Bilton Silver returned to St Andrew’s Church, Rugby, on Saturday 19th October 2013, following a successful first visit in 2012, this year bringing with them a guest soloist. Kirsty Abbotts is the Principal Cornet of Carlton Main Frickley Colliery band, and a highly respected player at the highest levels in the brass band world. To say the band was proud and excited to have her join us is somewhat of an understatement!
The band started with a sterling performance of the march Washington Grays. This was a rock solid performance which set us on our way to an excellent first half, with pieces including Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio; Frolic for Trombones, featuring our trombone section, Laura Moran, Sam Howarth and Greg Little; and The Bridge on the River Kwai, complete with whistled opening. The band’s rendition of Penny Lane featured the famous trumpet riff, which was played brilliantly by Al Rowe, not on piccolo trumpet, but on soprano cornet. During the first half, Kirsty played two solos; the moving Someone Cares, and Hailstorm. Both were played superbly, Someone Cares demonstrating Kirsty’s superb tone and pure control of the instrument, and Hailstorm showing off her technical prowess.
The second half began with an overture – the Opening Scene from Swan Lake. We continued a Russian theme with Shostakovich’s Waltz no.2 from Jazz Suite no.2.Kirsty joined us again to play two more solos, firstly Meditation from Thaïs, again just sublime playing, and finally Del Staigers’ arrangement of the Carnival of Venice, which is a particularly challenging Air Varie. Kirsty’s technique shone through in what can only be described as a perfect performance. The only difficulty we had with the solos was making sure that the band accompanying her concentrated on their parts, and did not get distracted listening to the soloist! Principal cornet Sheila Allen joined Kirsty in a duet, playing Ave Verum from Karl Jenkins’ Stabat Mater. This was superbly played by both, and it can’t go without mention that this was the first occasion for some time that Sheila was able to stand up to play in front of the band – we all hope her recovery continues as it clearly is doing.
The concert ended with the Salvation Army big band style “Light Walk”, before we conceded to audience demand for an encore – the ever-popular Can-Can, bringing to an end an excellent and varied programme, formulated with the usual forethought and consideration by our Musical Director, Mark Allen.
Neil Kelsall – Principal Euphonium