Waratah Brass in Concert25-Jul-2007
22 July 2007, 2pm
Lake Macquarie Performing Arts Centre
Lake St, Warners Bay, Newcastle
Riki McDonnell guests with Waratah Brass
What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than listening to a great Band, complete with an international soloist!
Waratah Brass under the baton of Howard Taylor, alongside the world renowned Euphonium virtuoso Riki McDonnell, proved that first class entertainment is available to NSW Band lovers.
The Program was energetic, entertaining, and most of all, enjoyable to listen to.
Howard Taylor has built himself a huge reputation in Australia for putting on a great show and today was no exception.
The Band opened with March Jubilee which left no doubt as to the quality Waratah Brass had in mind for today’s Concert. This energetic and stylish march was a perfect opener. Next up was Goff Richards wonderful Country Scene, which only works when you have a man in the middle who knows his business. Although a bit shaky at the start, the lovely Cornet playing of Conrad Curry together with Steve Grice on Euphonium added that bit extra to capture the magic this piece has to offer.
Riki McDonnell then took to the stage to perform his first offering of the afternoon. Largo Al Factotum has to be one of the all time classics for the Euphonium. Riki, sporting his new York Euphonium, certainly captured the style and virtuosity required to please the audience.
Riki was then joined by Conrad Curry in the beautiful duet I’ll Not Turn Back. Both soloists sensitive playing made this one of the highlights of the day.
The Band then knuckled down to perform Sing Sing Sing followed by Sparkling Diamonds before Riki returned to the stage to wow the audience with his lovely sound and style in Let Me Try Again.
The Band then rounded off the first half with the ever popular James Bond Collection.
John Williams Liberty Fanfare got the second half under way followed by Philip Harpers Salsa Pa' Gozar. This Latin flavoured item certainly livened up the crowd which was followed by a slightly tentative performance of Sandy Smith’s arrangement of Valero.
Riki McDonnell has certainly contributed to the world of the Euphonium in more ways than one in the form of having been fortunate enough to have many solos written and arranged for him. Riki returned to the stage to perform How Soon arranged for Riki by Peter Maunder. This is truly a magnificent arrangement and was played so beautifully. Definitely my favourite of the day.
The ever popular Slaughter on 10th Avenue is always a popular inclusion to any concert program and really displayed Waratah’s attention to detail. Somewhere Out There followed next which highlighted the band’s ability to balance under the Cornet and Euphonium features.
One of Australian's Euphonium stars, Mark Howcroft from St Mary's who sat in the ranks of Waratah for the day, performed a duet with Riki entitled Love is Forever . A finer combination of players would be hard to find - what a highlight this was.
Riki’s final offering to the program was Carnival Cocktail which only proved that he is still quite capable of leaping tall buildings with a single bound!!
Caravan rounded the Bands afternoon off with a bang before Riki had his arm twisted to give the crowd one more for the road. Peter Maunders fine arrangement of the New Zealand classic Pokarekare Ana seemed to be the hit of the day with the audience, despite the walloping the All Blacks gave us in the rugby the night before.
A great afternoons entertainment by a fine Band, ably directed by a fine conductor, with the inclusion of a first class soloist in top form.