Gorleston show pays tribute to musician and teacher

The orchestra in action
Chad Fielder Photography

The orchestra in action Chad Fielder Photography - Credit: Archant

It was an afternoon all about music – and yet the multitude of songs almost took second place to the waves of nostalgia and reunions.

Former members of the East Norfolk Schools Big Band and East Norfolk Youth Jazz Orchestra met up at Gorleston Pavilion to pay tribute to the founder of both bands, Pete Fraser, who died early last year after a short illness.

Mr Fraser, a lifelong professional musician and latterly a teacher, would have been proud as, several years on, his arrangements sounded as fresh as ever, and a capacity audience obviously thought so too.

The concert raised money for the stroke unit at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston which cared for Mr Fraser.

All the musicians gave their time free, and the Pavilion management made no charge for the theatre hire in order to boost the total.

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The concert was organised by former ENSBB members Jonathan Wyatt, now the leader of his own big band, and Harriet Platford.

The response was overwhelming, with more than 30 musicians coming forward to take part, some travelling considerable distances.

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Over a dozen saxophonists came along, so the band played with two sections taking turns.

The Wyatt Band played until the interval and then the youth band members took over.

With minimal time for rehearsal, the 'togetherness' of the ensembles was remarkable, and the enjoyment shone through to the audience.

But the afternoon was not without poignancy.

Simon Denny, who sings with the JWBB, has recently recovered from a stroke himself and spoke movingly about his despair and then the gradual recovery.

Then Mr Fraser's Scottish roots were remembered as Tony Larner, from the JWBB, played Burns' My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose on solo baritone saxophone.

Mr Fraser's playing was also featured, with clever electronics featuring his recorded solos on Count Basie's Flight Of The Foo Birds against the live performance of the JWBB.

Otherwise it was pure nostalgia, with the bands rolling out their familiar numbers – A Child Is Born, Masquerade, Norwegian Wood, The Best Thing for You and A Little Reverb.

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