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Reviews

Brass shines and voices sparkle in firmament

Knox Church
21 August 2016

St Kilda Brass Band under the direction of Peter Adams, performed an exciting array of brass arrangements and contemporary compositions before a medium capacity audience in Knox Church yesterday afternoon.

The band shared the stage with St Hilda’s Madrigal Choir and soprano Sophie Morris. Knox’s acoustics seem to mellow the sound of all performers except when Morris brought out the microphone.

In a programme titled "Among the Stars", all groups are celebrated for the stars among them and best wishes for the competitions ahead. In an afternoon replete with highlights, sadly only the super novas get a mention here.

Arrangements of orchestral works for brass can present many extreme technical challenges.

But St Kilda Brass is admirably up to the challenge, if not equal to it.

The blurred moments in Roberts’ fiendishly difficult arrangements of Holst’s Mars and Jupiter are almost forgiven.

The band and its soloists fully redeemed themselves, however, with enchanting performances of Peter Graham’s swirling and sparkling Shine as the Light, and Cooper-Lovatt’s lilting Enter the Galaxies.

The items chosen by St Hilda’s Madrigal Choir, under the direction of Michael Grant, highlighted their soulful well-modulated sound for Anthony Ritchie’s He Moemoea, Britten’s Balulalow and Jenkins’ Adiemus.

They showed rhythmic energy in Banja’s Traditional Serbian Folk Song, though it could be improved with more slide than that encompassed by a Church of England sound.

Sophie Morris’ performances just keep on getting better.

She now has an impressive voice range and stylistic range, going effortlessly from the belle canto required in Dvorak’s Rusalka’s Song to the Moon and Puccini’s O mio babbino caro to Bernstein’s soaring Somewhere, Webber’s guttural Memory and Kander and Ebb’s raunchy All That Jazz.

Morris is definitely the ascendant star.

Final accolades go to the band’s performance of Barry Gott’s lightly exuberant and sweetly fluffy Lightwalk.

Marian Poole
Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (August 22, 2016)

Virtuoso in the school hall absolute treat

Kavanagh Auditorium
23 May 2015

There was prolonged applause and a standing ovation from the capacity audience in Kavanagh College Auditorium at Saturday evening's concert by St Kilda Brass (conductor Peter Adams) and its magnificent guest, internation tenor Simon O'Neill.

Now considered by many to be the best Heldenenor of our time, O'Neill began studying voice at the University of Otago in 1990, when he also played in St Kilda Brass, so this was an occasion to return for a concert night out with his old band.

The band opened strongly with La Forza del Destino Overture, then O'Neill gave a taste of what was to come with Pucini's aria Che Gelida Manina.

Informal chat and introductions to items endeared him to his audience, and no doubt also helped relax John McAdam (baritone horn), who stepped out front to provide solo companion passages for another popular Italian aria, Una Furtiva Lagrima.

Four great Wagner arias followed. Winterstrume, from Die Walkure, and Brunhilde! Helige Braut! were accompanied with brass band arrangements by Adams, generally matching the intensely powerful drama of the texts.

Big brass fanfares and speeding scalic cornets launched the second half of the concert in a thrilling arrangement of Festive Overture, by Shostakovich.

The remainder of the programme featured O'Neill with popular songs such as Panis Angelicus, Maria from West Side Story, and Danny Boy.

O'Neill in his original red jacket and cap, delighted with a solo baritone horn spot as the band rocked out I Got Rhythm. But the surpreme highlight came with Puccini's Nessum dorma - not once, but twice for the enthralled audience.

What an unbelievable and absolute treat to hear O'Neill singing in a local school auditorium with the same drama and passion he would accord performances in the world's greatest opera venues.

Elizabeth Bouman
Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (May 25, 2015)

Knox Church
27 February 2015

St Kilda Brass and Da Capo Vocal Consort collaboration set the tone for the second New Zealand International Early Music Festival.

The concert, performed to an audience of modest size, opened with David Burchell's crisp and articulate rendering of Gabrieli's Intonazione on the church organ. Thereafter, Cantate Domino for voices and brass conveyed the jubilant Psalm 96 with control and poise. The accompanying brass quartet backed the singers sensitively.

Gabrieli's two ensuing canzoni for brass showed keen understanding of the Venetian style, punctuated by moments of insecurity peppering the otherwise crisp texture.

Morenzio's Caro dolce showed fine expertise from the voices; Chiaro segno amor displayed the skilled singers growing in conviction, delivering a thoroughly captivating "morte" cadence towards the close of this poignant madrigal. Susato's three ensuing Renaissance Dances for brass were preceded by splendid, jocular anecdotes regarding the Renaissance delivered by conductor Errol Moore.

Gesualdo's exquisitely preformed madrigal Baci soave e cari displayed the hallmarks characterising the anguished harmonies of Gesualdo's vocal writing, conveying the sadness which surrounded his curious personal life.

The subsequent brass works by Gabrieli and Palestrina displayed real grandeur; through their seamless composure, they became quite transporting, achieving halcyon visions of distant Venice. The introduction of the organ, in combination with the brass, made for a refreshing blend of timbres. Moving to Monteverdi, Da Capo's singing of Anima mia was spendid, its composition startling with its tonal shift; the performance was delivered with sublime proficiency.

The concert concluded in a similar vein to its opening, with great embellishment on the organ. Thereafter, Gabrieli's Hodie complete sunt, in celebration of Pentecost, experimented admirably with antiphonal placement of musicians and concluded a largely captivating performance

George Chittenden
Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (March 2, 2015)

Concert testament to band's success

Mayfair Theatre
23 August 2014
Conductor: Steve Miles
Guests: Kelly Hocking (vocalist) and Barry Kloogh

St Kilda Brass was in good form on Saturday evening, under guidance from conductor Steve Miles, who is about to tour overseas in the New Zealand Brass Band. There are some very talented musicians in St Kilda Brass, as their recent success as Band of the Year at the national brass band champs confirms.

A rousing Summon the Heroes, written for the Atlanta Olympics and Glinka’s overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla opened, setting the standard in a venue with great line of vision for the audience. It was fascinating to follow sectional passages, as instrumental textures were layered and melded to produce varieties in timbre. Particularly busy were the four ladies of the percussion section, where even a couple of “ting-tings” proved vital punctuation.

Alloway Tales, a varied arrangement (Graham) of three of Robbie Burns’ songs, was accompanied by a strong, sometimes rap-like Scottish narrative from Barry Kloogh and fine pastoral soundscape for Flow Gently Sweet Afton was particularly effective.

The programme’s theme of “Myths, Legends and Fairy Tales” gave the opportunity to present popular music from theatre and movie soundtracks, such as Hedwig’s Theme and a fun medley with at least 10 Disney tunes. Singer Kelly Hocking (with well-balanced amplification) was a perfect vocal addition to numbers such as In My Own Little Corner, Let it Go from Frozen and, after an exhilarating instrumental arrangement of Lord of the Rings themes, her passionate delivery of Into the West.

Prayerful dedication with specific remembrance to past bandsmen came with emotional mellow-toned Deep Harmony, then three breath-taking solos in Cossack Fire Dance, before the programme ended with a powerful rendition of Mussorgsky’s Great Gate of Kiev.

Overall, an excellent concert, not too loud in the venue, and which deserved far greater public support.

Elizabeth Bouman
Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (August 25, 2014)

Band restores faith after shaky start

King's and Queen's Performing Arts Centre
11 May 2014
Conductor: Errol Moore
Guests: Steve Miles (Euphonium), Georgia Gray and Matthew Wilson

SUMMON the Dragon and Land of the Mountain and the Flood opened this first concert in a comparatively unpolished manner after seven months of silence from St Kilda Brass under the leadership of Errol Moore.

However, having got the technical difficulties posed by these first two items out of the way, the band returned to the strengths for which is is known and revered.

Believe Me if all those Endearing Young Charms, Skye Boat Song and David of the White Rock did retore faith in the band's technical accomplishment and its charms. Guest performers also lifted the event. Accomplished euphonium soloist and former leader for the band, Steve Miles, explored his instrument's wide range of high and low notes, its sonorous excellence and an exhilarating array of fast trills and runs.

Brillante: Fantasy on Rule Britannia is a particularly good vehicle for a performer of Miles' truly virtuosic ability.

Guest singers Georgia Gray and Matthew Wilson both have excellent voices and strong control throughout their ranges. Their choices of costumes were nicely in keeping with the wartime era.

However, Gray did not need to use a microphone and her otherwise finely managed performance suffered as a result of being painfully loud.

Band soloists Jessica Schweizer on flugel and Rowena Howard on cornet are to be commended. Special note goes to Ella Cox, whose stories of wartime events were tellingly simple.

The second half of the programme commemorated World War 1 with well-known tunes Colonel Bogey March, Nightfall in Camp and Medley: Oh What a Lovely War, Daddy, Soldier Daddy and Pack up Your Troubles. The band chose the brilliant red and gold braided military uniform of the time.

An encore item of the sweetly romantic Myfanwy rewarded the grateful audience.

Marian Poole
Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (May 12, 2014)

Conviviality of evening with band and company

King's and Queen's Performing Arts Centre
12 October 2013
Conductor: Nigel Weeks
Guests: Jane Craigie-Read, Darrel Read

A disappointingly small audience heard the well-rounded and well-reputed St Kilda Brass band perform on Saturday at the King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre.

Their sound is tight and bright, rich and mellow; their repertoire includes a variety of classic popular work interspersed with familial banter and jokes from guest conductor Nigel Weeks. The audience joined in the repartee and a spirited sing-along of Jerusalem.

Highlights of the evening include the Slavische Fantasy with solo cornet played by Megan Gooding with great fluidity and control; the medley An American Tale and And the Band Played On, which both highlighted a capricious sense of fun; extra special mention must go to the full-bodied section of Amazing Grace, which went straight to the heart, and to the concluding item for the evening Dundonnell from Hymn of the Highlands, with soloists Erynne and Georgia Scherf and John McAdam on horn, flugel and baritone respectively, which brought a tear to my Irish eyes.

The charm and presentation achieved by solo singers Jane Craigie-Read and Darrel Read won audience approval. Their duet Something Stupid was presented with naïve honesty. Craigie-Read has a sweet, strong voice and Read’s solos, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, the Welsh national anthem, and Anthem from Chess showed off his strong voice and pitch control. Both singers will gain from further stage experience. Matthew Toomata’s direction of their pieces shows promise and likewise will improve with experience.

Less convincing was the arrangement of Sibelius’ Finlandia and Edward German’s March Paraphrase: Men of Harlech performed by the band under Weeks. Both started exceptionally well but seemed to get lost along the way.

All in all this was an enjoyable evening, its conviviality due equally to Weeks as compere and conductor and to the music.

Marian Poole
Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (October 14, 2013)

Brassed Off - Brassed Onwards

King's and Queen's Performing Arts Centre
24 August 2013
Conductor: Karen Knudson
Guests: Calla Knudson-Hollebon (soprano), Joel Amosa (bass-baritone) and Justin Muschamp (soprano cornet)

St Kilda Brass has presented themed concerts in King's and Queen's Performing Arts Auditorium over recent years.

Its latest attracted a good-sized audience on Saturday evening for a programme entitled "Brassed Off - Brassed Onwards". The 1996 film Brassed Off featured a colliery brass band and a national band competition, and a number of Saturday's items featured in that movie.

Local musician and choral conductor Karen Knudson made her debut as conductor of a brass band, and her daughter, Calla Knudson-Hollebon, was guest soprano soloist, along with bass-baritone Joel Amosa.

Compere for the evening was Peter Stockwell, who introduced each item with historical trivia.

Some brass band test pieces from last century provided a challenge, and seated to one side of Row B, I was more aware of rough edges and blend not always heard with the best of balance, but there were some impressive passages along the way in numbers such as Flowerdale (Sparke), and The Three Musketeers (Hespe).

Amosa's I Got Plenty of Nuttin' (Gershwin) and a Toomata arrangement of The Trumpet Shall Sound (Handel) with Invercargill guest, New Zealand soprano cornet champion Justin Muschamp, were highlights.

Knudson-Hollebon (17) gave a credible and professional performance of numbers such as Londonderry and O For the Wings of a Dove, although at times despite subtle amplification, the 26-piece brass band overshadowed some of the beautiful lyrical quality of this emerging soprano.

An arrangement for brass of Mussorgsky's Night on the Bare Mountain ended with one long bar of the most beautiful sound of the entire evening - three muted cornets in harmony, and William Tell Overture at a fast tempo literally became a breathtaking finish to an enjoyable recital.

Elizabeth Bouman

Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (August 27, 2013)

Venice to Vaughan Williams

St Paul's Cathedral, Dunedin
11 May 2013
Conductor: Robert Craigie and George Chittenden
Guests: St Paul's Cathedral Choir

Traditionally, brass bands are expected to march along playing in street parades, or performing in a rotunda in the park, but times have changed and on Saturday evening, Dunedin's St Kilda Brass explored new territory by playing in a cathedral, when it joined with St Paul's Cathedral Choir.

St Paul's proved an excellent venue, and the judicious choice of repertoire resulted in no unwanted reverb or mixed harmonics, and along with a reasonable sized audience I really enjoyed the combined recital.

The choir, conducted by George Chittenden, opened with a strong performance of Jubilate Deo, by Gabrielli, an organist in Venice in Baroque times, demonstrating contrapuntal choral at its very best, with good balance and true tonality.

A drummer and brass quartet accorded Funeral Music for Queen Mary (Purcell) a processional entrance with appropriate formality, and Vivaldi's Winter achieved a sustained and suitably chilly mood, with fine solo work by Erynne Scherf (Tenor Horn).

Beautiful tone from the 28-piece band interpreted a brass arrangement of Elgar's famous Nimrod with passion, and impressive crescendos soaring magnificently, with no blurring or loss of purity in the vastness of the cathedral acoustics.

Other repertoire was Light of the World (Elgar), O Clap Your Hands (Vaughan Williams), the popular royal wedding march Crown Imperial (Walton) and Parry's I Was Glad which generated a big sound from the combined groups, with a joyous air of pomp and circumstance under the direction of young conductor Robert Craigie.

The concert ended with All people that on earth do dwell with audience participation and two band and choir-only verses of creative harmony and cornet obligato.

Bruce Aitken introduced items with interesting historical tidbits such as royal performances, and Alan Edwards added organ accompaniment to several items.

Elizabeth Bouman

Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (May 13, 2013)

Saints and the Diva

Kings and Queens Performing Arts Centre
27 October 2012
Conductor: Peter Adams
Guests: Anna Leese(soprano)

World-class acts merited ovation

Two world-class acts presenting a variety of world-class popular items were given a standing ovation by an enraptured full house at the King's and Queen's Performance Centre on Saturday night.

Admittedly, the night belonged to Leese's magnificent voice showcased through such popular opera arias as Dvorak's Rusalka's Song to the Moon, Puccini's Mio babbino caro and Gerswhin's Summertime, Jenkins' Benedictus from Armed Man Mass and other folk music from the perennial Londonderry Air and Whelan's Riverdance.

Sadly, Leese's performance of Benedictus seemed unrehearsed and her delivery of the lower notes in Londonderry Air lacked the power to reach over the St Kilda Brass Band. Otherwise her stage presentation couples a natural friendliness with her professional prowess.

The St Kilda Brass Band is equally A grade and seemed no to put a foot wrong throughout the evening. Their leader, Peter Adams, was resplendent in his Chinese jacket recently acquired as a result of their success at the Chinese competitions.

Their sound is professional, precise and warm and successfully achieved over a wide range of music. Shostakovich's Festive Overture opened an evening of highly enjoyable music, immediately supported by Henry VIII's Pastime in Good Company. Gershwin's Puttin' on the Ritz and I Got Rhythm lifted the tempo and had the audience rocking. The band's presentation of Richard Phillips' Joy, Peace and Happiness engaged the audience.

Errol Moore's solo on euphonium of Bernstein's Somewhere was underwhelming while Megan Gooding's solo in Shine as the Light endorsed the evening's highlight. More soulful numbers included Oh Shenandoah and the Beatles' Here, There and Everywhere.

The final number, Whelan's Riverdance, had the audience stamping and cheering for more while the Irish Blessing sung by Leese sent the audience away happy. Nice!

Marian Poole

Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (October 29, 2012)

Aotearoa - an industrial journey

Kings and Queens Performing Arts Centre
1 September 2012
Conductor: Errol Moore
Guests: Deborah Wai Kapohe (soprano) and RASA School of Dance

Visual interest enhances fine show

St Kilda Brass, conducted by Errol Moore, presented another concert in their 2012 series on Saturday night in the King's and Queen's Performing Arts Centre.

A reasonable-sized audience enjoyed the programme, titled "Aotearoa – an industrial journey", which was an eclectic mix of band music and arrangements within the overall theme.

"Overall" actually described the band uniform for the second half, when the musicians endorsed the programme title by dressing in work-men's attire.

One of the best items of the evening was the opening number, Dam Busters, performed against a projected backdrop of Spitfires, a "busted dam" and historical archive news clips of Winston Churchill.

Another highlight was Pie Jesu (Webber) with soloists soprano Debbie Wai Kapohe and Rosie Evans (flugel horn).

Wai Kapohe also performed with other band items - A te Tarahiki, Hine e Hine and a spicy delivery of a Miles arrangement of All That Jazz, which showcased the versatility of this New Zealand singer.

Another quest was a large group of energetic dancers from Rasa School of Dance (Lisa Wilkinson), which visually enhanced several band numbers. The Enchanted Dance Hall (Ken Young) was particularly suited to their interpretive dance movement.

It was good to look back over historic footage of TSS Earnslaw and Lake Wakatipu, accompanied by the familiar strains of Ron Goodwin's Earnslaw Theme (1983).

Haast Highway included poetry (narrated by Gladys Hope) and was performed against a backdrop of Haast archive footage.

The recital was presented in an enjoyable and relaxed atmosphere, with good musicianship, and appropriate visual additions and props.

Elizabeth Bouman

Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (September 03, 2012)

Simply the Best

Kings and Queens Performing Arts Centre
12 May 2012
Conductor: Howard Taylor
Guests: John Lewis (cornet) and Riki McDonnell (euphonium)

A disappointingly small, but very appreciative, audience enjoyed some top brass on Saturday evening in the Kings and Queens Performing Arts Centre.

Brisbane-based conductor Howard Taylor conducted an excellent programme by St Kilda Brass and compered the evening like a seasoned TV show host (I won't mention the corny jokes).

The programme was titled "Simply the Best" and Taylor was quick to point out that the two guest soloists were indeed simply the best

And John Lewis (on cornet) and Riki McDonnell (on euphonium) certainly were, both performing solo work in the style that has won them a great many international titles and championships.

The band was in top form too, opening with a rousing Fanfare and Flourishes and working through 20 numbers of classical, rock, jazz and traditional to end with an absolutely sublime rendition of Pokarekare.

There were many highlights. The passionate tight blend and balance of The Irish Blessing, the speed and clarity of Lewis' Napoli variations, the incredible virtuosity of McDonnell's Carnival Cocktail (Sykes) and the beautiful duo arrangement of Hallelujah (Cohen) played by Lewis with Nathan Tane on electric guitar held the audience spellbound. Big numbers such as Swing When You're Winning, Disney Fantasy, Georgia on My Mind and Innuendo were full of energy and character, and Bach's Toccata in D Minor featuring Robert Craigie on xylophone, brought this well-known work out of the Baroque age.

A programme such as this makes one realise just how far brass bands, with their sophisticated repertoire, have evolved from the limitations of common-time street-march repertoire.

Elizabeth Bouman

Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (May 14, 2012)

Brass and Voices

Kings and Queens Performing Arts Centre
29 October 2011
Conductor: Peter Adams
Guests: Otago Boys' and Girls' Choirs

St Kilda Brass presented its final 2011 concert on Saturday evening at the Kings and Queens Performing Arts Centre.

Peter Adams conducted and Otago Girls' High School and Otago Boys' High School choirs (musical director Karen Knudson) were guest performers.

Liberty Fanfare made a very impressive opening number. With its great range of dynamic contrast and forward drive creating a feeling of "something exciting is about to happen".

John Williams (arr. Philip Sparke) has composed the ideal brass recital overture. This band produces tight, mellow, unified tone and there were many moments of beautiful resonance throughout its programme, plus colourful music to challenge four busy percussionists. In addition, a considerable number of players have achieved championship status in national competitions, and works were chosen to highlight this.

Rosie Evans (flugal horn) soloed in a brass arrangement of Rodrigo's Concerto du Arunjuez, originally for classical guitar, Erynne Scherf (tenor horn open grade champ) showed her winning style in Goff Richards' arrangement of Over the Rainbow, and principal cornet Katie Blair created seamless legato phrasing in Pastorale, a more lyrical work by Richards.

John McAdam (baritone horn) also featured impressively as a soloist. Richards' Armenian Fire Dance was an absolute highlight, proving champs in the ranks make the difference. Vibrancy with thrilling clarity never failed as tempo accelerated to a brilliant climactic ending.

Choir performances were disappointingly under par, no doubt due to the absence of many members, but 10 OBHS singers showed it is "cool for guys to sing", performing their bracket with the zealous attitude and teamwork of any 1st XV, displaying vocal skills which earned a placing in Big Sing's national finals.

Elizabeth Bouman

Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (October 31, 2011)

A Night at the Opera 2

Mayfair Theatre
28 May 2011
Conductor: Dave Burchell
Guests: Emma Fraser, Jason Balla

Night of opera hits leaves audience keen for more

A near capacity house did not really want their Night at the Opera at the Mayfair to come to an end.

The programme of well-known hits from operas was presented by the St Kilda Brass Band and guest soloists soprano Emma Fraser and tenor Jason Balla and directed by David Burchell. All performed very well.

The band is in top shape, executing both exquisitely soft passages and full-bodied blasts with apparent ease. Burchell directed them, it seemed as if they were an orchestra with strings attached, with surprisingly good effect.

Emma Fraser is also in fine form. Her voice matures well and she has always had a great dramatic presence. Balla is also an accomplished singer, though not quite as at home as Fraser. Their duets were especially convincing.

All items were performed exceptionally well, and the arrangers of orchestral works for brass all did a creditable job. Though the balance between brass and voice was consistently good, audibility of the singers over the brass at full volume was greatly assisted by microphones.

Notable items included "Bei Maennern" (The Magic Flute), in which the soloists' voices blended beautifully; "O mio babbino caro" (Gianni Schicchi); "Seguidilla" (Carmen); "Overture: Il Barbiere di Siviglia" (The Barber of Seville); "Granada" (Fantasia Espanola); "Pilgrim Chorus" (Tannhauser); "Summertime" (Porgy and Bess); and "Song to the Moon" (Rusalka).

Sadly, "Younger than Springtime" (South Pacific) just slipped below the standard of the others. It deserves to have more time spent on the play with words - there being so few of them.

However, two items deserve to be singled out for all the right reasons. "Overture: Candide" is a wonderful romp through several time changes and other disjointed rhythms. It was performed with excellence.

The final item, "All I Ask of You" (The Phantom of the Opera), is testament to just how good popular music can be rousing, uplifting, heart warming and excellently performed.

St Kilda Brass at the Mayfair, Saturday, May 28
Marian Poole

Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (May 30, 2011)

Swing with the Rat Pack

Glenroy Auditorium
21 November 2009
Conductor: Steve Miles
Guests: Douglas Kamo, Rob Enari and Kris Bate

The Rat Pack reincarnated returned to Dunedin on Saturday night as slick, smooth and funny as the original Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and Frank Sinatra. A full house in the Glenroy auditorium loved every minute of the smooth crooning, irreverent humour and stylish moves of the local cool cats: Douglas Kamo, Rob Enari and Kris Bate.

This was an excellent concert put on by St Kilda Brass: all the great songs were there, delivered with the panache, if not quite the vocal qualities, of the original “rats”. Kamo, Enari and Bate were all over the auditorium working the audience with all the skills, humour and charm of the originals. No one was safe: audience member Avis (“Isn't that a rental company?” quipped Kamo) found herself on stage lying across rat pack knees being serenaded in a love song. Audience participation was mandatory and great fun – a Mexican wave for That's Amore, phonetic punctuation for Doe a Deer and finger clicking and clapping along all adding to the success of songs like My Way, New York, New York and Mack the Knife.

All credit to musical director Steve Miles whose roles included conductor, compere, singer and arranger. His idiomatic arrangements transformed St Kilda Brass into a swing big band: cornets discarded for Freddie Hubbard-style trumpets complete with screamers and fall-offs, and the middle of the band imitating saxophones. At the heart of the accompaniment was a strong rhythm section of Stuart Walker (keyboards), Ian McCabe (bass guitar) and Daniel Dance (drums) who kept up a high energy backing.

Opening each half alone, St Kilda Brass displayed quality soloists of its own with Ralph Miller giving a splendid account of the Harry James Trumpet Concerto, principal cornet John Lewis all style in Georgia on my Mind and Ted “foot-long” Pheloung delivering Just a Closer Walk with New Orleans-style jazz panache.

St Kilda Brass is to be congratulated on its innovative Southern Victorian Charitable Trust concert series. For the last couple of years they have shown that the modern brass band is a versatile and exciting ensemble that can put on imaginative programmes and professional, entertaining concerts.

Peter Adams
Dunedin

20th Century & Beyond

Mayfair Theatre
26 September 2009
Conductor: Steve Miles
Guest Soloist: Gladys Hope QSM

A particularly grotty weather weekend in Dunedin was enhanced greatly last week by a very well programmed concert given by St Kilda Brass. The third concert in this year's Southern Victorian charitable Trust concert series, the 20th Century & Beyond took the large Dunedin audience on a journey through music of the 20th Century.

The programme started with the 20th Century Fox Fanfare before a rousing rendition of the Stars & Stripes Forever March by the March king John Phillip Sousa. Some very fine Soprano playing from Ralph Miller set the scene for the entire Cornet section to step up and be featured in Hora Staccato at break neck speed before a complete change of mood in the very cheeky theme tune to the film Those Magnificent Men in Those Flying Machines. Gladys Hope was the chosen guest artist for the evening's concert, a singer and actress well known throughout New Zealand and a real favourite with the Dunedin public. Gladys gave her first contribution for the evening with a wonderfully spaced rendition of the traditional air Danny Boy. So lyrical and controlled, Gladys held the audience in the palm of her hand before air raid sirens, gun fire, bombs and search lights set the scene for a war bracket featuring Dam Busters and the medley Keep Smiling Through.

More of Gladys Hope's beautiful singing followed with Summertime from Gershwin's Opera Porgy & Bess before the bands major contribution of the evening, Dean Goffin's Rhapsody in Brass. Dating back to the 1940's Goffin's work is a very audience friendly work full of lyrical melody and catchy phrases. St Kilda Brass really excelled in this performance which was very well prepared. Very careful balance and exquisitely precise ensemble were topped off by soloists on top form, in particular newly appointed Solo Horn player Erynne Scherf who's rendition of the second movement was both beautiful and haunting.

Another Opening Another Show got the second half underway before the very complex music from West Side Story arranged by Eric Crees. This was another big work on the programme which was delivered with panache and excitement. A very unusual start to the next item came from Gladys Hope and St Kilda Brass's Bonar Robertson acting out the opening conversation of With One Look from Sunset Boulevard which was specially arranged for this concert by MD Steve Miles. Complete with American accents the actors set the scene perfectly before Gladys Hope delivered a show stopping performance. Holding the character throughout, Gladys showed the enthusiastic and appreciative audience just why she is held in such high regard as a character actress and musical theatre start. This was a real highlight of the evening and was fully deserved of the extended ovation.

MacArthur Park and What a Wonderful World brought a very 60's flavour to the concert before an upbeat and vocal rendition of Hello Dolly. The pulse wobbled a little in this number but the bands singing was as usual a highlight! Gladys Hope finished her evening with another of Steve Miles arrangements, this time reliving the role of Mrs Potts that she played in both Wellington and Dunedin productions of Disney's Beauty & the Beast. Greeted with an overwhelming ah from the audience after its introduction, Gladys performed the show's title track flawlessly and was real pleasure to listen to.

The finale of the concert taking us into the beyond was Ray Farr's Galaxies. Full of dynamic contrasts and dramatic effect, the finale was handled with aplomb bringing the evening's music making to a very exciting close (Before of course the obligatory rendition of the bands signature tune When the Saints).

The bands concert series now has a very strong following due to some innovative thinking and consistent quality. It's great to hear such positive comments from the Dunedin public that really are getting value for money from this series. I look forward with anticipation to the bands next event on 21st November, Swing with the Rat Pack which will relive the fun and frivolous entertainment of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Junior with special guests Doug Kamo, Kris Bate & Rob Enari.

Sean McDonald
Dunedin


Dad & Dave

Glenroy Auditorium
31 July 2009
Conductor: Steve Miles

A near capacity crowd filled the Glenroy Auditorium at Dunedin Town Hall last Friday night for the second in the 2009 Southern Victorian Charitable Trust Concert Series presented by St Kilda Brass, Dad & Dave with the Saints.

The concert got underway with Philip Harper's Lionheart, originally written for the Gala Concert of the European Championships held at Birmingham's Symphony Hall in 2007, this piece was full of youthful exuberance and dynamic contrast though did not always dispaly exact rhythmic control. Next on the programme came 2 movements from Phillip Sparke's Hymn of the Highlands; Ardross Castle and Dundonnell, this was a real highlight of the programme with the band sounding on absolute top form. Great balance was heard between the melodic and accompaniment lines, exciting dynamic effects and all topped off with some very fine Percussion work.

David Bremner has become a favourite with the Dunedin public and the Trombone superstar showed once again why he is without doubt the finest Trombone player on this side of the world. Clouds, originally written by Dunedin based composer and Otago University lecturer Anthony Ritchie for the New Zealand National Band tour of 2005, had been performed many times before but never to a New Zealand audience. This New Zealand Premiere of the highly descriptive work held together very well and the band gave a very solid framework for the soloist to work within. Some very impressive, controlled high register playing from Solo Cornet and Soprano dominated the opening statement before the technical wizardry and panache of David Bremner was displayed in all its glory. David's evenness of tone throughout the range of the instrument was a real highlight and a shining example to the many young brass players scattered throughout the Glenroy audience that had come to hear him play. An extended ovation for soloist, band and composer was thoroughly deserved.

Some light relief was on offer next with a very comedic rendition of Mr. Sandman arranged by Leigh Baker featuring 4 of the band playing different pitched bottles and Tubular Bells. A very amusing number which even had vocals and dancing!!! More Phillip Sparke followed with Mountain Song which had some moments of unease and a number of intonation issues which did detract somewhat from the music, not the bands best offering of the evening but this was soon forgotten within the excitement of Malcolm Arnold's Peterloo Overture which was full of atmosphere and some wonderful Timpani playing form Julia Horsnell.

The second half got underway with another Leigh Baker arrangement; this time of Lionel Ritchie's All Night Long which featured 4 Trumpets led by Ralph Miller screaming out the lead line. A much calmer mood followed with the introduction of Cornet Soloist Trevor Bremner playing Shepherd's Song whilst wandering through the auditorium. Trevor's glorious tone and exceptional control was a joy to listen to and the band seemed to relish the opportunity to provide accompaniment to his playing. Danse Napolitaine showed more of Trevor's musicality and technical competence before the band launched into a Freddie Mercury tribute with Fat Bottomed Girls and Bohemian Rhapsody. These were real audience pleasers and almost brought the house down. Once more a beautiful rendition from Trevor Bremner this time of Rusalka's Song to the Moon followed before father and son joined forces for Softly As I Leave.

Valero arranged by Sandy Smith gave Daniel Dance a real chance to shine on the Drum Kit before the big finale, Paul Lovatt-Cooper's Vitae Aeternum. The finale again showed the band on real form though there did seem to be a few very tired players onstage by the end of the piece. Nevertheless, some fine solo work from John Lewis and Marty Kibble together with great back row and Trombone lines in the climax of the central theme. The programming of this concert was a real highlight with something for everyone and once again a very slick and professional lighting design enhanced the whole performance.

I look forward to the bands next concert on the 26th September, 20th Century and Beyond which will welcome back another Dunedin favourite, Gladys Hope.

Sean McDonald
Dunedin


Beyond the Tamar

Mayfair Theatre, Dunedin
16 June 2009
Conductor: Steve Miles

A good sized audience turned out for the first in St Kilda Brass's 2009 concert series on a bitterly cold Dunedin Saturday night.

The late start to the concert series this year is due to the change of date for the New Zealand National Championships which was held over the Easter period, a change that seems to have caused a number of event programming issues in the Dunedin community but nonetheless the series was finally underway and it was Paul Lovatt-Cooper's Walking with Heroes which got the nights entertainment started with Cornets and Trombones in traditional concert opening fanfare formation.

Subtitled a "journey through musical genres and styles," the concert continued with music from Franz Liszt in the form of the Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 which was delivered with fine ensemble, balance of lines and a certain "musical cheekiness" in the interpretation.

A complete change of mood (and lighting effect) brought the beautiful melody Amazing Grace before the major contribution of the first half Philip Harper's Beyond the Tamar. Written originally for the Anniversary celebrations of the Cornwall Youth Brass Band, Harper's work takes the audience on a journey from Cornwall around the world and back again visiting and touching upon musical styles of various countries and offering both audience and band a thoroughly entertaining time.

Beyond the Tamar was a real treat from the beautiful serenity of the Alps to the clearly visible flashes of Lighting through the Storm in Leningrad, the Improvisational techniques and tone colours of India, the vocal talents of the entire band in the traditional melody from Zimbabwe led by Rene Spoors to the wonderfully choreographed and all out fun in the Latin American Salsa.

I have never heard a brass concert quite like this and I applaud the MD's attempt at delivering something unique to the Dunedin audience. Many audience members that I spoke to during the interval and after the show regarded this work as a highlight not only of the concert but of the entire last 3 concert series!

First off in the second half came James Curnow's Psalm of Praise which was not always executed with the precision that one expects from this fine band but nonetheless there was certainly some excitement generated from the crisp ensemble and control of tempi.

A soloist showcase followed featuring the talents of Ralph Miller in Live and Let Die on soprano cornet, John Lewis in Napoli on cornet, Marty Kibble in Children of Sanchez on flugel horn and Errol Moore in Hamabe No Uta on euphonium. What a joy it is having such fine soloists in Dunedin and how lucky this band is to have leaders of such quality. All soloists really showed there class despite the occasional unsteadiness of the accompanying ensemble. Bravo!

Breathtaking speed through the Armenian Fire Dance which saw technical wizardry from both a young cornet team and a talented tuned percussion section led to a final set of music from the Big Band era with cornets exchanging their instruments for trumpets.

I must say this set of music was particularly enjoyable and the band seemed to be completely at ease with this genre of music delivering a very tight and dynamically controlled performance topped off with some nifty jazz solo work from Ralph Miller and John Lewis.

Contrast, variety and innovation were the ingredients to this concert which saw the band take their choreography to a new level...thoroughly enjoyable!

The bands next concert once again features the astonishing talent of David Bremner as guest soloist appearing this time with his father Trevor also. Not that I should be wishing away time at my age but roll on 31st July!

Sean McDonald
Dunedin


Stage and Screen

Mayfair Theatre, Dunedin
29 November 2008
Conductor: Steve Miles
Guest Artists: Gladys Hope (Soprano), John Kiernan-Sear (Baritone), Gina Miles, Nicola Dyer, Melinda Joe, Jenifer Hancox (Dancers)

A capacity audience packed into Dunedin's Mayfair Theatre on Saturday night to enjoy the last in the 2008 subscription series of concerts given by St Kilda Brass entitled 'Stage and Screen'.

As the title suggests the evening was dedicated to the music of both Musical Theatre and Film.

Atmospheric and Brutal

Dressed smartly in dinner suits the band got the evening's entertainment under way with a brand new arrangement of the Fanfare from Rocky before some wonderfully atmospheric and brutal playing in the Barbarian Horde from Gladiator.

A selection of music from Andrew Lloyd Weber's masterpiece the Phantom of the Opera followed featuring the extremely versatile Gladys Hope in Think of Me, the silky smooth talents of John Kiernan Sear in the Music of the Night and the two popular Dunedin stars joining together in All I Ask of You. These numbers were accompanied with extreme sensitively and the clever use of mutes softened the brass sounds and added some very nice tone colours, allowing the singers to shine through the texture superbly.

More film music followed with Jurrasic Park showing the talents of newly appointed Solo Horn, Rowena Howard and Soul Bossa Nova featuring some nifty jazz Flugel work from Marty Kibble.

Visually Stunning

The first half finale was Ray Farr's arrangement of Riverdance featuring a dance troupe lead and choreographed by Musical Director Steve Miles wife Gina. This was a real highlight of the concert visually stunning and plenty of points of interest including players performing solos from various positions both on and off the stage and even some vocal talent on display from within the band through the opening sections. This was particularly popular with the audience and one had to wonder how on earth the band could follow that in the second half!

Unique!

Well the second half got under way without the conductor and Principal Cornet John Lewis and Flugel Horn Marty Kibble playing the parts of Clint Eastwood and the Mexican Bandit in The Good the Bad and the Ugly. Full of good humour, choreographic precision and gunfire this certainly was a very unique number and the soloists should be congratulated on their first foray into acting!

From one Ennio Morricone number to another Gabriel's Oboe followed before the vocal soloists entered for some more music from the shows. Gladys Hope took the lead in I Don't Know How to Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar and I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables whilst John Kiernan-Sear featured with Anthem from Chess and Stars from Les Miserables. Once again the accompaniments were fully aware of the soloists which allowed good balance to be maintained throughout.

Uncomfortable

Much of the music on this concert was arranged especially by the Musical Director however some arrangements obviously were not and this version of I Dreamed a Dream never seemed comfortable to me, being pitched much lower than the original and clearly too low for a female voice. However, Gladys Hope showed why she is regarded as the consummate performer that she is by cleverly adding some harmonies and octave leaps.

New arrangements of music from Lord of the Dance followed with Jennifer Hancox showing off her dancing talents through Gypsy before some beautifully shaped Euphonium Duo playing from Ian O'Malley and Errol Moore in Lament. The finale to the concert was a new arrangement of Victory from Lord of the Dance which again was a visual spectacle featuring the four dancers. The energy and excitement of this number was exceptional and the thoroughly deserved ovation from the audience signalled an encore of the number through which the steps and choreography remained immaculate.

With audience members whistling, cheering and screaming for more Gladys Hope and John Kiernan-Sear took to the stage for one more encore in Howard Snell's beautiful treatment of You'll Never Walk Alone. The pitch centre of this number was not always correct from soloists however this came right and the sheer power from the evenings guests made one wonder why they had ever been amplified electronically at all!

Series Finale gets the thumbs up

This was a great concert; full of visual and audio spectacles, new arrangements and superb lighting which enhanced the whole show. What a wonderful way to end the series; one can only wonder what will be in store for the Dunedin public in the next series.

Sean McDonald
Dunedin


St Kilda Brass - Brass & Voices

Mayfair Theatre 17th May
St Kilda Brass Steve Miles
Southern Youth Choir Ruth Kirkwood

A near capacity crowd packed into the Mayfair Theatre in Dunedin on Saturday night to hear the second in St Kilda Brass's subscription series of concerts Brass & Voices.

The programme got under way with Paul Lovatt-Coopers popular Where Eagles Sing which set the exciting tine for the evening. St Kilda's substantial offering of the evening was Herbert Howell's masterful score Pageantry which was full of appropriate style and character. The beautiful second movement was a real feature with soloists displaying real sensitivity and poise, particularly Soprano Cornet Ralph Miller in the closing sections. John Lewis (Cornet) set the style and tempo to the last movement with a real sense of class before an incredibly tight ensemble thrilled the audience through the extended climactic finish.

John Lewis featured next as a soloist in Phillip Sparke's Song and Dance and once again showed all in attendance why he is regarded as one of the finest Cornet players in the Southern Hemisphere. The Accompaniment to John's wonderful playing was a little heavy at times, particularly in the awkward sections of the Dance but nevertheless this was well received.

Music from the Swing Era and Harry Jame's Trumpet Blues and Cantabile featured the remaining Solo Cornet players and Soprano in an arrangement that was a particular favourite with the audience on the night.

The band reformed whilst conductor and compere Steve Miles gave an extended and informative introduction to Howard Snell's wonderfully atmospheric The Old Chalet. This was an intriguing arrangement that feature 3 separate groups of Cornets spread around the hall creating echo effects, a Euphonium at the back of the hall providing Alphorn sounds and a meandering Cow Bell in the distance.

Next, Peter Graham's Call of the Cossacks was full of excitement with the tight ensemble, huge dynamic contrasts, breathtaking speeds, top class soloists and sharp Percussion section which really was deserved of the extended ovation given by the audience. As an encore to the first half the band performed an arrangement by Leigh Baker of the Angus Dei from Faure's Requiem which could have done some serious damage to the fragile old theatre building in the huge climatic ending! More Peter Graham music got the second half under way with Shine As the Light before the evenings guests, the Southern Youth Choir and their Musical Director Ruth Kirkwood took to the stage. This is a young and vibrant ensemble that displayed some very beautiful sounds and well controlled harmonies through a programme of music that ranged from African and Serbian folk song to the more traditional sounds of Thomas Tallis, Johannes Brahms and William Byrd.

The combined forces of the Choir and Band came together and were very finely balanced in excerpts from David Hamilton's The Dragons are Singing Tonight and the traditional Welsh Folk Song Sosban Fach, arranged by Goff Richards and adapted for the concert by Steve Miles.

The programme for this concert was incredibly varied; the execution of performance was top notch, the guest artists impressive and topped off with some very appropriate and atmospheric lighting effects. What more could one ask for - Bravo!!!

Sean McDonald
(Dunedin)


St Kilda Brass - By Popular Demand

Saturday 15 March, 2008
Kings Performing Arts Centre, Dunedin
Conductor Steve Miles
Soloist David Bremner

A near capacity audience poured into the Kings Performing Arts Centre on Saturday night to hear the first in the Southern Victorian Charitable Trusts 2008 concert series performed by St Kilda Brass.

The evening opened with a rousing arrangement of John Williams Olympic Spirit played with Cornets and Trombones stood around the band. Following a quick reshuffle onstage the concert continued with Verdi's Force of Destiny Overture which was full of excitement and tight ensemble playing. The bands soloists shone throughout this number, in particular John Lewis (Cornet), Marty Kibble (Flugel) and Ian O'Malley (Euphonium). The impact of these first couple of numbers was enhanced significantly by the superb use of stage lighting. This I believe is the first time the band has added a professional lighting show to one of its concerts and it certainly added to the whole atmosphere of the concert.

Principal Trombonist of the New Zealand Symphony orchestra and one of the Southern Hemisphere's premiere Brass talents, David Bremner took to the stage to perform Guillmant's Morceu Symphonique which was delivered with precision and panache. David's excellent tone quality throughout the entire range of the instrument was a feature throughout together with impressive lyrical phrasing. David followed with a real 'golden oldie' The Acrobat. Despite the very light and humorous nature of this piece, David's Trombone playing class was ever present. To encore David's first solo set he was joined by the bands Trombone section and Flugel to perform Goff Richards arrangement of I Will Follow Him. A lively number that was great fun to hear, though I'm not convinced about the band's swaying!

Through Bolts & Bars got the audience's feet tapping again before Beethoven's 2nd movement of the Moonlight Sonata. Unusual to hear a band perform this piece however it was delivered with real sensitivity and poise. A concert of requests would not be complete without some music from the film Brassed Off and next on the programme was Rodrigo's Concerto d'aranjeuz performed by Marty Kibble. Marty thrilled the audience with some beautiful Flugel sounds and lovely delicate phrasing - a real highlight of the evening before the big bombastic blasts of Tchaikowsky's 1812 Overture.

The second half got under way with the Introduction to Act III of Wagner's Opera Lohengrin which featured the broad and powerful sounds of the bands bottom end. Next came the only slight disappointment of the evening in Debussy's Claire de Lune. This is a very lovely piece of music that requires so much delicacy and sensitivity and that was not always present. However, In the Hall of the Mountain King certainly took the band back into their comfort zone.

David Bremner was then introduced back to the stage to perform Stephen Foster's Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair before an absolutely dazzling display of the Bluebells of Scotland which brought the house down. Breakneck speeds and phenomenal technique on display from the soloist throughout. Steve Miles then downed his Baton for a Euphonium and joined David in the popular favourite Softly As I Leave You - another highlight of the evening and clearly an enjoyable experience for both soloists.

The music of James Bond was next on the programme with soloists Ted Pheloung (Trombone) and Ralph Miller (Soprano) in sensational form before the mood was changed dramatically with Pope's Nightfall in Camp featuring John Lewis. This piece was dedicated to the memory of Alan Knight the bands late Secretary. What better way to finish off a concert than with the Finale to Rossini's William Tell Overture, full of dynamic contrast, fine technique and wonderful solo playing from John Lewis. Of course the band's signature tune (When the Saints) followed to satisfy the cheers and whistles of a very excited audience. A great start to the concert season and so pleasing to see new faces in the band and many new faces in the audience.

Sean McDonald
Dunedin


Eclectic Brass

Saturday 17th November 2007
Mayfair Theatre Dunedin
Conductor - Steve Miles
Guest Artists - Cambio

Saturday 17th November brought a close to the St Kilda Brass 2007 Southern Victorian Charitable Trust Concert series with an evening of entertainment entitled 'Eclectic Brass' at Dunedin's Mayfair Theatre. This was another unusual collaboration for the band, the last concert in the series featured Brass Band and Violin and tonight's guest artists came in the form of a Jazz Fusion group called 'Cambio'.

Looking at the programme it became obvious that the 1st half of the concert was a journey through music of the 20th Century with samples of music from different genres, hence the name Eclectic Brass I suppose. The concert got under way with William Rimmer's March the Black Knight, very precise and stately playing with some fine dynamic contrasts. Moving forward a couple of years to 1914, next was Euday L Bowman's classic 12th Street Rag featuring some very tight ensemble playing from a Cornet Trio of Chris Gillum, Rowena Howard and Stacey Ward.

John Lewis is St Kilda Brass's usual Principal Cornet player but on this occasion John was unavailable which made way for the bands usual Repiano Cornet player Hamish Miller to show off his skills, and show off he did with a cracking rendition of Harry James Trumpet Concerto from the late 1930's.

Another soloist followed with Tim Walsh taking us into the 1950's with a Frank Sinatra hit All The Way. Tim displayed some very fine controlled Trombone playing throughout with superb intonation particularly in the high register.

Next on the programme was music from the Beatles and an arrangement of Ticket to Ride that I haven't heard for years. The band really created the atmosphere of a Train starting up and getting moving through the opening sections with equally impressive atmosphere in the final few bars. From the 60's to the 70's and one of the most recognizable of Jazz Standards, Zawinal's Birdland. The band did well to capture the relaxed Jazz style in this number, which is something that is often overlooked by Brass Bands when playing Jazz, and managed to keep the ensemble tight throughout. Gary Valentine on Soprano was on particularly fine form. Another soloist followed with music from the 1979 film Children of Sanchez. This featured Marty Kibble on Flugel who gave us a wonderfully expressive rendition of Chuck Mangione's score. The ensemble between band and soloist in this number was not always at its best and there were occasionally some uneasy moments but nevertheless exciting stuff. Into the 1980's next with some Acid House music arranged by Rodney Newton for the Williams Fairey Bands Acid Brass project, Lets Get Brutal. This featured the Saints fine Percussion section, Samdrub Dawa, Justine Pierre and Neil Pickering.

The finale of the first half was another Rodney Newton piece, this time not an arrangement but an original composition based on Romanian and Bulgarian Gypsy Aires, Echoes of the East. So many different colors, dynamic contrasts and even some slick choreography enhanced the incredibly exciting performance which brought both the band and audience to their feet at the finish. Though very exciting and entertaining there were a couple of moments of poor intonation in the louder dynamics particularly when instrument were facing out towards the audience, but that's just being 'picky' I loved it!

The second half started with the band in an unorthodox set up with the whole band stood behind a seated Bass section. Again some exciting playing here of Peter Graham's Windows of the World which suffered a little from being unbalanced in the slow music. Partly to do with Trombones facing out I think, but some very warm sounds on offer together with rampant and powerful vocal lines in Drums of Thunder. The word Cambio literally translates 'to change' and that is what the evening's guest artists are all about. A group of Jazz musicians comprising of Trevor Coleman - Keyboard/Trumpet, Nick Cornish - Sax, Dan Bendrups - Trombone, Dave Harrison - Guitar, Rob Burns - Bass and Rob Craigie - Drums, this sextet carries with them a phenomenal amount of talent and experience. Cambio's contribution to the concert came in the form of 5 almost original compositions. I say almost because even the items that were based on well known Jazz Standards were altered dramatically and very cleverly.

The popular Jazz Standards Take Five and A Night in Tunisia were performed in different Time Signatures to the originals, Take Five with an added beat and A Night in Tunisia with a beat taken away. Other items were Sugar and 2 original compositions from a series of pieces written by the band in a Jam session back in 2002, subject to Change 2 and Subject to Change 5. The incredible array of solo talent and technical mastery of instruments, not to mention mastery of the Jazz idiom, was simply breathtaking and watching Trevor Coleman play Trumpet and Keyboard at the same time was worth the ticket price alone. Despite the absolutely superb entertainment on offer with this group there were a couple of moments of unbalance where the soloists didn't quite come over the amplified sounds of the Guitar, Bass & Keyboard.

To finish off the concert the Saints took to the stage once more, stood around the back of Cambio for combined items of Malaguena, El Cumbanchero and Sing Sing Sing. The cohesion of sound from the massed forces was quite exceptional and the ensemble remained extremely tight throughout. Once again unbelievable solo playing was on offer from the evenings guests and in particular Rob Craigie who's Drumming was the glue between the two ensembles. The second half finished in the same manner as the first with audience members on their feet this time shouting for more which unfortunately they did not get - maybe next time!

Another truly unique concert that was fully entertaining. I look forward to seeing what the band can come up with next!

Sean McDonald
Dunedin