Wednesday, 4 June 2008

A Night of Musical Stars

On Saturday evening I had the pleasure of taking part in a fund-raising concert in aid of the Streetlight Trust, a Christian organisation that works with street-children in Manila, in the Philippines. The evening was billed as, ‘A Night of Musical Stars’, and what I brought to the constellation was as part of a bassoon trio. At the beginning of the concert we didn’t have a name, but by the end, and as a result of a competition, we were named GAS (Geoff and the Shrimptons – Sarah and Chloe). It was either that or Bassooner or Later!

I was at music college with Sarah many years ago, and she’s gone on to become a highly respected composer - see her blog Razzamajazz - as well as a bassoonist. Chloe, her daughter is studying music at University. We played pieces by the not-well-known-composer-unless-you-play-bassoon-trios, Geoffrey Hartley, and we played them well. It was great fun!

But the real star of the show was Philip Achille who, in November 2005, aged 16, became the World Youth Harmonica Champion and the Open Harmonica Champion, at the World Harmonica Festival in Germany. In 2006 he received the Tabor Foundation Award at the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2006 competition. And in 2007 he was a featured soloist during the BBC Proms, playing a concerto with the BBC Concert Orchestra, and he performed at the Royal Variety Performance, in front of the Queen. Philip is a real virtuoso, blending a fluid technique with a gorgeous sound and demonstrating huge musicianship that shines through. His playing was stunning and if you want to listen go to YouTube.

The Secklow Brass gave a rousing and polished performance, Peter Fisher dashed off a number of pieces from the virtuoso violin repertoire, and a choir sang some of Sarah’s most recent compositions, including a beautiful setting of ‘Angel voices ever singing’.

It was a feast of musical entertainment and in the process nearly £7,000 was raised, including matching by sponsors Abbey National. Well done to Chris for arranging it all, and doing a fantastic job of compering it.

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