A MUSICAL COCKTAIL - Ladybrook Singers with guests Flute Salad
Ladybrook Singers made a welcome return to Buxton Festival Fringe at the Methodist Church on Saturday night with 'A Musical Cocktail'. An appropriate title if you take my dictionary definition of cocktail 'any combination of diverse elements'. As with any cocktail cabinet you have stock ingredients so you do with a concert. Here we had an experienced choir with a guest instrumental ensemble with the added dash of a solo performance.
Of course you need good quality ingredients for any recipe and tonight's performers certainly met the mark.
The concert started with a setting by Ladybrook's Musical Director, Alison Bletcher of 'Everyone Sang' by First World War poet, Siegfried Sassoon. The fanfare like interpretation was very fitting for the context of the words and an excellent choice to open a concert with singing at its heart.
Ladybrook Singers first group showed their dedication to text, continuing with pieces sung in their original language. There was a particular warmth of tone in Schubert's 'Du bist die Ruh' contrasting with the brightness of the Italian vowel sounds in 'Nella Fantasia'.
Special mention must also be made of Robert Latham's arrangement of 'Soldier, Soldier' showing how well the choir rehearses challenging pieces for adjudication in competition. Other numbers offered opportunities for choir members to sing solo phrases, competently met by Elaine Astley, Annette Crowe, Diane Martyn and Karen Bailey.
'Flute Salad' is a talented group of talented young musicians who are pupils from The Music Studio in New Mills directed by the Principle, Carolyn Hawkins. They performed twice in the evening and their choice of familiar melodies brought smiles of recognition from the audience, along with appreciation of versatile arrangements which included some with piano accompaniment and use of bass flute and piccolo.
Tom Galligan first appeared as flute soloist in a choral arrangement and later we were given another opportunity to hear his beautiful flowing tone in 'Hypnosis' by player composer Ian Clarke. As Tom introduced this we were made aware that instrumentalists recognise the perception of a composer who plays the instrument.
Alison demonstrated her skill as a choral director by holding the attention of the choir throughout the evening and giving gestures to encourage the singers to use appropriate singing techniques. She showed how she is immersed in the upper voice choral tradition with her choice of repertoire and accomplished arrangements. We also had insight to her talent as an instrumentalist by playing the delightful 'Fish and Chips' from Alan Bullard's 'Recipes' on recorder.
This was a concert that had the true flavour of Buxton Festival Fringe - a return visit from an experienced group enjoying the Festival atmosphere in the company of up and coming performers, both using the opportunity to showcase their versatility in new and established material.
Actual Review on Buxton Fringe Website