The women who love their music
Acouple of years ago it was suggested to me that I should use my musical knowledge to give people some memories of days gone by.
First of all I went to the WI head office in All Saints Green, Norwich, to ask for advice. The team there thought that the idea of bringing back some memories using old music was great. The first talk on my repertoire was ‘The Unheard Motown’. I was on pretty safe ground with this. The talk features 10 songs that are possibly Motown’s finest, followed by 10 that I thought Motown should have released or tracks it did release but just didn’t promote very well.
It was strange really, the first time I did the talk I didn’t feel the nerves I was expecting, perhaps due to many years of DJing and to Dr Vinyl on BBC Radio Norfolk.
What did help was the fact that some of the women were up and dancing by the time I got to play the second track. One said at the end of the talk that my passion for the subject had come across. That was good enough for me.
Taking it a step further I thought the music of the 1960s and ‘70s should not be forgotten. So I researched what topped the charts every week from both decades, and turned each year into a talk.
Or, I can even turn it into the best sellers of each decade. Each talk contains plenty of music, and with me doing my best Magnus Magnusson impression, odd questions are fired at the audience, asking who some artists are and what the titles are. I also actively encourage people to sing along or get up and dance!
Last year Wymondham WI celebrated its 50th anniversary and decided it would like a night of music from 1966. The evening was brilliant, very well received, and this year it has taken it a step further. It decided it would like to have its own ‘Evening with the Stars’.
So it has asked all the members for suggestions of their favourite songs, and has ended up with a list of some 60! Luckily one of their members, a huge Elvis fan, has a property in a quiet location where I can set up my whole disco in her garden, and play the chosen tracks.
The whole idea is brilliant in my eyes. So, what have they chosen? Everything from ‘One Enchanted Evening’ to ‘The Tide Is High’ by Blondie.
The range is huge, going back to the 1950s, we have music from Bill Haley, Johnnie Ray and Nat King Cole. Moving into the ‘60s there are songs from The Beatles, The Kinks and The Troggs. And, later still we have music from Abba, Queen and Neil Diamond.
I have to take my hat off to the members of Wymondham WI for coming up with this idea; it could be a good template for others to follow.
Blondie, one of the favourites of Wymondham’s WI members.
Steve Burns, aka Dr Vinyl, loves using his musical expertise to stir memories in his audience. Here he pays a special tribute to the members of the WI.