On a beautiful Summer’s afternoon Ashford Sinfonia gathered for the final concert of the academic year in the lovely Chuch of St Mary the Virgin, Willesborough. The concert started with the March and Waltz from Benjamin Britten’s Matinées Musicales, which were competently presented and without noticeable glitches!
Members of the Sinfonia then gave a series of solos, accompanied by Wes Carroll, and commencing with Helen Venn playing Robert Schumann’s Romance No. 1 for oboe. Technically quite demanding, Helen gave an excellent performance, her swan song before moving on with her husband into retirement in the West.
Helen was followed by Mike Potter, playing Mussorgsky’s Castle from Pictures from an Exhibition on his saxophone. This was a lovely soulful sound in the rather special acoustics of the church. Next up was Lesley Currah, demonstrating the lyrical and amusing qualities of the tuba in Mrs Parkhurst’s Variations on a Temperance Theme. There were many grins round both orchestra and audience during the performance especially when Monte’s Czardas appeared, rather slower than usual!
The last solo was performed by Steph Batchelor, singing “Che Faro Senza Euridice” – more commonly known as “What is life, life without you”. A highly polished performance, sung beautifully, and without recourse to the score.
The orchestra rounded of with four movements from Britten’s Soirées Musicales, again well presented.
Coffee and cake were available throughout the rehearsal and performance, thanks to the team at the church. All in all a successful concert which, if repeated, deserves rather more advertising to attract a bigger audience!