Jonathon Swinard and Barbara Cole-Walton’s Musical Curiosities

Helensburgh Oratorio Choir

Winter Warmer Programme 2021

The third in our series of 6 ‘Winter Warmers’ featuring Barbara Walton and Jonathon Swinard took place on Tuesday 16th February, when a great number of our fellow members tuned in for a most enjoyable, entertaining and laughter-filled evening of musical quizzes and song.

With glass of wine, cheese and pancakes (it was Shrove Tuesday after all) to hand we launched into the ‘Sounds familiar’ round where Jonathon tasked us to listen to pop and rap excerpts and challenged us to find the classical roots. I thought I had failed miserably but managed 14/20. I had NO idea that so many pop songs had classical hidden gems! Ice, Ice, Baby!!!

Before we moved onto the ‘Say what you see’ round naming composers, Barbara sang an enchanting song from a book found in a Charity Shop. It was great to hear her sing to us again, accompanied by Jonathon. Live music!!

Naming the composers from Catchphrase-like clues was hilarious! Some were very easy e.g. a picture of Jonathon and then a picture of a dove. But some were very tricky indeed eg Try this one – a picture of a cat sleeping + a picture of traffic lights at green + a picture of a sloth…well? Purr+Go+Lazy = Pergolesi!! Told you they were a bit tricky. I didn’t do very well in that round either but I was enjoying the wine!

Jonathon then gave us a rendition from Flanders and Swann which we learned was a favourite of his. Flanders and Swann were a British comedy duo. Lyricist, actor and singer Michael Flanders (1922–1975) and composer and pianist Donald Swann (1923–1994) collaborated in writing and performing comic songs. They first worked together in a school revue in 1939 and eventually wrote more than 100 comic songs together. Between 1956 and 1967, Flanders and Swann performed their songs, interspersed with comic monologues, in their long-running two-man revues ‘At the Drop of a Hat’ and ‘At the Drop of Another Hat’, which they toured. Jonathon chose to perform ‘A Guide to Britten’ which sends up Benjamin Britten and his singing companion Peter Pears. Written for "Airs on a shoe string" and first performed 1953. How lovely to hear Jonathon perform! You can watch Flanders and Swann on You Tube :

We finished off our musical quiz with a giggle – singing one song to the words of another! Believe me it’s harder than you think but made everyone smile. Our evening was then rounded off by another performance live by our favourite couple. Barbara and Jonathon sang us the delightful patter duet from ‘Call me Madame’ (echoing Ethel Merman and Donald O’Connor!) ‘I hear singing and there’s no one there’. More live music! Fabulous!

We really didn’t want the evening to end as we were having so much fun. Not only because of the fun nature of the evening but because we hold Barbara and Jonathon in such high esteem. They are part of our Oratorio family and we love them dearly. This is evidenced by the immediate feedback from so many of our members to me and our stewards telling us what an enjoyable evening they had experienced. We hope to see them both again soon. Remember and tune in for the 4th of our series on Tuesday 2nd March, same time, same place

A Tindal

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