Archive for the ‘Leisure’ Category

New orchestra on the lookout for members

Posted on Friday 7th February 2020 at 7:12 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of members of The Gifford Ensemble with their instruments.

By Emma Creasey, secretary of The Gifford Ensemble.

Do you like playing classical music and live in the Filton and Bradley Stoke area? If so then The Gifford Ensemble might be for you!

We started up in September 2018, when local residents, realising there was no local orchestra for the Stokes area, decided they’d better start one. We gave our first informal concert in March 2019 to an appreciative audience of friends and family.

A second concert in October established the group, now newly branded as the ‘Gifford Ensemble’, as a welcome provider of accessible classical music (and cake!) to the local community.

The Ensemble is currently small, but our ambition is to grow into a full orchestra. We are looking for players of Grade 7 or equivalent standard, particularly strings. If you’re interested, please get in touch and come for a trial rehearsal – it’s a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere with an emphasis on enjoying the music.

Rehearsals are at 7.15pm on Sunday nights in the Trust Hall, North Road, Stoke Gifford BS34 8PE. Members pay £4 per rehearsal to cover venue hire costs – but we hope to reduce that as our membership grows.

You can find out more – and hear some live recording of our playing – on our Facebook page. If you’d like to get in touch, then please call or text Cathy on 07528 172228, or email Emma on

We look forward to meeting you!

Photo: Members of The Gifford Ensemble at a rehearsal.

This article originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on page 27). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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Little Stoke Garden Society annual show 2019

Posted on Thursday 3rd October 2019 at 10:00 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of some of the cup winners.

The 44th annual show of Little Stoke Garden Society, held in the community hall on Saturday 31st August, had lots of interesting entries this year – from pumpkins to pictures, writes secretary Janice Szczelkun.

We have had strange weather conditions this year, first with the considerable heat wave and then the rain. Very challenging for us growers!

Homecraft and handicraft were well received – the Stokes area seems to be well populated with crafters and cooks!

We would love to have more entries next year, especially from the children. I am sure there are lots of grandparents out there who remember creating miniature gardens…

The show has many categories, open to adults and children: vegetables, fruit, flowers, homecraft, handicraft and photography, with cups awarded for the best. Entries are assessed by experienced, external judges – so there is no favouritism.

Judging takes place in the morning, and the awards ceremony is held at the end of the afternoon. Cups, to be held for one year, were presented by Rev Paul Hinckley, vicar of the parish of Bradley Stoke and Little Stoke.

We would like to thank everyone who worked hard over the weekend to make this year’s show another successful event.

More photos and list of cup winners »

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Stoke Gifford dancer earns place on London academy programme

Posted on Friday 18th January 2019 at 9:40 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Grace Cousins dancing. Photo of Grace Cousins dancing.

Thirteen-year-old Grace Cousins, who is a member of the Stoke Gifford School of Dance, has successfully auditioned for a place on an associate programme at the prestigious Urdang performing arts academy in London.

Grace has been dancing since she was three years old and over the years has developed a love and passion for dancing, having performed in numerous shows and entered a variety of competitions.

The Urdang Academy, based in Islington, offers training in dance and musical theatre for students aged 16 and above, but starting in January 2019, it is offering places on an associate programme for students aged 10 and above. The course will have a strong focus on the core technical subjects and aims to produce strong, well-rounded dancers. It will cover the three basic dance styles of ballet, tap and jazz as well as offering acrobatic and technique classes. Grace is most looking forward to developing her ballet skills as this is her favourite style of dance. She said:

“I enjoy all styles of dance but my favourite is ballet because I’ve been growing up doing it and I enjoy dancing it. I’m also someone who likes having a good technique and being precise and neat, which is the main focus of ballet.”

Grace found out about the course from her dance teacher Miss Eve, who encouraged her to go and audition as it would be a good way to push her to becoming a better dancer. The audition took place on Sunday 2nd December 2018. Grace said:

“I felt quite confident about the audition so I didn’t need to prepare much. I just needed to show them some impressive moves and tricks in order to display my ability and to wow them. I felt like the audition went well; I showed my personality through my dancing and executed the steps well.”

More: Grace will attend Urdang Academy every other Sunday »

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Fortnightly gospel choir sessions in Stoke Gifford

Posted on Sunday 21st October 2018 at 7:10 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo showing some members of Stoke Gifford gospel choir singing during a performance.

By Emma Smallwood, choir leader.

Did you enjoy the Royal Wedding gospel choir? Do you like to sing along to the radio in your car? Do you love to sing in the shower? Do you think you might like to have a go at singing in a community gospel choir?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the Stoke Gifford Gospel Choir might be just the thing for you. Part of the GGCC group of Bristol choirs, the Stoke Gifford choir has been going for two years now and has had some amazing adventures together. They have sung with the world-renowned London Community Gospel Choir, been part of various Bristol singing events, had a few road trips and put on their own concerts in venues such as the Victoria Rooms. When the current members joined the choir, I doubt they would’ve thought they could do any of these things but after being taught in a really fun, easy to access way, they have learned new skills they didn’t have before, made lots of new friends and had a lot of fun along the way.

We’re always open to new members. We meet fortnightly on a Tuesday evening in the St Michael’s Centre, The Green, Stoke Gifford, usually in the hall next to Old School Rooms Coffee Shop. We start at 7.30pm and finish at 9.15pm. The choir is for anyone, we love to have a wide mixture of people, that’s what ‘community’ is all about. We sing gospel music because at its heart it is about hope and that’s never a bad thing to have! You don’t have to call yourself a Christian or have any kind of faith to be in the choir; if you’re happy to sing gospel then you’re in!

We don’t audition people and there is no membership fee – we just have a donations box at every rehearsal. Rehearsal dates for October are 9th & 23rd, then 6th & 20th November . If you would like to come and see what we get up to, then do just turn up. If you have any questions then do email Emma Smallwood at

If you fancy catching us in action, we’ll be performing in local concerts during December. On the weekend of 7th-9th, we will be singing somewhere in Bristol (still to be confirmed) and on 15th December we are performing with Bath Community Gospel Choir and Geraldine Latty at the Roper Theatre in Bath. Details for all these events will appear on the GGCC Facebook page.

This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal news magazine (on page 18). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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