Chorus master : Mike Canning

As every one knows 2020 and 2021 have been difficult years! Unsurprisingly CODS were faced with the same challenges as all performance groups. Our hearts have gone out to all the professionals involved in the performance and entertainments industries. What a time they have had!

Amateur groups have also missed what they do best. That is performing and entertaining! They have also missed the camaraderie and friendship of the group members. Working together on productions produces strong friendships. One of the effect of the COVID times has been to create uncertainties. This has affected audience confidence and indeed members confidence, with some significant tensions.

Bringing any production to a performance level has required all the usual amount of rehearsals and sheer hard work. And in addition, hours and hours of extra planning, extra measures and alternative ways of getting things done. It has been a difficult time and it has left its scars!

With our Musical being moved to August, our September Evenings became November Evenings and then December Christmas Concerts! 

Remarkably while starting on the Musical for 2022, the Society decided that we would put together two Christmas Concerts and invite Members, other halves, and CODS Friends to join us for these evenings. Not only that, the concerts were free! So as a thank you to everyone who has supported us in the past and though these strange times, the invites went out, together with a whole list of COVID precautions! Will there ever come a time again when people can just turn up without a care???

BUT it was time for a little fun! Christmas jumpers, preferably as tasteless as possible. Strange headgear such as Santa hats, antlers and lots of tinsel were the order of the day.

And our members and supporters don’t need much encouragement to get in the mood!

As well as the music we thought there’s nothing like a good quiz to keep everyone busy, and to demonstrate their wide general knowledge, or in some cases (including yours truly) complete lack of it! 

We are fortunate in the Society to have an ace question master. The one and only Alan B. 

Not only does he ask all the questions, he knows all the answers!

What was CODS first production?

Who was the fifth Beatle?

What’s the capital of Outer Mongolia.

What is the currency in Trinidad? 

There is no end to the range of knowledge required! And amazingly people seem to know most of the answers! Magic! 

THANK YOU :   There are two people we should thank by name as well as the many others who put time in on these evenings. 

Firstly our Chorus master, Mike Canning.  Over about 15 months he has taken us from Zoom to Rehearsal Room and ensured the evenings have been ready for our audiences. With all the changes that have been necessary this has been fairly long road. Well done Mike. 

Secondly, and almost unseen, we should thank our Secretary Yvonne for the amount of contacting and chasing up  she has done to ensure our audiences were aware of the safety requirements, and the need to wear something warm ….. as we would be having a good few windows open to ensure adequate ventilation. 

Many thanks to them both. 

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Of course no Christmas ‘FUN’ Concert would be complete without a Pantomime! Some years ago CODS had a tradition that during our Christmas party the committee performed a Panto, for the amusement of the guests. 

Well the tradition is alive and well! We have no idea how long the committee spent on their rehearsals in some secret corner. We can only wonder at how many hours went into committing their scripts to memory. 

Then of course there was all the time spent on costumes, intricate lighting, sound and special effects!

All this to produce and unforgettable version of Cinderella. The audience sat spellbound, joining in with all the required responses. Oh yes he did! Oh no he didn’t! Oh yes she is! Oh no she isn’t! You know the the kind of thing!

All one can say following this momentous production is when will the nominations and awards arrive!

Well done committee … we did enjoy your efforts!


Given all the various circumstances, our  rehearsal time for the music, which began on Zoom last year, was a little limited. Our programme included a taster for the postponed ‘Best of British’ Concerts, which will now be in September 2022.

For the second half, after the conclusion of the evening quiz, there was a mixture of Christmas music for the choir, and some carols for audience participation. 

It was so nice to all be able to get together and enjoy choral singing. This is one of the special features of CODS. Many of our performers are in the shows, pantos and plays, but a few members just want to sing along, and choral offers the opportunity to do this. It is a really enjoyable part of our annual programme, usually covering the summer months, with a really good performance opportunity as an end product, namely the September Evenings. With chorus, soloists, a great band, a bar and a meal, these sell our each year well before the due dates. 

They are a big part of the CODS calendar.


For these Christmas Concerts our backing group consisted of just one member! But what a player!

We are indebted to our very talented pianist and accompanist Allan. 

It really is a case of “you hum it, and he will play it!” Allan is always there for us. Whether he is accompanying a solo, duet or the chorus, his contribution is so important to the success of or concerts and shows. 

As one can see from the photo a little light refreshment helps, and then he can play whatever is required …. and all the notes are in the right order!

Thanks Allan for all your efforts. We really do appreciate what you bring to our Society. 


One of the audience members on both nights of our concerts had been a member of CODS way back in the 60’s. In fact she had been the leading lady in the very first CODS production. Then as Brenda Hall, she was Josephine in the production of HMS Pinafore. 

As a soprano, Brenda particularly enjoyed meeting her modern day contemporaries, as shown in this photo, and also meeting some Members and Friends who appeared with her back in those early CODS days. 

HMS Pinafore took place at the then Shelly School, from 24th to the 27th March 1965 with a cast of over 40. 

A sound recording of this show was made, and remarkably our guest, Brenda had a copy. Not only that she had the copy converted to a digital file. This can now be heard on our CODS FIRST PRODUCTION PAGE by clicking the button below.