Phoenix Brass was joined by the Cromwell Singers at a joint Concert at St Lawrence Church, Hungerford on Mothering Sunday. This was another opportunity to hear the Cromwell Singers Community from Newbury, under Sarah Cope, Musical Director.
The Cromwell Singers are a choir with approximately 60 members that have been performing a wide repertoire since 1976. They have a long tradition of singing a variety of different styles of music, mainly shorter pieces, including medleys of songs from musicals, classical pieces and lighter items.
Extract from an article courtesy of Carolyn Greenwood, following the joint Concert with the Cromwell Singers on Sunday, 31 March 2019
“Resplendent in their band uniforms, and conducted at short notice on this occasion with vigour and considerable humour throughout by Anthony “Tug” Palmer, Phoenix Brass produced a cheery, vibrant start to this fund-raising concert with Leo Stanley’s “The Contemptibles” in strong march tempo and with a good variety of instrumental sounds including some lovely mellow tones. The band was joined by the turquoise-topped Cromwell Singers, for a rousing arrangement by Ray Steadman-Allen of Holst’s “I Vow to Thee My Country” for which participation was invited and readily accepted by the large audience, as was “Jerusalem” at the end of the concert.
Lots of “oompah” and some fruity sounds from Phoenix Brass were appropriately used for an arrangement of Bernaerts’ “Mack the Knife”. A change of mood then provided us with reminders of Pavarotti, in an arrangement of Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma” – football memories at the fore, I suspect!
Owing to the last-minute illness of David Watson, the Musical Director of Phoenix Brass (now happily reported to be making good progress back to health), we were told that the brass contribution to “This Sceptred Isle” by Robin Highcock would be replaced by a piano accompaniment. In the hands of the Cromwell Singers’ regular accompanist, Daphne George, this substitution was courageously and successfully achieved, as we were treated to Haycock’s suite of English, Welsh and Scottish folk songs.
Organiser of the event, Chris Buck, Director of Music at St Lawrence Church, with support from some of her church musicians provided an interval treat of delicious food, before we were drawn back to our seats by Vivian Dunn’s “Cockleshell Heroes”, for more items by Phoenix Brass. Things rapidly took off when “Queen Rules” arranged by Steve Sykes took us into the world of “Bohemian Rhapsody” .
Cromwell Singers then performed a clever arrangement by Mark Brymer from “Wizard of Oz”. This was dramatic, very musical, with brief spoken sections from among the choir, and was thoroughly enjoyed by singers and audience, and deserving of the applause it received.
Cromwell Singers’ Musical Director, Sarah Cope, then explained that, in a departure from their normal scheme of things, women-only part-singing of unaccompanied “Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair”, followed by a men-only unaccompanied version of “Danny Boy” were being trialled. These items worked well, giving us a different aspect of this choir’s versatility.
Congratulations to everyone involved in this successful event, which, together with raffle takings, raised £900 to be distributed between St Lawrence Church Fabric Fund, Cromwell Singers, and Phoenix Brass”.