Upbeat performance by talented brass instruments in a beautiful building
The beautifully restored St Andrew’s Church in Sonning was the setting for an impressive musical evening featuring Ascot Brass.
The twinkling sight of the 30 brass players with their array of small to extremely large instruments, tightly placed in the narrow center of the church nave, created a strong sense of anticipation.
The concert started with a lively concert March celebrationfilling the vaulted church with soulful sound that engaged the audience.
Steve Courtland’s arrangement of Stanley Myer Cavatina produced a haunting melody to balance the mood with sympathy.
Bulmershe School provided an ensemble of senior choir members and staff in a lively performance of Count the stars/cards with piano and guitar accompaniment.
Their production of Radiohead Crawlsung for the first time live, surprised the public with their close harmonies.
The school also performed as the Bulmershe Singers in a student-led choir with Feel good and This girl is on firearranged by Isabel Wiltshire.
Ascot Brass returned to play My love is like a red red rose, featuring the talented Mark Dallas on cornet. The audience gave an enthusiastic reception to his sensitive performance.
Musical director David Rudd explained that several of the performers also perform with leading marching bands.
Stacey Hall, who is a regular with the Sandhurst Silver Band, delighted with her melodic tenor horn solo in The lark in the clean air.
David Daws’ trombone solo in Blue Bells of Scotland watch his extraordinary dexterity in producing such a range of harmonious notes, including the deepest and richest of tones.
Celeste Hexter, head chorister at St Andrew’s Church, music scholar and prefect of music at St Joseph’s College, Reading, gave two spellbinding performances accompanied by Ian Westley.
First there was A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square with well-known lyrics by Eric Maschwitz and later sea feverwhich is his A-level recital of John Masefield’s poem, composed by John Ireland.
The audience was mesmerized by her beautiful clear voice and captivating performance.
Ascot Brass continued to delight with the Franco-Algerian marching song, March Military, The Magnificent Seventhe restlessness Cossack fire dance and the ambitious Bohemian Rhapsody.
Rudd presented his latest issue, fire in the blood, by Paul Lovatt Cooper, explaining that it was first performed by the famous Black Dyke Band at the Royal Albert Hall as a sacred religious piece. It had three sections and featured Psalm 95, Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord.
St Andrew’s provided the perfect setting to enjoy and reflect on this devotional music, which swelled to its triumphant conclusion, ending such an enjoyable golden musical evening.
The evening ended with a heartfelt thanks to the public from the Trustees of St Andrew’s and a warm invitation to see Ascot Brass perform again at their 21st Anniversary Gala Concert at Reading Minster on Saturday 25th June.