Submitted by Robin Rees (Bedford: 1965–68 and 1968–73)
Once upon a time there was, in the middle of Regent’s Park, a college where everyone worked diligently at their studies. Then, one day it was agreed that in future a new and rather different kind of people would in future be invited to join and similarly benefit from the education provided there. The enthusiasm for study of both sets of people was beyond reproach.
Then, one day it was suggested by a certain Geology lecturer Dr Bill Bishop, that representatives of both kinds might wish to meet between formal studies, with a view to further widening their education through the singing of ditties that had been written by a Mr William Gilbert and a Mr Arthur Sullivan.
Thus was born Bedford Light Opera Group, otherwise known as BLOG, whose first production, Trial by Jury, took place in March 1967. It is no coincidence that the second show, a year later, was Princess Ida, which tells of men invading a women’s university. In our enlightened 21st century, we are at liberty to ponder the political correctness or otherwise of the line: ‘A Woman’s college! Maddest folly going.’
The years rolled by with the annual BLOG productions, mainly in Tuke Hall. Gradually singers moved on to live their adult lives, enriched by the camaraderie of BLOG. Some of us even kept in touch. Then, two years ago at a Bedford Society meeting, I suggested in passing to Frances Dimond (Bedford 1965–68) that a few of us might one day wish to hold some sort of BLOG reunion. I am grateful that, through her repeated emails, Frances did not allow me to forget my casually-spoken words.
So it was that on 18 March 2017, the nearest Saturday to the 50th anniversary of our first production, no fewer than 31 former members of BLOG and their guests gathered at the old Bedford College, now Regent’s University. We took Afternoon Tea (I am sure Gilbert would have approved), sang through Trial by Jury and, above all, met old friends and talked of days long gone by. In fact, there was so much to talk about, that some of us convened shortly after midday for an early lunch, the party finally dispersing shortly before 7 p.m.
Will we hold a further reunion? If so, when will it be, and where? I must confess that I have not yet got around to analysing the questionnaire responses to the March event. If you would like to join our mailing list, please send me an email.
(Bedford: 1965–68 and 1968–73)