Midsummer Musical Evening

MICHAEL DRAKE John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Colney


The fairly predictable title of this charity concert gave little indication of the galaxy of talent, from school children to those in the relatively early years of their professional careers.

The former were the backing of the Young Performers Trust, led on stage by pianist Luke Martin settling into Chopin comfortably, while Hannah Long showed good vocal technique in her smiling soprano and Charlotte Stratta (clarinet) exhibited fine phrase and colouring.

Accompanist William Fergusson showed well-defined mastery of Bach's Prelude and Fugue in B flat.

Artists from Eastern Opera, which takes opera to rural locations, changed the mood. Bright soprano Bibi Heal's and wide-ranging baritone Rodney Clarke's subtly-sung Magic Flute duet was quite delightful, with Jonathan Papp a most thoughtful accompanist.

To cap this section, Miss Heal's “Jeveuxvivre” from Gounod's Romeo and Juliet was then a beautiful display of glamorous soprano singing.

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Another mood change came with Kit Downes' and George Crowley's mature piano and saxophone jazz duets and they were joined by trumpeter Freddie Gavita, Luke Hellebrondt (bass guitar) and Arron Kelly on drums with an impressive display.

The event was in aid of Norfolk and Norwich Friends of Families' House, dedicated to helping vulnerable children and their families.