What a great night out! The foot tapping got underway immediately, and rather appropriately, with the Swing Band’s Blues Walk, the boys enjoyed a sing-song in Tequila (well, a sing-word: “Tequila!” after the last chord – perfectly delivered!), then Along Came Betty… and the Day Tripper. Wonderfully recognisable and brilliantly upbeat, the Swing band’s set was a real treat, full of expertly delivered solos and improvisations, and a great start to the entertainment: thank you Mr Shepherd and your musicians.
Thereafter we were treated to a rich variety of sumptuous music from the smaller ensembles: rags, blues, deep South (Deep River, at least), soul, something Cool and a breezy Air to help chase in springtime, epitomised by Beach’s Pastorale (a performance, as Mr Penny pointed out, conceived and rehearsed without staff input by the quintet which played it so beautifully). Many congratulations to all the individuals who contributed to these most intimate of groupings, the largest of which was the ever-entertaining Percussion Ensemble.
The second half was the Concert Band’s. Mr Hubbard’s choice of repertoire mixed genres brilliantly, keeping it all exciting yet familiar, rousing yet poignant. Uptown Funk! – not what I expected from the Band; Festiva, Game of Thrones (I confess I may have heard this tune once or twice on the sofa at home with the family), Gabriel’s Oboe (Isabella Pincombe’s gorgeous solo absolutely captivating) and The Dam Busters to close all much more Band-like but no less exciting for that. And in between Life on Mars and our own small tribute to Bowie.
A great night out indeed: our thanks and congratulations go to all the performers, and to the conductors Mr Hubbard, Mr Shepherd and Miss Foster, and our thanks to the audience for the retiring collection of £182.05 in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society.