Northop Festival of Music Gala Concert


Fairey FP (Music) Band
Northop Silver Band
Baritone Soloist:Carole Crompton
Conductor:Major Peter Parkes
Saturday 27th March 2004

The Northop Festival is always one of the highlights in the North Wales Musical Calendar - a blend of the professional and the enjoyable. And, this year's Gala Concert was no exception!

The first half of the evening was delivered by The Fairey FP (Music) Band and their conductor, Major Peter Parkes. An entertaining mixture of delightful works ranging from arrangements of Classics and entertaining miniatures to new works especially written for the band, kept the audience pinned to their seats in enjoyment and awe. The current National Champions were on form and played with real panache - every note was carefully placed and every moment beautifully controlled - a delight to listen to!!

The Second half of the evening brought the Fairey FP (Music) Band together with the Northop Silver Band in a 'Last Night of the Proms' extravaganza. All the usual Pomp and ceremony abounded, brilliantly played by both bands and exquisitely directed - with wit and humour - by Major Peter Parkes. Solo spots in both halves were delivered, with aplomb, by Mr Philip McCann and Mr Morgan Griffiths. Philip McCann brilliantly demonstrated why he is still one of the best cornet players in the world with a stunningly beautiful rendition of Russulka's Song to the Moon and Morgan Griffiths's performance of Rule Britannia brought the house down!

The highlight of the evening, however, was the Guest Baritone Soloist, Carole Crompton. The Baritone has been, until now, relatively neglected as a solo instrument. However, Carole's moving performances tonight have definitely put it firmly on the soloist's map! She decided to perform two new works specially written for tonight's concert: Lagan Love arranged by Steve Roberts and Elegy by Paul Mealor. The former was beautifully arranged and really showed-off Carole's rich tone whilst the Elegy - written when Mealor was only sixteen - proved a powerful and deeply moving work, full of intense harmonic writing and wonderfully crafted tutti sections. This really showed Carole at her best. I'm sure that both works will have a long life and I'm convinced that, following her silence from playing recently, Carole is back at the top and there to stay. Welcome back Carole!!

Dr. Edward Wainwright