This programme captures so much about Aberystwyth history. In WW2 the town was a major base for initial training for the RAF. This performance brought the military and the town together in the iconic King’s Hall to raise money for the (pre NHS) Cardiganshire General Hospital.
The tone of the concert was resolutely upbeat: “Xmas Pie” was performed just after Christmas 1942 and is described as “a dish suitable for young and old mixed to an entirely new recipe and seasoned with a real Christmas flavour for the kiddies”.
Part 1 of the performance consisted of a short comic (?) play called The Family Party, and included many young aircraftmen in the cast list. Of particular interest in the role of “Uncle Joe” was Joseph Ceci. Ceci worked for the British Museum, and was a particular expert in portrait painting. Described as a man of “exuberant and generous personality”, he accompanied those parts of the collections that were evacuated to Aberystwyth for the duration of the war, and clearly entered into the life of the town with gusto.
The second part of the evening’s performance comprised a children’s ballet A Dream of Christmas. The young cast had roles as fairies, sailors and urchins with adults playing the Snowman, the Policeman, the Grown-ups and – of course – Father Christmas (played by Squadron-Leader R.H. Truman). The finale of the evening was a religious piece called The First Christmas involving the choir of St Michael’s Church and Sister Maberley in the role of the Madonna.