Saint Mary's spectacular: Fr Neil at the lectern, the Brass players below the altar, and the audience waiting for the off

The Last Night of the Proms... with a Difference!

Saturday September 22nd  at St Mary's was the occasion of what is becoming a well-loved musical tradition in the United Benefice.
The fifth year of the 'Last Night of the Proms' Concert could certainly boast a difference - the presence of eleven talented young members of the
Liverpool 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 their sponsorship,
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 off...!)

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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