Friday, 2 March 2012

More on Sarasota's St. David's Day Banquet

What a pleasure to be at the Sarasota Welsh Society’s St. David’s Day banquet last evening.

We were at the Heritage Oaks Country Club in east Sarasota.  

The banqueting hall was decorated with Welsh themes, and our waitresses were in Welsh “National Costume”.

After the cocktail hour we had a bit of singing, including the Welsh National Anthem “Hen Wlad Fy Nhada’” (Land of my Fathers ) and “Ar Hy y Nos” (All thorough the night).

The Society’s lay Chaplain (Bob Griffiths – a member of my parish – St. Boniface, Siesta Key FL – led us in prayer.

Then we enjoyed a fabulous meal:

Leek and potato soup.
Green Salad.
Beef and chicken medallions with vegetables and “dauphinese potatoes”
With Vanilla Bean Creme Brule for dessert.

It was a remarkably good meal. That is not always the case at catered banquets, so in this case I say “kudos to Heritage Oaks C.C.”.

I sat at a table for ten – five of us from St. B’s.

The odd thing is that there was only one person at our table with Welsh ancestry, and indeed five of us were born in England!

I got a bit annoyed with the English woman who sat opposite me. When the President of the Society made an announcement in Welsh, this woman said (in a not very quiet voice): “Bloody hell, that’s O.K. for you, but we cannot understand a word”.  

What did she expect  - we were at a Welsh Society Banquet!

On the other hand, I discovered that the man who sat on my right had been educated at “Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital” (QEH) in my home city of Bristol, UK.  QEH is a sort of prep school where the boys wear a uniform which includes ankle length cassocks and yellow socks. When I was a kid my friends and I thought that this uniform was, to say the least, rather odd!

After dinner 

we were graced with some music from Sarasota’s Riverside High School Madrigal Choir.   These young people (aged between 15 and 17) were superb in many ways.

1.     The young women were clad in identical and gorgeous black gowns.  The young men wore black suits with white shirts and bow ties.  I love it when young people “dress up” (and I think that they enjoy it too).
Their singing was good, but not perfect.  And they seemed to be so very supportive of each other -- with smiles when things went well, and grins when they hit some not so perfect patches.
They sang a couple of “comic songs” with a sense of fun – as if they had never sung them before.  (See texts below – “Because you kissed me last night”  and “Guppies”).  Their sense of fun was infectious
  I left the banquet after their performance.  As we walked out into the parking lot these young people began to “goof off”.  They teased each other in a delicious high schoolish way, and squealed and giggled at a Racoon who emerged from some bushes to give us the once over.

5.     In other words, I was delighted to be with teenagers who sang as if they were pros, and then laughed, whooped and hollered because they  are teenagers!

So it was a lovely evening. I am glad that I was an honorary Welshman for a few hours.

Below you will find the texts of the comic songs, and a video link to the wonderful Welsh singer Bryn Terfel as he sings “Land of my Fathers”.


Comic Songs.

(1) Because You Kissed Me Good-Night

I climbed the door
And opened the stairs
I said my pajamas
And put on my prayers
Then turned off my bed
And crawled into the light
All because you kissed me good-night

Next morning, I woke
And scrambled my shoes
Polished my eggs and
Toasted the news
I couldn't tell my left from right
All cause you kissed me good-night.

That evening, at last,
I felt normal again
I called up my mother
and picked up the phone
I spoke to my puppy
And threw my dad a bone

Even at midnight
The sun was still bright
All because you kissed me good-night

(2) The Guppy  (by Ogden Nash)

Whales have calves, 
Cats have kittens,
Bears have cubs,
Bats have bittens,
Swans have cygnets,
Seals have puppies,
But guppies just have little guppies.


Bryn Terfel sings  Hen Wlad Fy Nhadou


  1. How could you have a meal on St Davids Day without Lamb on the menu?

  2. If you like comic songs, I'm sure you would like Flanders & Swann.

  3. Welsh dinner without lamb?? Or how about some ham, parsley sauce and mash.. another Welshie favourite.. and pudding.. how above Welsh cakes or bread and butter pudding or teison lap LOL. Was wondering what to do this St David's Day.. Yr Dydd Dewi Sant.. until I saw Katharine Jenkins is performing in Tampa on March 1st (2013).. trying to get tickets