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Concert to support The Draycott & Wilne Womens Institute

When it comes to performances in small churches, and other such occasions sometimes a full-blown brass band is just too much. Enter the Derwent Brass Ensemble!  Since being formed in late 2003 this versatile ten-piece group has performed at many local churches, and is in much demand for music festivals, civic receptions, summer balls, weddings receptions, fetes and even a couple of CAMRA beer festivals (no shortage of players for those!!)  The ensemble has also undertaken whistle stop tours to Germany to take part in the famous Mainz Christmas Festival.

This concert seems to have been personal challenge for Jane & Brian Marshall, long time friends and supporters of Derwent Brass. Having eventually convinced the WI team to host this inaugural concert they secured the venue and a date was agreed.

Jerusalem continues to echo in the halls of the Women's Institute, who adopted the hymn as their own in the early-1920s and still sing it to this day,  so Keith Leonard’s transcription was a fitting way to start the concert.

The Mike Davis number “Troublemaker” opened the show followed by the first of “four” solos, Sugar Blues – played, as we have come to expect brilliantly on the cornet by David Neville.

Taken from Derwent’s recent CD, “Big Band Big Screen” the ensemble performed a couple of numbers from the movies with the Quincy Jones classic from the Austin Powers Films “Soul Bossa Nova” and the haunting “Dances With Wolves”

The next soloist was a special request of the organisers Jane & Brian,  with Martyn Johnson giving his very personal rendition of Don Lusher's trombone solo “DL Blues”

Next came a short Glen Miller set with Keith Leonard’s arrangements of “In The Mood”, “Moonlight Serenade” and “Little Brown Jug”. The first half was brought to a conclusion with the Jazz showstopper from Jim Swearingen “Valero”, which powered its way to a dynamic finish as we headed off for tea and cakes!! ………

Suitably refreshed, the 2nd half had everyone up with “At the Sign of the Swinging Cymbal”  - Evening Pop pickers!

Alan Catherall’s arrangement of David Shires “Manhattan Skyline” was next.

OK time for another soloist! – Not featured too often, but the band's Chairman and Solo Horn, Graham Johnson gave us a beautiful performance of the classic Jim Webb number “By The Time I Get to Phoenix”.

The Ted Heath Orchestra, or Ted Heath & His Music as they were usually referred to on record, was arguably the greatest of all the British big bands. The ensemble gave the audience a treat with one of his most famous tunes “Hot Toddy” which actually made it to Number 6 in the charts in 1953  - again great solo from Dave Neville.

Originally a 1945 French song "Les feuilles mortes" - "Autumn Leaves" the much-recorded popular song became a pop standard and a jazz standard classic and no exception here with the bands Flugel soloist, Pam Davis entertaining the audience.

Recently, the band have been programming a few Beatles numbers so a couple were slotted in that work well for the smaller group with Alain Fernie’s arrangement of “Eleanor Rigby” and Barry Forgie’s “Lady Madonna” 

The penultimate tune came in the form of a lighthearted number with Keith’s arrangement of Ron Goodwin’s classic “Those Magnificent Men Flying Machines”

As the evening came to a close, the final number was the opening track of the band’s CD - Derwent's own version of “Mack the Knife” brought rapturous applause followed by an encore of the classic jazz instrumental composition by Joe Zawinul "Birdland"…

We’ll leave the last words to the event organiser :-

"We would like to say a Very Special Thank You to Keith Leonard and "The Ensemble" for the excellent concert on Saturday. The playing was superb and the programme content was suited to all and the soloists, what more can we say "BRILLIANT". Everyone enjoyed the wonderful music as could be seen by everybody’s feet tapping. Most had not seen Derwent Brass before and one person said --  "If that’s the ensemble, I cannot wait to see and hear the Full Band". Many others want to see the band again and are looking at going to the next concert, as we are.  The concert raised money to give our institute a much need boost"                      

Thanks to Jane Marshall. Draycott and Wilne WI

Rob Stew, Manager Derwent Brass


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