Saturday 23rd April 2016 saw the first ever barn dance organised as a fundraising event by Cherry Lodge Cancer Care. It was held at the Arkley village hall, which proved to be a most suitable venue as the hall is very spacious, the facilities are excellent and there is ample parking. To say this was a very popular evening is to understate the fact that nearly 100 people had booked tickets and arrived on the night wearing multi-coloured check shirts befitting the occasion.
Music was provided by the excellent Ivel Valley Band, consisting of David Burden (bass), Chris Rutt (guitar) and Rachel Burden (violin). With them was Jo Rutt in the role of Caller, which, for the uninitiated is a highly skilled mixture of a sergeant major (in the nicest sense of the word) and a choreographer, keeping the entire, packed group of dancers under strict but beautiful control. The band’s repertoire is a mixture of Scottish, Irish and American numbers so most country music tastes were catered for.
To at least one completely inexperienced barn dancer, the Caller’s language was completely new. ‘Forward turn, clap clap, backward turn, clap clap, take your partner by the hand. One gent, two ladies – decide who the ladies are! Switch partners, switch hands, switch feet.’ Then there were the geometrical instructions: ‘form a straight line, get into a square’ and so forth. All good fun. People, on the whole, followed the instructions to the letter and no accidents were observed.
Victoria Bakery needs to be congratulated for the attractive preparation of the nearly 100 ploughman’s ‘lunches’, which seemed to be the most appropriate food for such an energetic evening. A three-course dinner would not have been very welcome …
All in all this was a splendid, very successful evening when people really enjoyed themselves. Taking photographs for the website proved exceptionally difficult as nobody stood still for even a single second.
Hopefully there will be many more Cherry Lodge barn dances with this most talented band of lovely musicians.
Click on the small images below to see larger, complete photographs.