Colne Orchestral Society Spring Concert - Review

Colne Orchestra's oldest player, David Mercer, with Linda Middleton (Left) and Justine Leedam as they prepared for Sunday's successful 1940's themed concert.'David, who served with the RAF during the Second World War, was back in uniform as the orchestra got 'In The Mood' with costumes from the era.

Colne Orchestra's oldest player, David Mercer, with Linda Middleton (Left) and Justine Leedam as they prepared for Sunday's successful 1940's themed concert.'David, who served with the RAF during the Second World War, was back in uniform as the orchestra got 'In The Mood' with costumes from the era.

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Colne Orchestral Society’s Spring Concert really was something different.

On the Colne Muni stage, the guest outfit on the night was the Swing City Big Band.

Close by on the Muni floor was Colne Orchestra and then, adjacent, the cabaret-style audience sitting at small tables with drinks.

Finally, at the back of the hall, space for dancing during the performance and a normal audience upstairs.

Music and dress code focused mainly on the pre- to post-Second World War era. Forces’ uniforms abounded, together with “civvy” outfits of those times. One woman saxophonist sported a classic Forties rolled hair-do. These were the tense years when I was growing up so for me the setting and the music oozed nostalgia.

The Swing City musicians with classic big band format have honed their Glenn Miller soundalike delivery to a fine art and gave us 10 of the best from “String of Pearls” through “Little Brown Jug” to “In The Mood” and sported a full-voiced vocalist for three items. They were enthusiastically received. They will go far!

Regular Colne Orchestra conductor Judith David was unavailable due to illness and we wish her well. Loyal long-service orchestra member Patricia Brierley ably took up the baton at short notice and the COS wooed us with “Calling All Workers” which used to introduce “Music while you Work” followed by the morse code dot-dot-dot-dash opening to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

Then came “The Devil’s Gallop”, the frenetic signature tune to 15 minutes of tense radio action on weekdays, leaving Dick Barton and his sidekicks Jock and Snowy in yet another fix at one minute to seven each night.

“Coronation Scot”, the morish musical take-off of an accelerating steam train, brought back memories of radio sleuth Paul Temple and his wife Steve.

An “Annie Get Your Gun” selection, “The Masquerade Waltz”, “Jamaican Rumba” and the elegant sounds of Elgar’s unforgettable “Nimrod” and Walton’s 1936 coronation music “Crown Imperial” brought us to the rousing “Dambusters’ March” finale.

Veteran orchestra clarinetist David Mercer - sporting an RAF uniform - raised and waggled his arms mimicking the legendary Lancaster bomber, to be followed spontaneously by a plethora of Lancasters throughout the audience; a rousing climax to a memorable evening. David served with the RAF during the Second World War so he was back in uniform!