Last Wednesday my phone buzzed with a text from Amy; ‘Do you want to go to the Symphony Hall on Sunday to watch a concert with Fodens, Cory and Black Dyke?’ My reply was about affirmative as the response to the age old question regarding bears toiletry habits in the woods.

So on Sunday afternoon we took our seats (Upper Circle, Row D, Seats 10-11) and waited to be entertained. We were. Royally.

Fodens opened up. I have to admit their programme didn’t overly grab me, however they were in good form, with their second item ‘The Unanswered Question,’ although slightly bizarre, being the highlight. The pianissimo playing in this piece was the best I have ever heard, being very orchestral which, under the baton of the masterful Allan Withington, should not have been a surprise.

Next up was the band from the Rhonda, Cory. They romped through Malaguena to open, instantly grabbing the audience by the scruff of the neck before bringing the house down with the old ‘pot boiler’ Poet and Peasant overture, which featured the delightful tone of principal horn Ailsa Russell. Steve Stewart wowed in High Fidelity before more excellent controlled playing followed in O Magnum Mysterium. Chris Thomas showcased technique to die for in the finale from the Bourgeois Trombone Concerto and they finished off with their inspirational MD, Philip Harper’s, own arrangement of Finale from Act 1 of Tosca.

The final ‘solo band’ performance was from Black Dyke. Lets Face the Music and Dance and the Marriage of Figaro overture led to a sumptuous solo performance from world renowned baritone star, Katrina Marzella. This was perhaps the highlight of the concert for me; I’ve been fortunate to work with Katrina through Lions and it was great to hear her ‘live’ in Be My Love. They finished with the brilliant Shine as the Light before the massed bands spectacular featuring Dyke and Cory took place.

Just the three items were programmed, a march by Harry Mortimer, Nimrod and Marche Slav, but the audience demanded more, which came in the shape of William Tell, a performance that was faster than a robbers dog!

All in all, what an excellent afternoon. Three of the world’s top bands, one of the worlds best concert halls, and all for £17.50. I spent all Monday day morning walking around conducting the music I was playing in my head!!!


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