Kasjog members took time out in February from Yeomen rehearsals to take part as extras in two performances at Woking’s New Victoria Theatre of Carmen and Tosca, staged by touring professional opera company, Ellen Kent.
Monks’ cassocks and nuns’ habits were the order of the day for Tosca, and the lads cut a dash in matadors’ outfits and the ladies sashayed in silky skirts as cigarette girls in Carmen.
Woking audiences attending performances of The Yeomen of the Guard, recently mounted at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre by Knaphill and St Johns Operatic Group have come up trumps in their support for Woking and Sam Beare Hospices.
Director, Val Hitchcock, dedicated the show to the memory of her daughter, Sally-Ann, an actress, teacher and choreographer. Val also wanted to show her appreciation of the wonderful care the Hospice had given to both Sally-Ann and Anne Niven, a member of Kasjog whose vitality as both actress and director envigorated the group for many years.
The Hospice’s new mascot, Hope, joined the cast on stage after the final performance, to encourage the audience to give generously – and indeed they did. The final total, after five performances, amounted to just over £1,400!
Kasjog’s first collaboration with The Egham Band, performing two concerts in Staines and Woking on 8 and 9 May under the title of Gilbert & Sullivan Goes Brass!, exceeded all expectations. Audiences at both venues (The Magna Carta Arts Centre and St Mary of Bethany Church) were treated to excerpts from some of the best-loved G & S operettas, including Pirates, HMS Pinafore, Ruddigore, Iolanthe, Yeomen of the Guard and Princess Ida. Highlights included the trio from Princess Ida (I am a Maiden) with Rob, James and Lloyd from Kasjog dressed in outfits that would put Grayson Perry to shame and the overture from Yeomen of the Guard which got the concert off to a rousing, full-bodied start. For Kasjog members used to the backing of a small orchestra, it was exciting to test their vocal abilities against a bigger musical sound. The band, in turn, enjoyed the challenge of accompanying the singers.