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Witty Words and Wonderful Music Warm the Crowd at St Mary’s Totnes


St Mary’s Church was alive just before Christmas with the sounds of wonderful music, witty poetry and a crowd of about 80 people, many of whom ended up dancing in the aisles.

It was a “Christmas in the Air” evening and the line-up of entertainers provided a fascinating look at just some of the creative forces that are present in the greater Totnes area.


First up was a quartet called “Boulevard Combo”, a tight little group that displayed a mastery of music ranging from Django Rheinhardt to Klezmer to American classics such as Honeysuckle Rose and Autumn Leaves. Their music engaged with the audience and put everyone in a good frame for what was to come.


And what was to come was Matt Harvey, the poet who has both a local and national following and for good reason. His ability to shoe horn witty rhymes with topical issues proved a great way to spend a cold Winter evening. We were entertained with musings on the characteristics of a baby, the special place whales occupy in the environment and the use of poetry to attract new entrants to the sperm bank donor community. Matt was hitting all the spots with the audience and they returned their affection most nobly.


Rounding out the evening in a most appropriate manner was Jazzient, a popular local duo made up of Bev Knowlden on saxophone and Peter Shearn on guitar. They had actually made a background appearance providing some atmospheric music in support of Matt Harvey.


When it came to take centre stage themselves they made full use of it. Embracing a genre, I would call “new age retro” they played some stunningly beautiful music that was both melodic and quite rhythmic. On a chilly night two weeks before Christmas they had the crowd up and dancing.


The event was organised by the Totnes Heritage Trust.

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