ArtBeat 2014 – Day 5

What a full and varied programme!

Starting with a lunchtime concert at Christchurch of beautiful music wonderfully played by Mariko Terashi (piano) and Polly Tuckett (mezzo soprano) accompanied by Richard Woodrow. For just under an hour an audience of 50 was enthralled, the musical experience enhanced by the excellent acoustics and lovely space. Long established residents and newcomers to the area all testified to the high quality of the performances.

Then across the road to the Chinese Community Church where the congregation had an open house to show local people something of their culture. Paper cutting, calligraphy, cooking (delicious Dim Sum, pork dumplings), and traditional music played outside on the forecourt to attract the passers-by including the children and parents returning from St John’s school in the afternoon.

It was hard to tear myself away but the tea dance at Stoneygate Baptist Church was a must. Over 30 attended, and it was a joy to see some of our more senior neighbours tripping the light fantastic. Waltzes, fox-trots, something a little Latin, a square dance or two and some jive. Strictly Come Dancing come to Clarendon Park. And the teas were sumptuous. And it was great to see Charlotte and Katie, two young women from Wigston, accompanying their grandmother who seemed to be really entering into the spirit of the occasion. More please!

Early evening under the tree in North Avenue could be heard the strains of Irish music – I counted at least five button accordions – from the Leicester Comhaltas Senior Musicians. This was played at a deliberately slower pace to that of professionals, but this seemed absolutely fitting for the warm evening end of the working day. Great to hear music in the street like this. Very mellow.

For the second successive evening, the upstairs bar at Babelas was packed, not this time for poetry but for a talk and film about the history and current flourishing of the Queens Road allotments. An erudite account of the development of that part of Clarendon Park in the 19th century was followed by a film showing local people improvising to collect water, fighting slugs and cultivating the most wonderful produce. But it’s not just about fruit, vegetables and flowers; it’s about community as allotmenteers showed themselves to be co-operative bunch, sharing not only what they grow and how they do it but an allotment barbecue generating a great sense of camaraderie.

Then over the road to Dos Hermanos for an Open Mic Gig led by local legend Kenny Wilson that got better and better as the evening went on. “Monday evening, Clarendon Park, you’ve got a fiesta going on here!” exclaimed Becky O’Hara one of the excellent local musicians who created a great night out. Thanks to all of them for a terrific show and for Dos Hermanos for making the space available. It proved to be an excellent venue with plenty of room for about 70-100 enthusiasts throughout the evening. Eventually it came to a close soon after 11pm. More of this please at Dos, which is well suited as a showcase for local musicians to show how good they are and entertain appreciative audiences.