Transatlantic Travels

Following a request made through the website we made contact with two sisters the USA. They were from Minneasota and San Diego and use their Summer vacation to meet up and travel the world. This year they chose an 18 day trip aboard the narrow boat “Hertford” hired from College Cruisers in Jericho, Oxford and travelling north on The Oxford Canal towards Stratford on Avon. Although we couldn’t provide them with any information about local music events on their journey we were able to visit the boat yard and “sing them off” on a gloriously sunny day. Lets hope the rest of the journey is blessed with such good weather. Our day began with a lunchtime meal with wives and other halves followed by three songs vaguely suited to the occasion. After wishing them a safe onward journey we adjourned to the local hostelry “ The Olde Bookbinders” for a drink with their very generous tip.

Quintessence with our American visitors

Quintessence with our American visitors

Jean's 80th

Ian our biggest fan’s wife Jean was 80. Ian and Jean’s daughter Gaynor thought it would be a great idea if she could surprise them with a secret party in Shalbourne Village Pavillion with us providing entertainment and of course the necessaries for Happy Birthday. Well, we couldn’t refuse! Many of Jean’s friends and family were packed into the pavillion to greet them. What a shock! Following a hog roast, drinks and Birthday cake we sang for the party. Even when our esteemed Lead Mr Harvey decided to collapse behind us the party continued and you will be pleased to know that with the help of the Wiltshire Ambuance service and the docs at Great Western Hospital he was returned to us with barely a scratch on him and in splendid voice as always. Welcome back John!

Jean celebrating her 80th Birthday

Jean celebrating her 80th Birthday

Beer Festival at The Kings Arms

What could go wrong? Singing A Cappella at a beer festival! We were delighted to be asked to perform at The Kings Arms in Wantage as part of the line up for the first ( and I hope ) many Beer Festivals to be held in this pub. Newly refurbished and hosting some wonderful beers and a collection of 89 different Gins ( Yes. That’s right. 89!! ) this pub was packed for Easter Saturday. Quintessence kicked the whole thing off with an up tempo set of songs in the garden. The weather was glorious and the reception great! Stu the Landlord and beer brewer extraordinaire was rushed off his feet all weekend. A great time was had by all!

Lawn Care Weekend

We were invited back to our friends at Yarnton garden Centre to provide entertainment for a special Lawn Care weekend. With demonstrations of robotic lawn mowers and every concievable material to care for your lawn we provided a roving performance of songs. Sadly we only had one song ( Jolly Holiday from Mary Poppins ) which contained any reference to grass. However we were appreciated by the many patrons who attended over the day. We’ll find another song for next year!

More Coffee, More Tea

Well, we’re back at The Stanford Coffee Shop! Before and after another delicious breakfast we launched into an up beat programme of songs to entertain the assembled diners. It was a busy morning for the cafe and this provided an appreciative audience of Mum’s, villagers and builders from the local building site. Is this the perfect recipe? Singing & Full English?

I Like Coffee, I like Tea

Every month we like to organise a Quintessence Breakfast. Each of us takes it in turns to suggest a venue where we can pause our dieting ( if you believe that you’ll believe anything! ) and partake of a leisurely breakfast and discuss Quintet business followed by a short rehearsal as guests at one of our numbers houses. It was Richard our Baritones turn, and he suggested a newly opened cafe in his home village of Stanford in the Vale. The cafe provides food and drink to the residents of the village and is close by the local primary school and is popular with the parents whose children can use a creche in the building. We do not normally sing on these occasions but the staff were insistent that we sing a couple of songs before leaving. We were asked if we might return to do a more structured sing with the promise of a free breakfast. Well. We couldn’t resist could we. More about this in a later blog.

Sanctuary Health Care Christmas Entertainment

This sing has become an annual event for us. Organised by Ruska one of the staff of this care home it provides a bit of Christmas cheer to the residents. We always encourage the audience to sing along with the songs and this year proved as popular as ever with many staff and residents helping us out. It’s wonderful to see that music can bring a smile to the face and memories of Christmas’s spent with family

Yarnton Garden Centre

We were invited to a special Christmas late opening at Yarnton Garden Centre, Kidlington. The event was to provide late shopping for locals and a chance to publicise a major overhaul of the Garden Centre due to be completed in April 2019. Again Quintessence were able to offer a varied programme of Christmas and popular songs as wandering minstrels through out the centre. Silly hats were worn and chords rang out amongst the festive treats on offer. Many thanks to the centre management who provided food and the occasional glass of Mulled Wine!

Arts & Crafts Festival

Quintessence were asked to provide entertainment for shoppers at the Annual Christmas Arts & Crafts Evening at Shalbourne Village Hall. Suitably fuelled with mulled wine and after one of our number had been knocked over by a car arriving at the event, we managed to get through a programme of festive songs and started the Christmas shopping early. Talented artists and crafts people displayed a variety of paintings, jewellery and Christmas gifts.

The Party Goes On

As a follow on from our previous engagement Liz asked if we might take part in the usual Tuesday night “Open Mike Night” at The Mutton. The pub was packed to the gunnels and we got a great response to our set. Liz was still celebrating her Birthday, and that evening could rate as the best feedback we’ve ever had from an audience. ( Our baritone thinks it was because of his rockin’ rendition of “ Crazy Little Thing Called Love” ) We didn’t want to disillusion him!

Liz Makes It 50

Quintessence were delighted to be asked to sing at Liz’s 50th Birthday Party. Liz is the sister of the Landlord of our favourite pub “The Shoulder of Mutton” in Wantage. Always a fan of live music being a festival organiser in her own right we hope she was suitably entertained with a few songs and a rendition of Happy Birthday!

Wantage Music Festival

Quintessence made their annual appearance at this Nationally important Festival providing two songs in the Vocal Ensemble ( up to 8 singers ) Class. Performing as a quartet on the day Quintessence sang: When I Fall In Love & Slow Boat To China.

Burford Garden Centre

We were delighted to be invited to this prestigious evening event for VIP customers at Burford Garden Centre. The garden centre was packed with shoppers eager to snap up special offers for the evening. A variety of pop-up eateries and bars were available to shoppers along with craft stalls and gardening demonstrations. The Quintet acted as wandering minstrels singing amongst the pot plants and shrubs.

Choir Evening

Quintessence were asked to provide a 15 minute set at a local Choir Evening. Choirs were invited by local Singing Tutor Jim Mitchell to sing a few songs to their fellow choirs at The Beacon in Wantage

Wantage Presents

Quintessence were again asked to provide entertainment for the Saturday shoppers by singing two sets of songs outside The Bear Hotel. We were again raising funds for Cancer Research UK. Another warm Summers day necessitated a pit stop at The Shoulder Of Mutton later.

Grove Pensioners' Day Care Centre

Following our theme of singing to the pensioners of the area we were invited by a good friend to sing for the Day Care Centre in Grove, near Wantage. Pensioners meet on a Tuesday and Thursday to chat, have a cuppa and a lunchtime meal. They were please to see us and again many of our songs they could sing along to. Many smiling faces.

Sanctuary Care Home – Wantage

We were invited to sing for the residents of The Sanctuary Care Home in Wantage. Thank you Rouska for organising this. We provided 40 minutes entertainment for the residents some of whom were familiar with the songs and sang along with us. We threw in a couple of "Audience Participation" numbers just to challenge them which went down very well. 

Shivenham Gardening Club

Quintessence paid a return visit to this thriving Horticultural Club. We were asked to sing at their Christmas Party and once again we had a fabulous welcome. Richard, our Baritone wrote one of his parody songs. We all agreed it was his best to date. We sang some Christmas songs interspersed with a fair selection of our standard repertoire. Cake was eaten and wine supped to finish off a very pleasant evening.