Brighton supports The Martlets

Discussion in ' User Reviews' started by BrightonHove, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. BrightonHove

    BrightonHove Member

    Brighton & Hove City Brass and Hangleton Band
    Friends of Brighton Festival Chorus

    On Saturday 15 September two of Brighton’s premier brass bands joined forces with friends from one of the top choirs in the UK to celebrate the life of Elizabeth Slaney who was a member of all three groups at some time before being tragically taken from us in February this year.

    The concert, held at St Johns Church in Brighton, was given in aid of The Martlets Hospice who were responsible for the wonderful care afforded to Elizabeth.

    Performing to a nearly full hall the audience were treated to a feast of music accompanied along the way by a striking slide-show on a big screen next to the stage. MC Andy Taylor kept the evening flowing with his informative and relaxed style of introductions.

    The Hangleton Band was first on stage under the command of Musical Director Richard Baker. Starting the proceedings with a rousing rendition of Hubert Bath’s Out of the Blue which everybody recognised as the theme tune to Sports Report. This was followed by Darrol Barry’s arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen whilst on the big screen was the iconic image of the band in the now famous pose of Freddie and his mates. Hangleton followed this with a solo - but not played by the soloist they had in mind at the beginning of the day. Unfortunately their first baritone player was unable to attend at the last minute for personal reasons so principal euphonium player, Rachel Taylor, stepped in to the breach to give a wonderful rendition of Stephen Roberts’ beautiful Carrickfergus. The piece was chosen as a tribute to Elizabeth’s time spent playing baritone with the band.

    The band wanted to include a rendition of the Largo from Dvorak’s 9[SUP]th[/SUP] Symphony and so chose Gordon Langford’s New World Fantasy as their next piece. With an interwoven collection of stirring American tunes right in the middle of it all was the Largo which was beautifully played by flugel horn player Jennifer Ireland. To finish off, the band performed Steven Sykes’ arrangement of the Duke Ellington classic Caravan.

    Before giving way to the choir completely they joined forces to perform a rugby song! The theme tune television used for the Rugby World Cup was Gustav Holst’s I Vow to Thee My Country and the band accompanied the choir in the arrangement by Philip Sparke.

    The stage was then the choirs. Usually 150 strong it was a privilege to have 35 members taking part to remember Elizabeth who had been a member for many years. Under the direction for the very first time of Sally Tatterall the choir were in outstanding form beginning with Rachmaninov’s Bogoroditsye Dyevo. Showing astounding dynamic contrast and control the piece brought more than a tear to the eye of the audience. The same can be said of their second piece the exquisite Locus Iste by Anton Bruckner and their final piece Sleep by Eric Whitacre. With the audience totally captivated and straining to hear the closing bars the choir had made their own very special tribute to Elizabeth.

    Before the interval Clem Hunnisett from The Martlets Hospice was invited to say a few words. Explaining that Martlets offer a free service and that it costs in excess of £3.5 million a year to run brought home just how important fund raising is to keep this invaluable organisation going.

    Following the interval it was the turn of Brighton & Hove City Brass to take to the stage under the guidance of Musical Director Matthew Hackett. Starting with Slaidburn, a classic brass band march by William Rimmer, they followed this with Brassed Off by Darrol Barry. With no connection to the film of the same name it featured the band’s drummer Jon Ireland. Next came a piece written by bass guitar legend Herbie Flowers. His simple yet beautiful Carillon seemed just right in the church surroundings. Next up, with images of John Travolta strutting his stuff, was Manhattan Skyline by David Shire - written as a musical interlude from the film Saturday Night Fever.

    Elizabeth played horn with Brighton & Hove City Brass and the next piece was the band’s tribute to her. The second movement of Cry of the Celts by Ronan Hardiman is entitled Suil a Ruin and featured the band’s solo horn player Jennifer Ireland, playing in her real position with her own band this time. The band then played the last movement of the suite arranged by Peter Graham. Entitled Victory, it uses the famous Lord of the Dance tune, otherwise known as Simple Gifts.

    The band’s final piece was Goff Richard’s Breezin’ Down Broadway which takes you through a multitude of tunes you are likely to hear to this day playing at a number of theatres in America and beyond.

    To close the concert the bands and choir joined together to perform The Irish Blessing by J E Bacak. A moment of true reflection to remember precisely why we were all here tonight. The bands then performed the closing moments of Windows of the World by Peter Graham with excellent “Mambo’s” provided by the choir. To finish the night of celebration the audience were invited to join in for a stirring rendition of Land of Hope and Glory, even inciting an encore with their enthusiastic appreciation.

    So, the concert celebrating the life of Elizabeth Slaney had come to an end. It was a stirring occasion with bands and choir giving their all and one which Elizabeth would have appreciated and been truly proud. The performers and audience should be equally as proud as their combined efforts mean that a cheque for over £1000 will be winging its way to the Martlets. A grand effort from everybody concerned.
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