Having missed most of the rehearsals this term due to commitments elsewhere, I was quite apprehensive attending the last one, the first I had been to which included our soloists. However, as soon as Gabriel Webb brought that beautifully rich sound out of his cello, and Gill conducted us so well, I was hooked.
Come Sunday and the concert. We started with a short rehearsal, then had coffee and a chat while the audience took their seats. Our first piece was an arrangement of Sir Arthur Sullivan’s Gondoliers Suite, which was then followed by Emmanuel Webb playing The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughn Williams. Described by my friends as an assured performance, Emmanuel’s playing was confident and beautiful. He was then followed by his younger brother Gabriel, playing the first two movements of Elgar’s poignant cello concerto – quite stunning. As a cello player myself, I think this may prove to be a high point in my playing time! The orchestra finished with Eric Coates’s Dambusters March, played with real gusto and confidence.
Peter Lefevre gave us a short description of our chosen charity, the Padhar Hospital in India, and I am delighted to report that our wonderful audience donated £400 to this deserving cause. Talking of our audience, this was the first time we have had to put out extra chairs, and had people wandering into the church to listen to the music!
Well done to all the performers! It was particularly wonderful to be able to play music with two young men at the beginning of their careers in music – hopefully they’ll remember us when they’re famous.
Thanks are due to the ladies of the Church of St Mary the Virgin for serving coffee tea and cakes during the afternoon, to the team who look after the church and let us rehearse and play there, to Jonathan Webb for his piano support and he and his wife for lending us their sons! And particular thanks to Gill Booker for conducting us and having the idea in the first place!