nearly said 'Grockles' then !!) so a lot of local support then.

Also at Woolacombe we held the sponsorship concert for Irene Brook which helped to raise 300 in sponsorship for 'Scope' and Irene's 100 Km walk across the Andies!!

The day after Brendon we were at Woolacombe village hall for Irene Brook and 'Scope' I mentioned this earlier so I won't say any more right now.

I was invited to the opening of the new 'Tarka' studios at the North Devon District Hospital on 5th October. Normally I wouldn't bother with this sort of event it's a bit 'Clickey' but it was being opened by John Lilley who is the boss of Radio Devon and I felt like giving him some 'ear ache' because of lack of coverage for our events in North Devon. Unfortunately the opportunity never arose so I had a go at Howard James instead! He does the early morning show but you have to be up early for that! He will no doubt pass on my observations to John Lilley.

I was invited to apply to join the panel of Radio Devon Listeners and attend meetings etc. - I don't think so ! - I don't really want to go down to Plymouth every month at my own expense just to hear a load of 'waffle' and not get a chance to say my piece. 'I've been there, done that, but no tee shirt.

One good thing though, we seem to have caught the eye of the Tiverton Gazette and Doug Parish who supports us. I just wish that the North Devon media would be half as supportive. Anyway Thank you Doug for what you are doing for us.

Right now we are busy getting ready for Carol concerts and The Mummers which is taking up a lot of my time. We were going to make a start on our next CD but it looks as though this will have to wait until the new year now. It is pretty well decided what we will actually record so being positive about it we should be well rehearsed by the time we are ready to record.

I know that it has little to do with Hearts of Oak but I thought that as Tony, Ian and myself are in the North Devon Mummers I ought to mention that this year we will be collecting for The North Devon Hospice. I know from past experience that many of you come to support the Mummers at least once over the Christmas period as well as the Carol concerts. All this is mentioned in our new programme which you can get from Kath or Alison, or from our web site


As previously mentioned, "This is our fifth year of giving a Carol concert at St Margaret's church Northam" It's amazing when you think that the first year we were there the church was half full and last year there was standing room only - unbelievable but true. This year we will be at Horwood, Northam, Filliegh and Lynton so we will look forward very much to seeing you at perhaps one concert and to have you joining in with the singing as well. - Brilliant !!!

Last but by no means least I ought to mention the RNLIconcert at Instow on Thursday 31st October following the Art exhibition in which Ian was showing his talents. Thank you for helping us to support this very worthy cause. We enjoyed ourselves and by the looks on your faces you did as well.

Don't forget on Friday 29th November Ian has booked Kathryn Roberts and Sean Wakeman to appear at 'The George Hotel' South Molton. Should be a good night!

By now you will probably know that we have the 'Fantabulous' Bernard Wrigley at the same venue on August 23rd next year ! - He hasn't been down this way for a long time and he may not come back again so you MUST see him in August if you possibly can. - Great singer and brilliant comedian!

For the last couple of years we have been going up to Bromsgrove to entertain our fans from that part of the world. We have a great following there thanks to Kevin, and next year we are wanted back again. It's a long trip there and back but worth it just for the welcome we get. It would also seem that we are wanted back to the Midlands again later in the year for yet another concert for the RNLI!!

Julie Felix was her usual brilliant self but I think that we will give her a rest for a while, unless of course I here 'murmurings' from you to make me think otherwise ??

Many of you came to see us at the Dartmoor Folk Festivalwhich was appreciated. We enjoyed it and would love to do it again next year but their policy is not to have the same guests on consecutive years, however, we are booked to play at The Kings Arms in South Zeal on Sunday 17th November as a result of our performance there back in August.

As you all know the week after Dartmoor we were up visiting Liverpool and Barrow for festivals up there in the North West. There were some of our North Devon friends up there as well !!! unbelievable wasn't it ? It was good to see them even though it was such a long way from North Devon.

This year we had more friends than ever who came with us to'The Yetties' club in Sherborne. A brilliant night as it always is, and we have a chance of a re-match on 22nd November when Barry and Helen have them coming to 'The Mariners' .

We were a bit disappointed with the 'turn-out' for Tony Truscott at 'The George' on 5th October. Those of you who supported us were well pleased with what they heard, and we, the group, thought Tony was really good. There is no doubt that he is a really good Singer/ Songwriter.

' Isla St Clare' gave us a fabulous evening at 'The Mariners' on 10th October. A lovely lady, with a fantastic voice. I think perhaps that many of us found it difficult to decipher the accent, but so what ? - She could have sung in Chinese for all I cared. I was absolutely spellbound by the quality of her performance and the professional way in which she presented herself - Thank you Isla, so very much. You will probably already know that Isla is at the Queens Theatre Barnstaple for this years 'Jack and the Beanstalk' pantomime playing alongside Wayne Sleep and Terence Frisch.

The 17th October saw us over at the Staghunters, Brendon for an Exmoor evening. It was a 'sell out' and it was enjoyable. There were a number of new faces there and we sold quite a number of CDs as well. No doubt some of them will turn out for some of our other bookings before very long.

This will be the last newsletter of 2002 so should you require any information on what is happening over the festive season then you all have our contact details.

We will be back at 'The Mariners' for the last time this year on Saturday 7th December for our last music night of 2002 - So we hope to see you then.

All of us, that's Tony, Rupert, Ian, Gladys, Kathleen, Alison and myself wish you all a very Happy Christmas, and a brilliant New Year.

Our grateful thanks to all our friends and supporters for another good year.

A big thank you also to Ann and Phil for allowing us to use 'The Mariners' for our monthly soiree.

After Christmas we will be having our AGM and if there are any changes I will let you know in my February newsletter. Here and now is YOUR opportunity to have YOUR say to one or all of us (if you would like to) and we will discuss YOUR comments on your behalf. Remember that we are only as good as YOU make us.

If you have any comments or suggestions, why not click here to send us an Email at feedback@heartsofoak.net

We already have a fair number of bookings for next year and no doubt there will be many more as well. We have yet to finalise dates for 'The Mariners' and once we have we will certainly let you know. Look them up on our Programme. At the moment we have Saturday 1st February 2003 penciled in.

If there is any special guest that you would like to see, and always supposing we can afford them then please ask.

Yours as always,

John Parker for 'Hearts of Oak'

On behalf of all of us.

The Bideford Folk Club

Meets every Thursday at

The Joiner's Arms

in Bideford.
Everyone welcome, especially singers, instrumentalists and most important, listeners.
Occasional Guest Artists too!
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