A MULTI-TALENTED musical salute to the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations attracted a very large audience to the Hall for Cornwall on Saturday (June 2). The variety and quality made a joyous curtain-raiser to the weekend of events throughout the county.
Compered by Bruce Taylor of Miller Countrywide, the sweep of popular entertainment, smartly presented, was combined with a high level of performance, from Cornish favourites to show hits.
And who better to form the centrepiece and link than Alastair Taylor, in brilliant vocal and keyboard form.
He maintained the vigour and dynamic of this charity tour-de-force with personal highlights that ranged from concerto themes and ragtime to Gershwin to the emotional finale ‘This is the Moment’ and with his accompaniment of many of the guests.
Everyone gave of their best and who better to fill the stage than over 100 voices of the combined forces of two of Cornwall’s leading male voice choirs, Four Lanes under conductor Michael Uren and Mousehole with Stephen Lawry. With lyric singing in the traditional ‘The Old Woman’ and ‘The Night has a Thousand Eyes’ they also swept to power and resonance with the exciting ‘Christus Salvator’ and ‘Deus Salutis’.
The audiences loved this massed male singing, especially in the great anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. There is great potential here for future concerts with a wider repertoire.
The crowd also took two youngsters to their hearts and hands, brothers Matthew and Charles Secombe – and little wonder as they are the grandsons of the late great national jester and tenor Sir Harry - whose timing and flair in their duets ‘Together Wherever we Go’ and ‘Anything you can Do’ were a delight.
Another young man to watch and admire was pianist Jack Callow who must have a fine professional musical career ahead. His composition ‘Prologue’ and his combined work with Alastair brought waves of applause and pleasure.
Two well-established singers, Syd Mitchell and David Rashleigh, filled the auditorium with their excellent duets. Accomplished and admirable, their high-spot came with their polished ‘Without a Song’. And the splendid voice of tenor soloist Ben Hoadley also charmed, particularly with his ‘O Sole Mio’ and his touches of humour.
Add to this a selection of Cornish songs that the audience joined in, led by Alastair, and their singing of ‘God Save the Queen’ to open and ‘Trelawny’ to conclude, it is not difficult to recall the enthusiasm that swept the hall.
This was the eighth Miller Countrywide concert and the compere revealed that in recent years over £16,000 had been raised for charity. Ahead lies the return visit of Black Dyke Band, the European champions, at HfC on Saturday 29 September – and already a sell-out can almost be assured.