Fairey's brought the pre-National Finals festival to a close in fine style at Regent Hall on Friday evening.
A cosmopolitan audience braved a wet London night to be rewarded with an excellent concert programme that contained items from their recent CD release and a sneak preview of Howard Snell's magnificent arrangement of ‘Daphnis et Chloe’.
The band's professional conductor, Russell Gray led the first half entertainment, and after the march and overture, ‘Beaufighters’ and ‘Ruslan & Lyudmila’ respectively, it was clear that the band was in fine form and intent on enjoying themselves.
Julie Meechan's warm horn sound filled the hall in the reflective, 'In Love for Me', before Ben Thomson, on a bit of banding leave from the Scottish Symphony Orchestra, took to an authoritative opportunity to reprise his BBC Young Brass Soloist Award winning piece, 'Capriccio' by Rodney Newton.
Young baritone player, Sarah Lenton displayed a wonderful warm tone in Paul Lovatt-Cooper's 'Donegal Bay' which led to the full ensemble whipping through the Beatles classic, 'Honey Pie'.
The first half closed with a fine rendition of 'Daphnis et Chloe' that more than whetted the appetite for the following day.
Russell Gray coerced a colourful account from his band with excellent ensemble work and some classy solo interventions, especially from Benjamin Richeton on soprano and the horn duo of Julie Meechan and Mike Eccles.
Fairey's Musical Director, Mark Peacock led the band through the relaxed second half that started off with the Rimmer march, 'The Australasian' and all the favourite tunes from 'Mary Poppins'.
Julie Meechan was once again in fine form in her solo spot as she performed Peter Graham's 'Episode', whilst xylophonist, Yasuaki Fukuhara demonstrated his high speed handy work on 'Taps in Tempo'.
Either side of the solos came neatly worked items from Simon Dobson and Richard Rock, whilst the night closed appropriately enough with Salvation Army repertoire, with William Himes' 'Procession to the Covenant', before the the audience was sent on its way into the murky London rain with a spring in its step courtesy of Ivor Bosanko's 'Marching Onward'.