City of London Festival 2001

The sun shone and the swing swung at Guildhall Yard on Friday 6 July

A pleasant surprise was in store on Friday lunchtime for those who found the time to attend one of the many events being promoted as part of the City of London Festival. The programme billed it as Dancing in the Streets with The Jiving Lindyhoppers - but didn't mention that they would be dancing to top swing orchestra James Langton and His Solid Senders!

On a day that saw Tiger Tim Henman rained off court at Wimbledon and the Edgbaston cricket Test curtailed due to poor light, the sun beat down relentlessly in the Guildhall Yard off Gresham Street in EC2. Despite the lack of promotion - certainly in the swing dance community - over a hundred people turned up by accident or design to enjoy some Summer swing in the City.

The JLH give it some skip up on stage

James and Louise say Watch The Birdie

At one o'clock, the historic stone courtyard jumped into life, with The Solid Senders running through a set of favourites, including some live accompaniment for The Jiving Lindyhoppers. The JLH had the first team out, with Warren Heyes, Russell Sargent and Justin Saunders being partnered by Carolene Hinds, Theresa Jackson and Geetha Joseph

Warren acted as MC for the troupe, and organised the inevitable lesson for the keen and the mystified. Only a few could be coaxed out of the shadows to join in, but were rewarded with  one-on-one instruction.

The orchestra was also at full strength, with saxophonist Colin Skinner and trumpeter Enrico Tomasso really earning their corn in the sweltering heat. It was as stifling as The 100 Club, but did disprove the theory that swing musicians are vampires, only being seen during the hours of darkness.  They romped through Stompin' At The Savoy and added the dulcet tones of Louise Cookman for Watch The Birdie and Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea

The only other swing event in the Festival was called Swingtime (!), on Independence Day, again with the JLH, but the music came from The Herb Miller Orchestra. Oh yes, the ticket price was 95. So these two events (a similar afternoon was arranged for the previous Friday) were a real bonus. So well done to the organisers - but next time, let us know in advance!

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