Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

Anybody played for them in recent years ?
Comments, advice, suggested venues, all information gratefully received.
Looking to do a little good instead of just vegetating and growing fat…..

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

I love playing at Christmas time. We mix carols in with our normal repetoire, and have a lot of fun with it. Even throw in Christmas in Killarney, which at least here in the USA, always brings a smile to the older folks. The carols lend themselves to a more arranged approach. Unfortunately, we have never been able to get more than a few bookings to play. A craft fair here and there is about it.
As the day approaches, we even work a few Christmas tunes into the sessions.

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

I think this is what Pete is referring to, ie volunteering to help out a bit for homeless people: http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/christmas.html
Let us know if you come up with anything Pete. I think the Gillards are active in this.

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

I have to admit, I avoid ‘at Christmas’ organizations like the plague.

Many years ago when I lived in Bristol I used to volunteer with a trust that ran a homeless shelter. For 364 days a year we struggled to provide for the homeless with a constant lack of funds and volunteers. Then, at Christmas, an ‘at Christmas’ charity would take over for the day, with an army of middle class do-gooders and more money than they could shake a stick at. On boxing day they all vanished back into the wood work and we were left to continue the struggle. The whole operation seemed to be geared to the egos of the volunteers rather than the people they were helping. My advice would be: if you want to do some good, look for a charity that works all year round.

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

Oh, didn’t recognize that phrase as the name of an organization. We have done some playing for soup kitchens in the past, always a rewarding experience—never done it just at Christmastime, though.

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

"I think the Gillards are active in this."
John Gillard https://thesession.org/members/22920

I did it with them a few years ago. It was good fun. We did a tour of various shelters, which involved a bit of travelling (from the main shelter in the Millennium Dome to a number of smaller shelters around the City and the East End). Each had its own character, but we had an appreciative audience in every one of them.

I’m in London from 23rd Dec - 2nd Jan this/next year, so I might be up for it as well. Could you keep me in the loop please too, Pete?

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

I’m don’t know anything about the organization, but I do know that the homeless always appreciate a few tunes.

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

No prob Al, easy mistake to make. Skreech, on reading your story I can see how you may feel somewhat jaundiced about middle class do-gooders. But is it possible one or two might have continued to help out after the festive season had passed? Also isn’t "something" better than nothing? Just curious.

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

It used to be said that "Crisis at Christmas" had more volunteers than beneficiaries….
Might be myth.

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

KML, Yes, it is certainly true that one or two volunteers might go on to better things (that is how I started myself) My beef is with the organisations themselves, whose main aim seems to be to help people feel they have done something charitable, rather than to solve a real problem.

There was one year that the ‘at Christmas’ lot (it wasn’t Crisis at Christmas BTW) turned up with a local TV crew to show the world how kind-hearted they were. That year their organization received more in donations than our annual budget. But because their registered charitable aims were only to provide relief at Christmas, the money couldn’t be handed over to the hostel, or used at other times. Their organization was accruing a massive amount of money that they couldn’t get rid of, whilst we were begging local traders for out of date stock to feed the residents.

As to something being better than nothing, I don’t think that is the real question. What you should be asking is "How can I do the greatest good with my ‘something’?" And for me, the answer to that is to give it to Shelter, Centre Point, or one of the many smaller organisations that care for the homeless all year round. If someone is starving, is it better to take them to the Ritz for one slap up meal, or spend the same money giving them a simple square meal every day?

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

OK, gotcha skreech. Still, I wouldn’t mind joining in with Pete the pirate and the creadur playing a few tunes if it happens.

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

I limit my "Christmas music for the less fortunate" gigs because the less fortunate are already overwhelmed with well-meaning choirs, pianists and warbling children at Christmas tide. The less fortunate get my music at other times of the year instead. When I perform Christmas music *on behalf of* the less fortunate, at fund raisers and benefit concerts, I like to include The Ditchling Carol, which celebrates food, gifts, warmth and family, then switches to a minor key for the chorus;

And all remember, gentles gay:
For you who bask in fortune’s ray
The year is all a holiday.
The poor have only Christmas.

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

Yeah, playing music is a bit different. That could be a good thing to do if it is a case of playing for the recipients rather than fund raising for the charity.

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

I’m waiting to hear back at the minute. I’ll keep anyone interested in the loop.
Did hear one story of the team of volunteers who used to be working continuously, chipping off the socks before the chiropodists got to work…..
Seems to me that anything one can do is better than naught. After that, the graduations are less important.
We’ll be carol-singing as well before Christmas, catching the shoppers as they come out of Sainsburys…….it’s a guilt trip, but it works.

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

Dick, that is incredible. I am just awestruck at the gift those volunteers give. Donating money, food, entertainment — that’s easy. Performing this most unlovable task — even thinking to do it in the first place — it’s just pure love.

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

Tracie, wow - I didn’t know about the Ditchling Carol. Makes me think about the people I play / help with the choir for around Christmas: what else would they appreciate, and when? And yes - working on people’s feet is important too. I admire people for doing things that are that selfless and (probably) unpleasant.

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

I don’t actually see the contradiction between being a "middle class do-gooder" at Christmas and giving time and money to the same and/or other causes the rest of the year.

Crisis operates all year round, but there’s no doubt Crisis At Christmas is its most well-publicised operation.

I’ve played a couple of times at the Crisis shelters, though my health is now too poor for it to be a good idea. But my sisters have been volunteers at Christmas for a long time, working seven 12-hour shifts over the holidays, coming back pretty exhausted each day, and doing some of the "grotty jobs" people have mentioned. This year they’re taking their first Christmas off from do-gooding since the 90s.

So Merry Christmas one and all (except perhaps TomB-R), help anyone any way you can, and don’t begrudge the efforts of others…

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

Mark et al: I first heard it from the Watersons. Here’s a Youtube video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0YE1Zr5rww


The words and ABC for the version I use is on mudcat.org (and below), and running it though the Tune-o-Tron at concertina.net works. (I just checked.) I sing it down an octave from this, and I imagine most people do too.

X:1
T:Ditchling Carol
C:Music by Peter Parsons (d:1901)
C:Words by William R Spencer (1769-1834)
M:4/4
L:1/8
W:
W:
W:Be merry all, be merry all
W:With holly deck the festive hall
W:Prepare the song, the feast, the hall
W:To welcome merry Christmas
W:
W:Chorus
W:And all remember gentles gay
W:For you who bask in fortune’s ray
W:The year is all a holiday
W:The poor have only Christmas
W:
W:You who in velvet mantle go
W:Defy December tempest’s roar
W:Oh! spare one garment from your store
W:To clothe the poor at Christmas
W:
W:You who the costly banquet deal
W:To friends who never famine feel
W:Oh, spare one morsel from your meal
W:To feed the poor at Christmas
W:
W:With blazing logs of fuel the while
W:Your homes are within summer’s smile
W:Oh, spare one log from off your pile
W:To warm the poor at Christmas
W:
W:So shall each note of mirth appear
W:More sweet to Heaven than praise or prayer
W:And angels in their carols there
W:Shall bless the poor at Christmas
K:D
"A"A2|"D"d2d2d2A2|"F#m"f2e2"D"f2d2|"D"d2d2d2d2|"A"c2d2e3A|
w:Be me-rry all, be me-rry all With ho-lly deck the fest-ive hall, Pre\-
"D"A2d2d2d2|"D"d2e2f2d2|"Em"e2e2"A"c2c2|"D"d3d3"Chorus"Ad|
w:\-pare the song, the feast, the hall To wel-come me-rry Christ-mas And_
"D"d2d2d2c2|"Bm"B2A2B2B2|"Bm"B2B2"A"A2B2|"A"c2e2c3B|
w:all re-mem-ber gen-tles gay For you who bask in for-tune’s ray The
"Bm"B2A2B2c2|"D"d2f2f2d2|"D"d2d2"A"e2c2|"Bm"B3B3|]
w: year is all a hol-i-day The poor have on-ly Christ-mas

Re: Crisis at Christmas; music for the people

Finally got through to the HQ; apparently they’ve had a great response to their general call for entertainment, and they’re full. So; congrats to all those who have already volunteered, and thanks to all those who offered.