On Friday 4th October, Regent Brass and Regent Community Brass hosted their regular Autumn concert on their home turf, at the Church of the Ascension in Wembley. On this particular occasion, the band were joined by soprano Tracy King, cellist Dani Teo and accompanist Li Lin Teo.
Regent Community Brass opened the concert with the iconic “Dambusters March” by Eric Coates which was then followed by principal cornet Gillian Park’s beautiful rendition of “Pastorale” by Goff Richards. After a quick whip through Alan Fernie’s “Abba Goes Brass”, Tracy King took the stage with wonderful performances of “I could have danced all night” from My Fair Lady and the aria “Un bel di (One beautiful day)” from Puccini’s opera, “Madame Butterfly”. RCB then gave a very moving account of “Penlee” by Simon Dobson, a highly evocative work written to portray the 1981 Penlee lifeboat disaster, which was particularly effective in the wonderful acoustic of the church and was very well received by the audience. To round off the first half with a bang, they concluded with “I Got Rhythm” by George Gershwin.
The second half then opened with Regent Brass taking the stage with a demanding programme which opened with the Introduction to Act 3 from “Lohengrin” by Richard Wagner and the Hebrew Slaves Chorus from “Nabucco” by Guiseppe Verdi – two composers who celebrate their bicentenary this year. The band’s principal euphonium player John Gafney showed his wonderful ability to mix technique and lyricism with a fine rendition of Philip Sparke’s “Pantomime”, originally written for the virtuoso player Nicholas Childs. Dani Teo then took to the stage with two fine performances of Schubert’s “Serenade” and the final movement of the Dvorak “Cello Concerto”, very ably accompanied by Li Lin Teo. Regent then returned to give a vibrant preview of Edward Gregson’s “Of Distant Memories”, the test-piece for their National Finals appearance in the Albert Hall on 12th October, which received a prolonged and enthusiastic applause from the audience. Finally, to round off a wonderful evening of music making, the band performed the rousing “Pomp and Circumstance March No 1” by Edward Elgar (with some fine singing from Tracy) closely followed by the encore “Get Happy” from the pen of Harold Arlen.
The large audience certainly enjoyed the wide variety of music on show and this really highlighted the range of local talent in the London Borough of Brent.