On a beautiful sunny afternoon the Barberettes arrived in Reading to entertain guests at a Civic ceremony at the Town Hall. The ceremony was to reaffirm 70 years of friendship between Reading and Düsseldorf (started in 1947 by the then Mayor of Reading Phoebe Cusden). Many of us travelled to Reading Town centre by train and were very noticeable walking around in our matching dresses and feeling somewhat self-conscious as people looked at this excited, chatty group walk by - probably wondering who this crazy bunch of ladies were.
The event itself was very formal but interesting, with dignitaries from Reading and Düsseldorf - members of the Reading Düsseldorf Association, Reading and Düsseldorf Churches interchange and representatives of groups in Reading who carry out twining exchanges alongside other guests who had travelled from Düsseldorf.
The Re-affirmation ceremony consisted of speeches made by the leader of Reading Council, the Mayor of Reading, The Oberbürgermeister of Düsseldorf, and the Chairman of the Reading Düsseldorf Association. The Re-affirmation Charter was read and presentations of gifts were also made between the representatives to celebrate the occasion.
We were then thrilled by a brilliant performance by the wind octet consisting of members of the Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra before we walked up to the stage to perform our varied and entertaining set. Starting with a four part acapella arrangement of Adele’s ‘Skyfall’ to our dynamic finale of ‘It’s Raining Men’ during which we had smiles from the audience and those standing at the back moving to the actions along with us.
We stayed for a champagne and cake reception and received complements from many of the guests who really enjoyed our performance and took time to chat to us.
We had a really enjoyable time and felt proud to have been a part of an historical event in the life of the Reading Düsseldorf friendship again.