Saint Mary's spectacular: Fr Neil at
the lectern, the Brass players below the altar, and the audience
waiting for the off
Last Night of the Proms... with
September 22nd at St Mary's was the occasion of what is becoming
a well-loved musical tradition in the United Benefice.
fifth year of the 'Last Night of the Proms' Concert could certainly
boast a difference - the presence of eleven talented young members of
Brass Ensemble under the direction of Matthew Hardy, and joined
by resident organist (and, of course, resident Vicar) Fr Neil Kelley.
The concert followed the usual pattern of a relatively sober first
half, followed by an increasingly rousing and celebratory second half.
The sounding brass gave us Bach, Monteverdi and Haydn in the first
half, as well as a piece of Scheidt (as no less a person
than the Vicar introduced that well-known German composer with
the proper German pronunciation!).
The highlight of the interval was a glass of bubbly, supplied through
the generosity of Barrington's funeral services. Thanking them for
Fr Neil was unwilling to wish their immediate services on anyone
present, but was sure that when the time came, they would be uppermost
in the minds of those present.
The second half of the concert featured some splendid Gershwin numbers
(notably the Rhapsody in Blue), before the ensemble let rip with
the traditional 'Last Night'
favourites of Henry Wood's 'Sailor's Hornpipe', Thomas Arne's 'Rule
Britannia' and, of course, Elgar's 'Land of Hope and Glory' (aka Pomp
and Circumstance March No 1).
As usual, these latter items featured rhythmic audience clapping
(sometimes even on the beat), much patriotic waving of flags, letting
off of fire-crackers
and blowing of their own trumpets as this outstanding evening came to
its triumphant conclusion (and more than one hearing aid was switched
Dressed for the occasion... a young member of the packed audience
The Liverpool Brass Ensemble pose with Fr Neil before the start of the
concert . The performers are Matthew Hardy, Owen Bryce, Anna Spence and
Mark Powell (trumpets),
Rob Fleming (horn), Austin Ralphson, Paul Davis and Tim Lenahan
(trombones), Tim Bateman (bass trombone) and Malcolm Peach (tuba)
Two of the stars: Trumpeter Matthew Hardy and composer Andrew Keegan,
whose 'Tiamat Overture' opened the concert
Blowing for England: the ensemble in full flow below the High Altar
Not 101 Trombones: these three raised the roof on their own
Lifting the flag: patriotic concertgoers in good voice
The view from the back of the full, flag-bedecked church
Not all the trumpeters were wearing black: festive celebrations
during 'Rule Britannia'
More celebrations during 'Land of Hope and Glory' as the evening came
to a rousing conclusion
Words and pictures: Chris Price
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