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WFEL Fairey Band

International Women's Day
Conductor: Sarah Groarke-Booth
Morley Town Hall
Saturday 5th March


This concert in support of International Women’s Day was a timely reminder of the welcome (and long overdue) benefits of gender evolution in top-level brass banding. 

Sarah Groarke-Booth confidently led a quality ensemble in a polished programme – one which was to be a musical endorsement of subtle emphasis and marked command that permeated the balanced easy listening fayre.

Philip Sparke’s ‘Jubilee Overture’  set the tone with its controlled energy, followed by cornet soloist Alicia Davis with a crisp rendition of ‘The Nightingale’  - played with a razor-sharp edge of technical precision. 

Versatility

The versatility provided was certainly appreciated by the knowledgeable audience; Neil Hefti’s laid back ‘L’il Darlin’, featuring a tasteful cornet break from Brian Taylor, and offering contrast to the warm lyricism of ‘Prelude from 49th Parallel’.

Sarah Groarke-Booth confidently led a quality ensemble in a polished programme – one which was to be a musical endorsement of subtle emphasis and marked command that permeated the balanced easy listening fayre.

Wilfred Heaton’s quirky march ‘Praise’  and his setting of the American spiritual, ‘Safe in the Promised Land’  with its Gershwin-esque undertones broadened the spectrum, with horn player Emma Conway adding to the satisfaction levels with a flawless take of the Michael Jackson ballad, ‘One Day in Your Life’.

The dislocated pulse of Dave Brubeck’s ‘Blue Rondo a la Turk’  and the exotic flavours of the classic ‘Caravan’  closed a busy first half.

Control

More eclecticism followed; the exciting colourings of ‘Klezmer Karnival’  the prelude to flugel player Nicóla Shaw showcasing wonderful control in Rebecca Lundberg’s ‘Pater Noster’.  The bubble of ‘Perpetuum Mobile’  had just the right touch of electricity, whilst the touching quartet led ‘Irish Blessing’  drew the listening in.

Rebecca Lundberg’s sophisticated trombone delivery of Cole Porter’s ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’  offered a stylistic nod to Ella Fitzgerald, before the cinematic delights of ‘Indiana Jones’  and the fleetfooted ‘Riverdance’  rounded things off.

In a poignant moment of reflection, the MD spoke thoughtfully of the emerging tragedy of Ukraine before leading the band through the Ukrainian National Anthem.  

Heather Davies 

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