Our first gig for 2017 was at the Kiama Jazz Festival. On a lovely & sunny March afternoon we made the most of a less than ideal location on the main strip to battle with nearby amplified guitars and drums but we held our own! We set up outside an old church and sang a set of 10 songs including Richard's 'go for it' version of Never Let Go My Hand. The following day we performed 9 songs at the ecumenical Kiama Jazz Festival Gospel Concert at Ss Peter & Paul's Catholic Church. We stuck to those songs we know and love the best such as Storm is Passing Over, Precious Lord and People Get Ready. The 400 or so audience members got into the spirit and brought out the best in us. We also sold over 20 of our Milk & Honey CDs, donating $5 from each sale to Médecins Sans Frontières, who were the concert's chosen beneficiaries.
Our 25th June Winter Soulstice was held at St Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Rose Bay. Proceeds from the concert went to Orange Sky Laundry who are the world’s first free mobile laundry service for people experiencing homelessness. With an aim to improve hygiene standards and restore dignity to people doing it tough.
In August, the Honeybees, together with Unaccompanied Baggage, performed at the Willoughby Uniting Church for Acappella Northside 2017. This year, Acappella Northside was raising money for two causes. The first, Narrandera Uniting Church, is a church in a small rural community that can't often afford a full-time minister. To assist, three Sydney congregations (Crows Nest, Hornsby and Willoughby Uniting Churches), contribute to the cost of having a minister of Narrandera Uniting Church. The other charity is the Asylum Seekers Centre, Newtown who provide practical and personal support for people seeking asylum living in the community. The Honeybees performed some of the favourites such as Didn't It Rain, I am Ready, Let the Fire Burn and Oh Happy Day. In addition to these, Torie debuted as a soloist, and beautifully performed Joyful Joyful to rousing applause.
We held our Gospel Groove Workshop in late November, once again at The Wayside Chapel Hall. It's always a great event where participents learn about the history of gospel music and its linkages with the slave trade. The 20 or so participants also got to learn some songs and this year they were Let's Go, This Little Light of Mine, Thank You Lord & Shine on me. A number of the 'Gospel Groovers' joined us on stage a few weeks later at the Summer Concert to perform these pieces.
Gospel Groove Graduates - 2017!
December saw another very well attended Summer Concert at Sydney Boys High School. The cabaret style evenings saw The Bees revisit some old songs and also perform a few new numbers. The repertoire included 'oldies' such as Didn't It Rain, How I Got Over, People Get Ready & Love & Joy, augmenetd by new numbers such as At a Time Like This & Joyful Joyful. With the death of Leonard Cohen in late 2016, we chose to add Hallelujah to our repertoire and this was the hit of the evening. We raised over $5,000 for our chosen charity Twenty10 - a group that provides a broad range of specialised services for young people 12-25 including housing, mental health, counselling and social support. It really is a great cause doing wonderful work, especially after the turmoil of the postal plebiscite a few months earlier.
Our final event of the year was a City of Sydney Christmas singing event in Martin Place. We sang four sets of 5-7 songs as people were heading home or doing their Christmas shopping. Most people stopped and enjoyed a full set which was great to see. Many phones were recording and we could see people really getting into the Christmas spirit.