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It’s not that often that two up and coming student musicians take the bold step of organising a concert, even for the most worthy of causes, but this on this occasion the bold step and hard graft undertaken by Josh Cirtina and Luke Dempsey paid off handsomely.
The duo, who have also played in the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, took the opportunity to organise a concert to help raise funds for the ‘Help For Heroes’ Charity.
With a wonderful sense of student coercion, persuasion and perhaps even the offer of a few cheap drinks at the Student Union Bar, a remarkable array of banding talent led by the son of an old soldier himself, provided an evening of excellent entertainment at the RNCM.
The featured soloist was tuba superstar Les Neish, who has not only become something of an inspirational teacher at the college, but continues to mature as a performer of the rarest musical gifts, with the ability to engage with an audience thanks to an easy going, charismatic charm.
New and old
The concert started with the stunning ‘Tortuguero’ by Jonathan Bates, which was first heard at the RNCM Festival of Brass earlier in the year.
Old favourites such as, ‘Le Corsair’ and ‘O Magnum Mysterium’ were delivered with admirable focus and security, whilst Les Neish simply thrilled the pants off with ‘Badinage’ and ‘The Prayer', which also featured the impressive talents of Nick Birch on euphonium.
A vibrant ’Visions of Kolkhis’ by Tom Davoren and another cracking arrangement from the pen of Jonathan Bates, ‘With Quiet Courage’, closed the first half.
The second half was an upbeat joy – from the Lionel Ritchie thumper, ‘All Night Long’ to ‘The Incredibles’, and the finale of ‘Vitae Aeternum’.
These were interspersed with Les once more displaying thrilling with ‘Song for the Skies’ and ‘Hora Staccato’ and Josh Certina showcasing his considerable playing talents with, ‘If I Were a Rich Man’ – an all too often end of term wish of every hard pressed student in the land.
The concert was a huge hit, not only raising money for a worthy cause but providing excellent Sunday entertainment, aided throughout by the wit and panache of Richard Evans.
Those entrepreneurial students should be proud of themselves.