Review – Conviviality of evening with band and company

King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre
12 October 2013
Conductor: Nigel Weeks
Guests: Jane Craigie-Read, Darrel Read

A disappointingly small audience heard the well-rounded and well-reputed St Kilda Brass band perform on Saturday at the King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre.

Their sound is tight and bright, rich and mellow; their repertoire includes a variety of classic popular work interspersed with familial banter and jokes from guest conductor Nigel Weeks. The audience joined in the repartee and a spirited sing-along of Jerusalem.

Highlights of the evening include the Slavische Fantasy with solo cornet played by Megan Gooding with great fluidity and control; the medley An American Tale and And the Band Played On, which both highlighted a capricious sense of fun; extra special mention must go to the full-bodied section of Amazing Grace, which went straight to the heart, and to the concluding item for the evening Dundonnell from Hymn of the Highlands, with soloists Erynne and Georgia Scherf and John McAdam on horn, flugel and baritone respectively, which brought a tear to my Irish eyes.

The charm and presentation achieved by solo singers Jane Craigie-Read and Darrel Read won audience approval. Their duet Something Stupid was presented with naïve honesty. Craigie-Read has a sweet, strong voice and Read’s solos, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, the Welsh national anthem, and Anthem from Chess showed off his strong voice and pitch control. Both singers will gain from further stage experience. Matthew Toomata’s direction of their pieces shows promise and likewise will improve with experience.

Less convincing was the arrangement of Sibelius’ Finlandia and Edward German’s March Paraphrase: Men of Harlech performed by the band under Weeks. Both started exceptionally well but seemed to get lost along the way.

All in all this was an enjoyable evening, its conviviality due equally to Weeks as compere and conductor and to the music.

Marian Poole
Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (October 14, 2013)

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