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Another popular concert at Etwall

July 3rd saw Derwent Brass performing at the ever popular St. Helen’s Church, Etwall in Derbyshire, for the first of two concerts to take place at this venue in 2010.

As the band began warming up and setting up, the anticipation for a great night was passing from mouth to mouth in the audience as they, in true Etwall fashion, graced, (or should that be grabbed) their seats nice and early!

The band, dressed for the warm summer’s night in sleek ‘open neck’ black, were directed for the evening by guest conductor, close friend and former member of Derwent, Graham Jacklin of the ‘Leicester Co-operative band’.  Keith Leonard, the band’s regular Musical Director was away on vacation but passed on his thanks to Graham for stepping in.

So to start the evening with no fuss the band struck up with Keith’s bespoke arrangement of ‘Fanfare from Orfeo’, followed by a well varied programme including Valero, One Hand One Heart (West Side Story) and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Three soloists also delighted the audience in the first half with three very different pieces. Principal Cornet, Dave Neville with his polished rendition of ‘Hejre Kati’ (Mendez);  Solo Horn, Graham Johnson with his moody take on ‘By the time I get to Phoenix’ and lastly but certainly not least Solo Trombonist, Martyn Johnson with his purposely cheesy and comically brilliant ‘Leaning on a Lampost’, all of which received an outstanding reception from the audience and deservedly so.

Following a brief, rather English Traditional interval of scones and tea, plus a well needed breath of fresh air, the band opened the second half with the S.A. march Praise, shortly followed by the contrasting quiet and beautiful meditation ‘An Evening Prayer’. 

It was then time for Adam Rutter, the band’s Solo Euphonium, to give his take on the demanding ‘Reels and Jigs’; a technical nightmare it was delivered as a clean, tidy and virtuosi performance - as always. This showcase then evolved into the whole Trombone section taking centre stage to play a swingy take on ‘I will follow him’ from the 1992 hit, Sister Act – Nuns this section certainly are not; clowns maybe!

This lead the night’s events smoothly into a short Big Band set (sadly not enough room for a stage shift on this occasion) that featured some of Derwent’s favourites; ‘South Rampart Street Parade’, ‘Mack the Knife’ and that iconic tune from ‘Pick of the Pops’ – ‘At the Sign of the Swinging Cymbal’.

To conclude the concert the band performed another arrangement from the pen of Keith Leonard, inspired by ‘The Corrs’, entitled ‘A Gaelic Finale’.  The audience’s demands for an encore saw Derwent playing their signature march ‘Montreal Citadel’ to nicely round off the evening’s events.

review by Emma Davis

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