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THE BLACK COUNTRY MEMORIES CLUB

Exhibition and Christmas Party
24th November 2004
Springvale Social Club, Millfields Road

At 2.30 pm everyone moved into the large room at the Springvale for a showing of Henry Metzger's video of the St. Mary's Exhibition in September. The room was quite full and Alan counted in excess of 80 members and guests seated for the event.  Much thanks should go to Henry for the presentation, with its remarkable quality in both sound and vision, which matched in every way Gerald's amazing talk on "Old Oxford Street", which the video had recorded for posterity. Once the video had ended and before the audience could escape, our party organiser, Alma, quickly followed with our first ever BCMC Bilston Quiz with more or less everyone taking part. From the steps of the stage Alma read out each of the 25 questions which had been put together by Reg Aston. When all had been read out Reg gave out the answers. A number of people answering 23-25 correctly were awarded small prizes. It was hoped at this stage, and as we approached the ending of the afternoon's activities, that we would hear the "Bilston Carol" sung for the first time in over 40 years.

Mrs Ethel Alderson from Fordhouses, Wolverhampton, seen here with her daughter A visitor was Mrs Ethel Alderson from Fordhouses, Wolverhampton, seen here with her daughter.  Ethel had recently contacted the Black Country Bugle with the words and music of "The Bilston Carol". 

This was composed by notable Bilston historian G.T.Lawley, who was a resident of Priestfield, Bilston.  Mrs Alderson attended the small chapel in Ward Street, Priestfield and it was here the carol was performed many years ago. 

She was contacted by our Secretary, Alma, who invited her to attend along with her family.Ethel had supplied the handwritten music and much effort was put into attempting to revive the carol for a special performance.

Frances Page, our pianist along with Jon George, our singer (of Wolverhampton Photographic Society fame) endeavoured to make sense of the old words and music but, with difficulties in matching the words to the melody, they were not completely successful, despite their gallant efforts.  No doubt with time they would have cracked it.  But it is good to be able to record the words here:
Frances Page and Kath Kiely Two sisters in harmony, Frances Page and Kath Kiely.  As on other occasions, we are very grateful to Frances for adding a delightful musical dimension to the meeting.
(Courtesy of Mrs Ethel Alderson & The Black Country Bugle)

Awake, ye slumbering sons of men,
In lowly cot and stately hall,
In lowly cot and stately hall.

Bass Voices:- Here 'neath your window now I wish,

Sops, Altos, Tenors:-Here 'neath your window now I wish,
A Happy Christmas to you all,
A Happy Christmas to you all. The mistletoe hangs overhead,
The holly shines upon the wall,
The holly shines upon the wall.

Bass Voices:- come ' hear the burden of my song,

Sops, Altos, Tenors come ' hear the burden of my song.
A Happy Christmas to you all,
A Happy Christmas to you all. Awake, the snow is falling fast,
The earth is whitened with its fall,
The earth is whitened with its fall.

Bass Voices:- come, fill your bowls and let us drink, *
Sops, Altos & Tenors:- come, fill your bowls and let us drink.
A Happy Christmas to you all,
A Happy Christmas to you all.
*Alternatively, "Good wishes now to you we bring"
A group of BCMC worthies A group of BCMC worthies posed for a photograph for the Black Country Bugle but our photographer got in first.

At 4.15pm with darkness upon us and, with rush hour traffic building nicely on the Millfields Road, the meeting came to a close. It was our first Christmas Party and everyone seemed to have had a good time.  Hopefully this style of meeting will be repeated next year.

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