Concertina group based in Maidstone, Kent, UK
SqueezEast is an annual concertina workshop that attracts players from all over the country and there is always a contingent of Kettle Bridge members who make the trip up to Stamford. To make this less tiring, most of us stay the night before in accommodation en route. This year, the group based in Peterborough had an interesting experience at their hotel (which wasn't expecting them!) but they enjoyed good clean beds and a brilliant Chinese meal.
This year, the workshop was under new management, but the format was just the same as in previous years and it was great to see old friends David and Elsie Nind who have contributed so much to SqueezEast in the past. Although Paul Barrett said last year that he would no longer be doing SqueezEast, we are extremely pleased that he succumbed to pressure, as he produced another set of seven very enjoyable pieces for us to tackle.
We were made to concentrate hard from the very beginning. The first piece, 'O Waly Waly', was set in 3/2 time and there was a lot of frantic counting going on amongst the players. We worked hard on it and were well pleased with our achievements by the time we stopped for a cuppa and a biscuit. There followed two further pieces, 'My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose' and 'Four Horns On A Foggy Evening', which took us up to the lunch break.
Sandwiches and a stroll round town in the sunshine left us suitably refreshed for the afternoon ahead.
First up, 'The Castle Walk', had us all counting again in order to master the syncopated rhythm. We did improve, honest! Three more pieces were interspersed with four lots of 'party pieces' from the attending players. The five Kettle Bridge members did an impromptu rendition of 'Do You Hear The People Sing?' and 'The Great Escape'. Let's just say that we have played better!
We had another tea break in the afternoon and Paul took us through all we had played during the day. We finished at about 4.30, everyone having really enjoyed themselves and pleased with their progress.
Many thanks to the organisers for yet another fun SqueezEast and a special thank-you to the Nind offspring who provided refreshments just when they were needed. See you all next year!