Pensioner's Christmas Party
At Theale Green, the Pensioner’s Party at Christmas has become something of a tradition – a great chance for the school to do something special for the community – after all, we are Theale Green Community School!
The Pensioner’s Party is run by the Sixth Form, with some interference by the teachers. It’s also an opportunity for young people to meet and chat to the pensioners, something that is very important in breaking down the “barriers of misunderstanding that can arise between the generations.” And of course it’s also a brilliant excuse for a good knees-up!
Our guests began arriving at about one o’clock, to be greeted by groups of Sixth Formers waiting at the front of school to meet and escort them into the hall to find a seat.
It was a bit of a squeeze, but once everyone was settled the party kicked off with a few games of Bingo, expertly called by Ben and Emma, which seemed to go down well and get everyone in the mood for a party.
A quick set change later, and the Cabaret was ready to begin. As usual, it was mostly made up of acts from the Sixth Form, with a few of the younger years who were prepared to ‘sacrifice’ their lessons to perform!
We kicked off with a performance from the Gospel Choir, who sang ‘Say a Little Prayer’, and added their own unique spin to ‘Away in a Manger’, before handing over to the Samba Band, with ‘Christmas Samba’.
The AS Dance group were next on the bill, with a little ‘help’ in the form of some special guests; Simon the Fairy and Nik the Elf, who spent most of the performance charging around the stage, as everyone else danced to ‘Merry Christmas’ by Slade.
After a few technical hitches, and an impromptu solo performance of ‘Jingle Bells’ from Paul on guitar, the Year 12 Ensemble performed a dazzling rendition of ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’. Not to be outdone, the Year 13 Ensemble had two pieces lined up; ‘Blue Samba’ and ‘Mandela’, described by Mr. Sizer as “South African with a Berkshire twang”, with an impressive guitar solo by Dan Hodgeson, as well as very polished performances from the rest of the group.
For the next act we were warned to “keep an open mind”, advice that was soon to be understood when George Mason danced onto the stage as the angel ‘Gay-briel’, wearing a tutu and tights! Despite the restrictive appearance of his tights, George managed to pull of a pretty impressive dance routine, reminiscent of John Travolta, involving a cartwheel (of sorts), before ending with some snazzy Jazz Hands. The Wise ‘Men’ were drunkards (of course, not an experience of which Year 12 have any knowledge), and Herod looked acutely feminine, while the “sheep” amazed us all with its grasp of foreign language. Certainly a new approach to the nativity from the Year 12’s, but the guests seemed to enjoy it, and in a strange way the message of Christmas still managed to shine through.
After these lighter moments, Amy and Holly gave a spine-tingling performance of ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’, which following my ‘in-depth survey’ of the audience, I concluded was the highlight of the afternoon for many people.
The Cabaret ended with a group performance of this year’s Christmas Number 1, ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’, with Rachel braving the famed Bono line, and Meghan filling in for Dizzee Rascal. In answer to their question, I think by the end we were all well aware of the Christmas spirit, and thanks to the Year 12 drama group, a little clearer on the meaning behind it too!
After a quick snack (courtesy of Mrs Whitbread and her catering team) and a few more rounds of bingo, Mr Hull was ready to lead his legendry sing-along Christmas carol session which I think everyone enjoyed! As well as the traditional carols- ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’, ‘Whilst Shepherds Watched’, ‘Away in a Manger’ and ‘Hark the herald Angel Sing’, we had a bit of singing competition to ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’. Mr Sizer was particularly keen for his side of the room to win…perhaps he was spurred on by Mr Hull insulting Man. United! ‘Calypso Carol’ went down well, especially due to Mr Hull’s very entertaining singing, and everyone enjoyed swaying to ‘White Christmas’.
The carols ended with ‘The 12 days of Christmas’, which wouldn’t have been complete without George, Katy, Meghan, Chris, Sarah-Jane and Maria dancing on the stage – a perfect end to what was probably our busiest party to date.
Everyone had a great time at the party, and the pensioners left smiling and thanking everyone – proof that it was a brilliant way for us to finish the term. To end, I hope everyone had a great holiday and didn’t spend too much time revising for the January exams. It’s great to be able to welcome local pensioners into school and we hope that you all enjoyed the party as much as we did; it finally began to feel like Christmas was truly on the way! Roll on Christmas 2005!
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Written by Jo Edwards, additional content by Jade Hanley. Photographs by Jade Hanley and David Kirkhope. Videos by Jade Hanley and David Kirkhope, edited by Jade Hanley.