Charity concert involving Haverhill Silver Band and Hadstock Silver Band was ‘a triumph’
Festival of Brass - a review by Caroline Hinitt
Venue: West End Concert Hall, Cambridge.
Date: February 17, 2013
Time and talents are the most precious of commodities and it was at the Festival of Brass in
Cambridge, that these two valuable elements came together to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
We were presented with an epic concert full of variety, fun and excitement, yet proceedings were tinged with moments of poignant reflection on a disease which affects us all.
No more so than the L&SC bands represented at this Festival of Brass.
After the untimely death of one of their long-standing bass players, Haverhill Silver Band and Hadstock Silver Band instigated this charity concert, but it was a real coup to gain the support of euphonium virtuoso David Childs along with celebrated trombone quintet Bones Apart and local Brass Quintet, TUBE.
Bones Apart led an afternoon workshop for ticket holders, which was attended by over 60 players of all ages and standards, finishing with a mini concert.
The main event began with a solid performance of Barnard Castle by Hadstock Silver Band,
conducted by event organiser Dr Lisa Jardine-Wright and followed with a rendition of Cavatina.
Although a non-contesting 4th section band, Hadstock rose to the challenge of performing in such a prestigious venue and set up the first half well.
They were then followed by a set from Bones Apart, who delighted the packed auditorium with their trombone versions of Jealousy followed by the haunting tones of My Funny Valentine, showcasing the individual talents of these four outstanding musicians in this well-loved standard.
Pure class David Childs joined the all-female trombone quartet for an arrangement of the classic Czardas.
Within the first few tones, Childs had filled the whole auditorium with his beautiful sound, then thrilled the audience with his speed, accuracy, technical ability and cheeky raised eyebrow interaction with the audience in the bars rest.
With a minimalist, but proficient accompaniment, the quintet version of this old favourite was a breathtaking showstopper......until the next piece.
In complete contrast, Childs went on to play Donegal Bay - a special arrangement of the piece for this charity event.
Once again Childs’ lingering tones floated over the audience, making the fact that this was a charity concert all the more poignant.
To say there was barely a dry eye in the house is no exaggeration and Childs himself seemed very moved by the evocative melody and the beautiful atmosphere created in Cambridge’s West Road Concert Hall.
Back to Bones Apart and two pieces to lift the mood - Variations on Annie Laurie and Stars and Stripes Forever - both pieces requiring maximum concentration and great technical proficiency which Bones Apart have in bucket loads.
Despite the fact that Becky Smith, Jayne Murrill, Helen Vollam and Lorna McDonald all have very different styles of playing, they combine perfectly in their ensemble, sharing out parts equally, making for great variety in tonal quality.
A high quality set from a truly outstanding ensemble.
A lone trumpeter then took to the stage, filling the auditorium with an astounding jazz rendition of Amazing Grace, before his Dixieland accompaniment of Bass, Trombone, French Horn and Sopranino cornet marched on.
Welcome to TUBE, a very professional Cambridgeshire-based brass quintet playing from memory and entertaining the audience with an eclectic mix of genre and lots of cheeky interaction with the audience.
A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square followed, with each member of the quintet taking a solo role in this old favourite, which was warmly received by the audience.
Before ending the second half with a comedy piece Come Landlord Fill The Flowing Bowl (where
TUBE made it increasingly apparent that the landlord was being generous in his offerings...), David Childs took to the stage again with a rendition of Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms, accompanied by TUBE.
Hadstock Silver kicked off the second half with two punchy numbers from film and stage shows,
entertaining the audience with a medley from Grease and All That Jazz from the musical Chicago.
Haverhill Silver Band nearly blew the audience onto The Backs with the first three notes of Toccata and not a split in sight.
With precision and drive, they motored their way through this well known arrangement by Ray Farr under the direction of Mark Ager, before being joined on stage by David Childs for Woodfield’s Varied Mood - truly varied in style and tempo.
Bourgeois’ Serenade followed from the Silver Band, lolloping along with its 11/8 bars and performed with grace and agility by this solid First Section band.
It is interesting to note that Haverhill have a regular attendance at rehearsals of more than 25 players, which is a rarity among bands these
days. They have a thriving youth band, ably led by Di Pannell, and have integrated many youth band players into the senior band over the years.
David Childs took to the stage again with the melancholy melody of Lament from Stabat Mater, a magnificently moving piece, which was backed by Haverhill Silver in a delicate and sensitive manner.
The five second hush before the applause was testimony to the quality of playing from Childs and his equally controlled and understated accompaniment.
A change of mood again with Perpetuum Mobile tripping along nicely to entertain the audience
before Childs returned to play Doughty’s Grandfather’s Clock, impressing the audience yet
again with his tonal range and technical ability.
Finishing off their set, Haverhill played Fernie’s arrangement of MacArthur Park with a superb mix of romantic lilt and thumping rock beat.
Childs returned, introducing an encore of the Hot Canary, beginning with sustained chords and long warbling bird whistles.
At the end of a long evening, this piece required Childs to hit over 60 top Fs throughout the piece, which he did with ease.
It is clear why David Childs is the country’s leading euphonium player.
As a grand finale, a massed band of Haverhill Silver, Hadstock Silver, Bones Apart and TUBE joined together to play Lord of the Dance and Pines of Rome. David Childs also sidled in and made an unexpected but very welcome appearance in the massed band.
This was a concert of epic proportions, with over 25 pieces played, supporting a very good cause, brilliantly organised by Lisa Jardine-Wright and benefitting from the outstanding musical talents of David Childs, Bones Apart and TUBE.
No player took any money for their time or travel at this charity event, which raised over £3000 for Cancer Research UK.
It is rare to find true altruism these days, but the packed out concert hall at West Road certainly witnessed not only amazing musicianship of the highest level, but also saw charitable giving in action.
A veritable musical triumph!
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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