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Treorchy Concert 2010 - A Review By Our Patron

Just a few words on my thoughts on the evening of the Derwent Brass concert with the Treorchy Male Choir 6th November 2010.

‘Oh what a night it was, it really was, such a night’ the night that the world famous Treorchy Male Choir came to town at the invitation of Derwent Brass for their second visit and every bit as good as their first. It looked like a capacity audience which set the atmosphere for the evening.

Steven Blakely was unavailable on this occasion to take up the role of compere but this was well covered by the mountaineer and adventurer Nigel Vardy. Nigel has undertaken many expeditions across the world and that is after losing fingers and toes due to frostbite resulting from his climb up Mount McKinley in 1999 from which he had to be airlifted off and was the highest altitude helicopter rescue in North America. The jovial content of his role as compere was applauded by the audience.

To open the musical content of the evening Nigel introduced Derwent Brass with Musical Director Keith Leonard and they opened the evening with ‘Walking with Heroes’ and we knew that we were in for a great evening. Even more so when the compere of the Treorchy Male Choir, Dean Powell, gave the audience their first taste of the Welsh language. While most of the audience did not understand a word, fortunately he then gave an English interpretation. I say most, since there were some Welsh people in the audience. The choir was under their musical director Janice Ball and opened with ‘With a Voice of Singing’ followed by true welsh numbers ‘Y Darlun’ and ‘Gwahoddiad’. Pity about the lighting though, there should have been more lights on the choir at this point and at one occasion we lost Janice completely.

Derwent Brass then took the stage again and started off with Smetana’s ‘Dance of the Comedians’. This was followed by Nigel Vardy introducing, as he said “This little Japanese number ‘Hejre Kati’’ which showed us the virtuosity of David Neville, and was out of this world, as they say up north, “a luv’ly bit of triple tongueing lad”. The last piece in this section was I’ll Walk with God and was in tribute to Lady Hilton who died recently. She was involved with many organizations and patron of a lot more including Derwent Brass. Derwent Brass then departed from the stage with Nigel Vardy saying “they have just gone for a tea break”, which left the stage to the choir. Their first item, as shown in the programme was changed to ‘You Raise Me Up’ also in tribute to Lady Hilton. This number always tugs at the heartstrings and brings tears to your eyes. Next was Bizet’s ‘From Far inside the Shrine’ which involved vocal soloists tenor Dean Powell and baritone Ray Daniels. The final piece for the choir in that segment was the famous ‘Nessun Dorma’ by Puccini, which everyone knows and wants to join in.

Nigel then introduced Derwent Brass back on stage with the ‘Big Band Sound’. This started off with ‘Valero’ followed by ‘South Rampart Street Parade’ and then we had a trombone solo from Martyn Johnson with ‘Blue Jeans’ and to finish the first half of the evening’s entertainment Louis Prima’s ‘Sing Sing Sing’. What a great first half.

Looking forward to the second half and it did not disappoint with the opening number from Derwent Brass ‘I Will Follow Him’ with the three scallywags on trombones, Martyn Johnson Howard Else and Andy Devereux giving us a laugh as they came on from back stage dressed as nuns. This was followed by ‘Minstrel Boy/Toss The Feathers’ with Dave Neville, Graham Johnson, Adam Rutter and Adrian Drewitt joining forces.

We then had the band and choir join forces under the banner of Janice Ball with that rousing masterpiece ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ with two members of the percussion at the front of the stage building the atmosphere. This led into the choir’s first solo session in the second half with well-known lighter numbers ‘Let It Be Me’, ‘One’, ‘The Wonder Of You ‘and ending with ‘What Would I Do Without My Music’

The band then had their final solo section of the evening which started with Monteverdi’s ‘Fanfare Orfeo ‘ followed by ‘Reels & Jigs’ with Euphonium soloist Adam Rutter showing us unbelievable dexterity.  I do not know how he can play those notes so fast, absolutely unbelievable. Leonard Bernstein’s ‘One Hand, One Heart’ was followed by Saints-Saens wonderful ‘Bacchanale’

Dean Powell then came on to tell the audience about the Treorchy Male Choir, from its beginnings and its development over the years to what it is today, a world renowned choir. He is obviously very knowledgeable on the history of the choir and told it in a very jovial way. This then led into the choir’s final solo spot with tunes from the marvellous ‘Les Miserables’ starting with ‘Bring Him Home’. Soloist of the evening Iona Jones sang ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ followed by the versatile Dean Powell singing Stars. The segment ended with combined solo efforts of Iona and Dean singing ‘Do You Hear the People Sing’

The finale of the evening to end a marvellous evening of which both Derwent Brass and the Treorchy Male Choir should be very proud  was the combined effort of the band and the choir with Emrys Jones ‘Morte Criste’ again with the wonderful voice of Iona Jones. 

Nigel asked the audience to be upstanding for the national Anthems of both Wales and England. The first, the majority of us could not join in ‘Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ which was beautifully sung by the choir including both Janice and Iona, but we made up for it with ‘God Save The Queen’ which was sung by everyone.
Another evening of music and song from Derwent Brass and the Treorchy Male Choir that will be remembered for a long time.

Roy W Poole
Patron Derwent Brass

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