On Saturday night the village of Soddenham was treated to a full performance by local barbershop outfit, The Thermostat Four, and the atmosphere was truly eclectic. But before we say any more about the performance lets meet the men behind The Thermostat Four:
Bernard Drudge, he’s the top tenor, known locally as Soddenham’s singing policeman. He’s not a policeman though.
Tim Dengue, a geography teacher at Soddenham Community School. Enough said.
Leonard Bannerman, he’s the most experienced member of the group and takes the melody with Tim.
Grenville Maladine, the baritone, and in private life is an executive officer of the famous Dereham and District Dog Display Team.
Dave Smokepipe, bass. A rich, low voice which comes from the Second Reserve Sniffer of the Lollards Cricketball team.
The more observant amongst you may have noticed that there are actually five members, so why are they called The Thermostat Four? I’ll let Leonard explain:
“I joined the group in 1968 and was, at the time, the youngest ever member! The Thermostat Four were formed in the summer of 1967 and consisted of Victor Murrow, William Taret, Clifton Drewery and Reginald Gaze, and took their name from the road on which they all lived. That was the founding point upon which the group were formed and until 2001, they had always been a quartet and every member of the group had lived in Thermostat Road. That was when Grenville, who lives nearby on Tombstone Walk was invited to join. There was a long discussion amongst all the current members and several past members about whether to change the Name to The Thermostat Five or even The Soddenham Barbershop Quintet, but in the end, they decided to leave things as they were. After all, the name is still 80% correct – four of the group are residents in their namesake road!”
The group perform at functions and dinners around the region and can be booked by contacting their manager Unwin S. Schrieber at the Teat.
The Teat was buzzing on Saturday evening. During the day, the summer air had become thick and muggy, but as the evening drew in, gentle breezes brought a welcome relief and brought the distinct but beguiling aroma of krill to the fore. At exactly 8.30pm, the boys began the first of three sets that had everyone enthralled. In the first set were the old favourites, topped and tailed with a couple of new medleys:
The Old Songs/Sweet Adeline
Ain’t She Sweet
Goodbye My Lady Love
The Ashmolean Marching Society
You and I
My Eveline/In The Evening By The Moonlight
After a short break they returned with a set of new material, designed to let everyone know that barbershop is as ‘with it’ as breakdancing! There were five numbers by modern recording artistes (listed below in brackets) that really shifted the boundaries of barbershop. Things will never be the same again.
Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
William, It Was Really Nothing (The Smiths)
Barbie Girl (Aqua)
American Idiot (Green Day)
Gangnam Style (Psy)
The third and final set was more of the same – just what The Thermostat Four do best!
Lets Harmonize/I Want A Girl/Girl Of My Dreams
Yes Sir, That’s My Baby
Sweet, Sweet Roses Of Morn
Me And My Shadow
Sitting In The Corner
What Do We Do On A Dew, Dew, Dewy Day?
Silver Threads Amongst The Gold/There’s Still A Little Spark Of Love Still Burning
The Thermostat Four are performing at the Summer Fete concert at Murrow’s Mill, in an opening slot for another of Soddenham’s musical maestros, Sandalmans Tabernacle! This is a ticket only affair, so don’t be disappointed and get yours before they sell out!