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Constructive suggestions for concerts are always welcome so when the most famous whisperer of them all, Dr. Doolittle, suggested Animalia as a theme we were thrilled to co-opt him as advisor. And even better…he brought his animal family along to help.

Swans don’t figure in his menagerie, but Dab Dab the duck showed Steve Packer how to play [The Swan] gracefully while concealing the thrashing of lower limbs beneath the surface, while Polynesia the parrot advised Julie Dorey that her singing brown bird [Brown Bird Singing] was undoubtedly a Brown Owl with accompanying troupe of twittering Brownies. The suggestion that Steve might wear a pink tutu and play standing on pointes, occasionally being thrown into the air, had been rejected in rehearsal as we couldn’t find anyone to catch him as he floated down to earth – and in any case this was The Carnival of the Animals, not Swan Lake.

What better model for a feline duet than a Pushmipullyu – Wayne Jackson pushing and Adam Little pulling just as forcefully [Duet for Two Cats]. Dr Doolittle declared it a draw.

T.S. Eliot (and Andrew Lloyd Weber) featured with his Practical Cats. “Come on, you lazy lot. Help me with the gardening”. No luck. One of them wanted to watch the trains puffing past and the other just sat dreaming, while Mr Jellicle was on night shift, so the gardening project failed, and Mr. Eliot ended up with a “Waste Land”. [Jellicle Ball, Memory, Skimbleshanks]

We were going to offer Ratatouille (Jamie Oliver’s recipe of course) for interval refreshments, but one needs to be very careful in choice of words nowadays, as Roald Dahl fans will be aware. Rat? No chance. Offer them animal biscuits instead.

Unfortunately, the RSPCA had to be called at one point. How would you react if you were a tiger [Eye of the Tiger], and someone poked you in the eye? The sad tale of Albert and the Lion should leave us in no doubt and our sympathies would be totally on the side of the tiger. The inspectors were also concerned about the exploitation of circus animals. Elephants (aka the tuba section [The Elephant]) cruelly compelled to dress up and prance around in what might charitably be called a waltz. Dangerous reptiles slithering between the legs of our faithful audience. Will they ever return? The audience that is, not these repulsive creatures. We hope so. Our next concert, Classical, promises more wholesome family entertainment.

Thanks to our helpers Hugh Ballantine and Stephen Miller on trombone and Paul Murray on soprano cornet. A warm welcome to new members Al Kidney (cornet) and Hilary Sweeney (trombone). And, as usual, a big thank you to Rosanna and Kaylene for organising afternoon tea, to Mark our raffle ticket seller-in-chief, and to Viv – compere extraordinaire!