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Sunday 13th August 2017
This month’s walk is the Jedburgh Circular Riding Route – the Eastern Loop which will be about 8 miles. Meet at the Jedburgh Bus Station Car Park at 9.45 am. Note that tracks might be muddy. Bring a packed lunch.
All welcome. Come on, join us and have fun …!
November 13th 2016
This month’s walk will be the Leaderfoot Earlston circular. Meet at the main Jedburgh car park at 9.45am to arrange car sharing to starting point. All Welcome. Bring a packed lunch.
Moira & Val certainly enjoyed this walk!
Black Hill Walk – Sun 10 May 2015
Once more we enjoyed a nice walk up and around the Black Hill at Earlston good views and dry on the first half of the walk a bit damp on the way back to the cars.
Our next adventure is meeting at Pennymuir 9.45 for ten. Start a nice circular walk out past Chatto and back via Dere street, this taking place on the 14th June. Come and join us….. Kenny T
Heatherhope Walk – Sun 12 April 2015
Only the brave hearted took to the hills today, a fine drizzle to start with, and as we headed up the track to Heatherope dam it started to get rather wet, so when we finally reached the dam we found a nice dry shed to have lunch in.
While we were there it started to SNOW.! It was so heavy we had to think about our return path, so we just retraced our steps back to Hownam and warm cars.
Our next walk takes place on the 10th May meeting at carpark next to bus station in Jed at 9.45 for 10. for car sharing to Earlston where we will walk the Black hill. A beautiful place to be on a sunny day so please come along, everybody welcome…. – Kenny T
Carolside Walk – Sun 8 March 2015
Great walk today in sunshine – ok and a couple of showers! Started in Earlston and went up by the old golf course through the woods and down to the A68. Then across and along by Carolside next to the river Leader lovely little picnic in the woods then back into town, every body really enjoyed themselves.
Our next walk takes place on the 12th April meeting at Hownam for a circular walk in the hills, come and join us folks all welcome… 9.45 for 10 start – Kenny T
Walk to Mossburnford – Sun 8 February 2015
Our walk on Sunday past was from Jed up through the woods past Hunthill big house then over the fields to Coalpit cottage. Not a lot of the guys had been there before. It was like a house from a Catherine Cookson novel. From there we carried on to Mossburnford where we had a great spot for lunch at the top of Jacobs ladder. No-one would venture down – I wonder why!! Maybe it was all the steps! After lunch we walked through more woods and down by the river past Ferniehirst Castle and ended up back in Jed. The whole walk was in brilliant sunshine and we had some great views of the Cheviot hills all covered in snow.
Oxnam Valley Voices are always looking for new members to join their choir, so if you enjoy singing, or even wish to be social; We embrace vocalists of all standards, so why not pop along on a Wednesday evening to Oxnam Village Hall at 7pm, and you’ll be made most welcome.
We are looking forward to our autumn/winter 2017 term. Here are some dates for your diary.
Some of these dates are provisional but will allow you to see ahead what is planned
3rd November Roxburgh Kirk in aid of OVV funds
25th November Oxnam Village Hall in aid of Hall funds
23rd November & 7th December Teviot Smokery Confirmed
We may also be asked to sing at Jedburgh Christmas lights switch on 1st December- this is to be confirmed also
Early 2018 Possible Come & Sing a Piece from Scratch (I’m still waiting to hear)
So keep your throats lubricated and your tonsils tickled for all the lovely singing we will be doing. Maybe a gin tasting night will help with that………..
Summer Newsletter 2017
From the Choir Master
My goodness, just two months short of a year since you’ve had to cope with me ‘ bullying’ you every Wednesday!. One of my ‘Roxies’ choristers, now laid off because of hip problems, was heard once to comment, when they had been complimented on one of their performances, ‘Ah, yes, but we have a bully!’ Maybe it takes a ‘bully’ to get good results, and I am hoping that you feel it is worth it. But even being a ‘bully’, the vital ingredient is a sense of humour. And I am overjoyed that the Oxnam Valley Voices are so very receptive to having a good laugh, often at your own expense, sometime at mine! ‘Tis the greatest gift, I do believe, and gets us all working in harmony. You’re a great bunch, and I am delighted to be getting to know you all better.
Our concert in the village hall was, by all accounts a resounding success. There’s a lot of talent lurking in the choir, and I hope that with a bit more gentle persuasion, more might be uncovered. We’ve already had Susie Finlayson and Roger Tobbell doing fabulous readings, oh, yes and Emma, Moira and Morag at Ancrum too. But the OWLS concert featured two newcomers, in Colin Douglas and Sharne Delebecque. Neither had yet sung a complete solo before, and my goodness, how well they did! This is what I love about choirs – there is always so much more to be drawn out of people, and Colin and Sharne are fine examples of that. So watch out, all you who think you can hide in the back row!! Your time may come!
But of course the main purpose of the choir is to come along and enjoy singing songs that you know, and perhaps learning a few songs, or even arrangements that are new. Singing is good for you, and when you add laughter, it makes for a great night out.
My love to you all, Marion
From The Choir
Almighty and most merciful Choirmaster
We have erred and strayed from thy beat like lost sheep
We have followed too much the intonation and tempi of our own hearts
We have offended against thy dynamic markings
We have left unsung the notes we ought to have sung
And we have sung the notes we ought not to have sung
And there is no breath in us.
But thou, O Choirmaster, have mercy on us miserable singers
Succour the chorally challenged
Restore them that need extra note bashing
Spare thou them without pencils
Pardon our mistakes
And have faith that we will follow thy directions
And sing together in perfect harmony
Oxnam Valley Voices’ post-Christmas get-together involved a meal at the Carters Rest – as if we’d not over indulged enough over the festive period and also partaken in the ‘odd’ glass of wine or maybe even G&T – a favourite tipple for a few ladies in OVV – mentioning no names of course! Yes, believe it or not, the Carters Rest was happy to welcome us all back again another year! It was great to see lots of members pitching up, both old and new.
With no seating plan in place, it was a “free for all” where we all sat. With all eventually happily seated and drinks bought – soft drinks for the drivers of course – a delicious meal was served up. Surprisingly, or maybe not, lots of chips were left over – evidently the post-Christmas diets had already started for some! Moving on to the all-important pudding, the more than generous portion of assorted ice-cream, although yummy, proved a step or should we say a spoon or two too far, with some of us struggling to reach the bottom of the dish!
Everyone now nicely chilled and relaxed – the odd one or two trying not to nod off due to rather full tummies – Ann R decided to liven us all up with some party games. There was no sitting them out, not by anyone! Party games can take on various forms – as we all know – so exactly what had Ann up her sleeve! We all waited with baited breath, some with slightly apprehensive expressions!
The first game involved After Eights, forming lines and of course a race! Trying to slide an After Eight down your forehead and into your mouth without using any hands, proved a bit sticky if not tricky, as we all found out rather quickly – hence a fair bit of cheating went on. A further game involved sitting on knees or maybe not in some cases! Bob and Steve also took to the floor with their maltesers! Without going into too much detail, staff at the Carters Rest would be finding the sweets for days after we had gone! Let’s hope they didn’t recycle them for their puddings the following week!
The entertainment then took on a different slant with solo stints by both our Choir Master Marion and also Maria. Maria had us in stiches with a story about putting out a burning candle – simple really, or maybe not as proved to be the case! Marion then sang us a song which proved most entertaining.
Sadly the evening came to an end all too soon and we went off on our weary way home. What a super night was had by all; delicious food, great company and free entertainment with chocolates thrown in too – who could ask for more!
Tension at Ancrum
We were invited to take part in the Easter Service at Ancrum Church on the 14th April.Come early, so we can get set out and have a quick practice was the request. We arrived there early, as requested, and all met down at the front of the church. All the chairs were all nicely placed in rows. There was seating for the masses. I just loved the ministers’ optimism.
We all took our places on the stage, for a quick practice, and looked at towards the congregation – 4 people. There were more people in the choir than that in the congregation. The big question is ‘Will there be more of the choir than in the congregation. 15mins to go and the door opened two more people arrived wow. The door opened again and four people came in this time. Has it peaked. No wait, the door opened and six people came in followed another four. This was getting exciting. Should be opening a book and taking bets. OOOPs better not, we are in a church. As the clock ticked down to ‘kick off’ sorry, the start of the service, we had amazingly reached a grand total of 42 people.
The service started with couple of hymns, then it was our turn. A quick intro on the piano then we were off. What’s happened to the piano accompaniment? Oh dear, we are on our own. Help!!!! Phew, that wasn’t so bad.
Emma had volunteered to give a reading? I think she was feeling a bit pressure, thinking about how she was going to get to the pulpit without tripping. When the time came, guess what, she made the entrance she didn’t want. Yes, she tripped on the steps up to the pulpit.
For our last hymn, there seemed to be a bit confusion what verses were being sung. Everyone, the choir and congregation were totally confused and when the minister joined in a strong voice singing the verse we had previously sung, we were totally confused. Certainly, a talking point at the end of the service.
At the end of the service, elderflower juice and shortbread was served the ladies of Ancrum Church. Very welcome.
The Owls Concert.
The Oxnam area was staggered to hear that the OWLS had once again managed to secure the services of the renowned Oxnam Valley Voices for their 2017 charity evening. How had they succeeded where other great venues like La Scala and Carnegie Hall had failed? It’s a case of who you know rather than what you know I believe. The clamour for Oxnam’s premier choir seems to continue unabated, which may have something to do with the dearth of entertainment in the area, or is it just the unassailable talent of the members? Could the choir rise to the challenge of an evening of show tunes? Only months and months of endless rehearsals would show whether they could and retain the will to live.
A programme was devised and tunes abandoned where they did not provide enough challenge. Only the best would do for these vocal goliaths. Led by Grupen Fuhrer Dodd ,who thankfully kept forgetting her whip or the mental scars of rehearsals would have been matched by physical ones!
The absence of Dame Fiona Te Kanewa, sidelined through illness, and Tony Pavarotti through his focus on devotional warbling, was ably covered by the sterling efforts of Sharne Callas , Emma Bartolli, Steve Bocelli and Colin Domingo. Fitting in rehearsals and the performance round their other international singing commitments was nothing short of miraculous. Leading up to the night a last minute rehearsal that was the singing equivalent of a multiple vehicle pile up gave everyone the reassurance that OVV were ready to give another memorable performance.
On the night the OWLS were concerned at the levels of ticket presales and we were wondering if we would outnumber the audience. Then, like a human tsunami, they came flooding through the doors. Extra seats were put out, the choirs seating was taken over and we were facing a packed house. Clearly our reputation and that of our international soloists had spread and people couldn’t stay away. It wasn’t harmed by the fact that Tuesday night is particularly bad for the TV.
Opening with The Rhythm of Life to the accompaniment of many of the audience’s pacemakers we gamely tried to keep up with Martin’s ivory tinkling and Marion’s gesticulations. One down and an infinite number to go, the choir got into it’s stride. Thankfully Ann’s instructions to the tunes allowed ample time for people to find the right music. It also meant that for many they actually understood for the first time what they had been singing for the last half lifetime. West Side Story tunes were rattled through with a New York flourish though the mental picture of Natalie Wood during the rending of “I Feel Pretty”, could only be retained by keeping ones eyes firmly closed.
Colin Domingo then stood up and gave a movingly lyrical rendition of “Bring him home”. The audience, clearly moved, were not shy in showing their appreciation. I did see a couple of the older members of the audience asking their companions who he wanted brought home, but that didn’t seem to detract from their enjoyment of an excellent performance.
The “West End Showstoppers” did not do what the title implied so the OVV gamely carried on to “All I ask of you” to finish the first set.
After a much needed break, during which the audience heard what a magnificent cause they were supporting, the choir broke in to “Memory” from Cats. A bit modern for some of the audience, but they seemed to cope, helped by the fact that Marion had vetoed Gordon’s offer to do some beat boxing through this. Another time perhaps Gordon?
Then to break it up Roger Betjeman went off to have a lie down and put on a nightie with a cat on it for his recitation of TS Eliot’s “Gus – The Theatre Cat”. Despite it being as highbrow as a bald mans forehead the audience seemed to take it in. At least those that didn’t understand what it was about enjoyed the lyric quality of Roger’s performance.
It was then on to a medley of tunes from the Julie Andrews songbook with the background story ably expanded on by Ann’s introductions. Now the audience were all on familiar ground. Nodding away thankfully, rather than nodding off the audience were really getting into it. The choir responded in kind, building them up so that they were suitably primed for Sharne’s “Summertime”. “Wonderful”, “Move to tears” and “eh” were just a few of the appreciative remarks amongst the audience following this excellent solo.
A quick run through “You’ll never walk alone” left tears in the eyes of some, hopefully because they were moved, and then we were on to another poem. Another one by TS Eliot, this time the one about the Scottish cat with caries read by Morag. People obviously wondered where this cat was and why he wasn’t at the dentist, but non-the-less seemed to be glad of the break from relentless singing.
Suitably refreshed the choir was on the homeward stretch with tunes from “My Fair Lady”. Egged on by the audience and driven by the excellent accompaniment from Martin and musical direction of Marion they reached previously untouched heights. Rapturous applause followed. Especial appreciation was voiced for the efforts by all the soloists, both musical and verse, and not least for Martin’s piano and Marion’s arm waving which had helped the choir achieve a performance that the audience said was the best yet! No accounting for taste, eh?
Oxnam Valley Voices have had a busy few months. Christmas is always a busy time when carols and Christmas songs are sung in different venues. There were two visits to Teviot Smokery, singing around the tree in Jedburgh when the Christmas lights were switched on, singing at the RNLI concert in Kelso, all of which seem to be becoming regular dates, and a Christmas concert in Oxnam Kirk.
On Good Friday we sang in Ancrum Church, on 3rd May sang for the OWLs then on 11th June we embarked on a road trip which took members to Bamburgh where we sang at the wedding of Emily Martin and Matthew Debbage.
The choir continues to meet every Wednesday at 7pm in the village hall. In addition to singing, there is a chance to socialize and get to know people which is one of the aims of a community choir. There have been some social outings such as a visit to a fashion show and a ‘have a go’ session at curling. There are about 30 members now which is a good number, however, we are always on the lookout for male voices to help balance with sopranos and altos. Don’t be shy. If you enjoy singing just come along and give it a try. You will always be welcome…..and you will have fun.
Summer’s Evening of Music
Who would have thought that seven months on from October 2012, the Oxnam Valley Voices would have rocked Oxnam Kirk on Friday 10th May with our concert – ‘A Summer’s Evening of Music’. Perhaps such a title was a tad optimistic, but never-the-less, we managed to brighten a relatively ‘dour’ day!
The concerts programme incorporated a variety of songs, including a medley from the musical ‘My Fair Lady’, a selection of Andrew Lloyd Webber pieces, unaccompanied singing of ‘Laudate Dominum’ from the Taize Song collection, ‘You’re Just in Love’ by Irving Berlin as well as a few traditional and more modern pieces.
As Musical Director and local musician, I sang two solos ‘Words of Praise’ and ‘Count your Blessings’, and to finish the evening, the audience were treated to a rather short ending of ‘Kyrie’ by William Byrd from his ‘Mass for Three Voices’, before bursting into ‘Thank you for the Music’ by ‘ABBA’. We were lucky enough to have the expertise of Molly Pringle, a well-known musician and teacher within Kelso and the Scottish Borders as our accompanist.
The choir would like to thank all who attended the concert. We raised a grand sum of £540.55 from the generous donations and raffle tickets sold before the concert, which will be used for choir funds.
Seasons of Love
Friday 22 November
This was a most successful & enjoyable evening in the church. The choir sang a great selection of songs to an audience of 120 and raised about £600 which will be shared between Children in Need and the crisis in the Philipines . The soloists were Jamie MacKenzie, who was also the conductor & choir leader, Fiona Ralston & Ann Redpath. Alison Fraser accompanied the choir.
In the interval, we had a short pantomime from the Coldtream Community Theatre who did their own version of Cinderella.
We would like to thank all those who made it such a success and put in all the hard work rehearsing & learning such a variety of music.
If you have not been before, do give it a try – you will not be disappointed. You do not have to belong to the library to come in. You will be assured of a warm welcome, and as much coffee/tea and cake as you like all for £2.
It’s nearly four years now since the OWLs came together and the group continues to thrive with around 35 members at present. OWLs meet on the first Tuesday of each month between March and December at 7.30pm in Oxnam Village Hall to listen to an interesting speaker for about an hour before tucking in to copious amounts of tea, coffee and home-baking! (OK, so we really only go for the goodies!)
The group’s emphasis is on enjoyment, getting together in a very relaxed atmosphere to hear enthralling stories such as Vicky Jack’s account of climbing Everest and Kathleen Macfarlane’s exploits aboard the Tall Ships. Sometimes our speakers cover more serious subjects such as midwifery in Africa and CT Scanning (absolutely fascinating by the way), but all are certainly worth a listen. Once a year, in May, the OWLs normal meeting is given over to a charity concert. This, like all other meetings, is open to all.
Profits from the group go directly to mainly Borders charities as we have minimal running costs. This year we have given over £1000 to various charities including the Lavender Touch, Midwives in Zambia and BAAGS (Borders Aspergers & Autism Group Support).
Members pay £10 per year plus £3 per meeting and visitors pay just £4 each time they come. Although we are called Oxnam Water Ladies, we often have husbands, partners and friends coming along as well. All are welcome at OWLs. If you are interested in coming, just turn up or call Elspeth Currie on 01835 869924 or Anne Davies on 01835 864122.