Audience left amazed after inspiring and emotional concert

A Brighouse Celebration of Music at Central Methodist Church, Brighouse
A Brighouse Celebration of Music at Central Methodist Church, Brighouse

The eagerly anticipated “Brighouse Celebration of Music” took place last Saturday night at the Central Methodist church and certainly lived up to its name.

The audience were in for a real treat with a concert that was organised by Steven Lord and John Buxton of the Brighouse Business Initiative, as part of their ongoing drive to bring evening entertainment to Brighouse.

It featured the James Shepherd Versatile Brass with singers Alla Shumova, Rachel Harrison and Paul Holroyd.

The opening number of “Strike up the Band,” skilfully performed by James Shepherd and the Versatile brass set the tone of the show. Their conductor, Martyn Evans introduced items performed by the band, the second of which was “The Flying Scot” by Gregor J Grant.

This Cornet solo was played by Rob Westacott.

Having done justice to “The Flying Scot,” Rob went on to start “Mr. Lear’s Carnival of Venice” but much to the delight of the audience the solo part was quickly snatched away by other members of the band.

The tune was superbly played individually by whole of the brass instrumentalists with a sprinkling of obviously wrong notes adding amusement to the piece. Fun and pleasure abounded around the hall and “The Carnival” was much appreciated judging by the audience reaction.

The next part of the concert was more serious with The “Flower duet” (Lakme) by Delibes, sung by Ratchel Harrison (Soprano) and Alla Shumova (Soprano). Paul Holroyd (Tenor) sang “E Lucevan le Stelle” (Tosca) by Puccini. The ladies then sang solos by Bizet and Donizetti before Paul joined them with a musical themed section which included “Bring him home”, “Nella Fantastia”, “Danny Boy” and “I’ve got Rhythm”.

The first part concluded with the Cello concerto by Haydn. This special arrangement by N. Lawless was played by Helen Varley on the solo horn. Helen, a Bradford born player, was originally taught by James Shepherd and has recently also been playing with the iconic group as well as Black Dyke. Her mastery of the instrument brought the first half of the concert to a climatic close from a very receptive audience.

The second half of the concert began with the Versatile Brass in a solemn mood as the band walked on to a “dirge” as though at a funeral, then bursting into “Just a Closer Walk,” much to the surprise of the patrons returning from the interval. This was followed by a rousing. “Favourite Things” from “The Sound of Music” and then “Birdland” by J. Zawinni .

A wonderful programme of popular pieces from opera that most people know and adore was then performed as the soloists returned to sing Mon Coeur S’ouvre à ta voix (Samson and Delilah) by Saint-Saëns; “La ci darem la mano” (Don Giovanni) by Mozart and “Brindisi” (La Traviata) by Verdi. Alla,

Rachel and Paul were ably accompanied on the keyboard by Chris Pulleyn, whose, mastery of the instrument, added depth and feeling to the performance.

The inspiring and emotional finale brought all the musicians together. Rachel opened with “Let the Bright Seraphin” from Samson and Delilah by Handel, with trumpet soloist, Rob Westacott. This was followed by “Dark Eyes” sung by Alla and Paul. To conclude in grand style, all three soloists performed a selection from Les Miserables, specially arranged for them by Kevin Holdgate.

The concert came to a rousing climax with “Do you hear the people sing” followed by a rapturous applause from a delighted audience that left the building filled with emotion.

For more entertainment organised by Steven Lord and John Buxton, the cinema at the Civic Hall will show the Grand Budapest Hotel on Thursday, December 4 and Frozen sing-a-long on Sunday, December 7 at 5.30pm.