Staff Talent Night

Held on Saturday 21st March, the first ever Pembroke Staff Talent Night aimed to reveal the incredible (and often hidden) talents of Pembroke staff members. Supported by PemWomen@30, the event also provided an opportunity for staff, their families and friends to socialise and get to know each other better.

The Hall was filled with balloons, Prosecco and an enormous selection of cakes ready for the party to begin. Friend of the College, Dr Yvonne Perret, then processed into the room wearing full Elizabethan costume to formally announce the start of the event.

The evening was compered by HR Manager Karen Lain and began with a poetry reading by porter Paul Harris. Paul read three short pieces reflecting on the way the seasons affect the College landscape. He then concluded with a poem that he had written especially for this academic year, in which we mark both 100 years since the start of World War One and thirty years since women students arrived at Pembroke.

This was followed by a stunning performance from Development Officer Edward Button. Edward has sung with a range of choirs across Cambridge, including the prestigious King’s College Choir. Accompanied on the piano by graduate student Joe Ashmore (2009) he sang two solo pieces by Bach and one with words by Pembroke poet Christopher Smart (1739).

Pembroke’s butler, Savino Cafagna, and his partner wowed the audience with their fancy footwork, demonstrating the passion of the Argentine tango. Next, maintenance man Andrew Nightingale did not disappoint with a string of groan-inducing jokes and puns. Andrew was once a star of local pantomime and so rounded off his set by leading the crowd in a lively rendition of ‘I am the Music Man’.

As well as her role as Deputy Development Director at Pembroke, Nami Morris is a Senior Teaching Fellow at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. She brought along her students to demonstrate a range of Korean percussion instruments. The set was energetic, very loud and introduced many members of the audience to a whole new style of music.

The final act of the evening was Computer Support Officer Helene Jones, who is a member of popular local act the Jackson Creek Band. The trio entertained everyone with a range of foot-stomping country and bluegrass music, which got several people up and dancing.

For the duration of the event, a small display was set up in the Hall to allow guests to think about the significance of PemWomen@30. As well as information about the events that have been held so far this year, there was a chance to compare photographs of the College staff from the 1980s and the present day.

The Staff Talent Night certainly paid tribute to the remarkable diversity of interests and skills among our current staff and allowed everyone to spend a fun evening together outside of the usual work environment.