WEYHILL ELECTRONIC ORGAN SOCIETY

 

 
  CONCERT REVIEWS
 
 
 
 

16 NOVEMBER 2017


The Club’s November concert featured ELIZABETH HARRISON, who was making her fifth visit to Weyhill.  Elizabeth, who lives on a farm near Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, is arguably the busiest player on the circuit, performing for clubs as well as for ballroom and sequence dancing. As if that was not enough she also organises, and performs at, several festivals and numerous successful fund-raising charity concerts.  Even then, she still finds time to occasionally milk the cows!

 

As one might reasonably expect, dance rhythms were employed for a number of Elizabeth’s medleys although an extensive variation of music was performed, including several ballads and marches.  The show began with a trio of unrelated tunes – Scotland The Brave, The Radetzky March and A Spoonful Of Sugar, before introducing a lively piece entitled The Parrot (originally performed by Ethel Smith).  Then came a selection of titles purposely containing the word ‘heart’, such as Young At Heart and I Left My Heart In San Francisco, followed by a number of theme tunes from radio and television.  Many members of the audience would have recognised Out Of The Blue (from Saturday evening’s ‘Sports Report’), In Party Mood (from ‘Housewives’ Choice’) and What’ll I Do (from TV’s ‘Birds Of A Feather’). 

 

Elizabeth continued with Runaway (a 1961 hit for Del Shannon), a tango titled Pirouette and Leroy Anderson’s Belle Of The Ball, before producing the familiar pipe organ sound for Gordon Young’s Prelude In Classic Style. Continuing the variety of music, Elizabeth then played a couple of well-known Nat King Cole favourites, When I Fall In Love and Unforgettable, plus two songs from musicals, namely Memory from ‘Cats’ (as recorded by Elaine Paige) and Any Dream Will Do (from ‘Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’).  Don’t Laugh At Me probably evoked memories of Norman Wisdom whilst Never On Sunday is probably most associated with Greek singer Nana Mouskouri. Two more dance tunes followed (both Cha Cha rhythms), Wheels and Tea For Two, preceding Frank Sinatra’s Strangers In The Night and Hey (a Julio Iglesias recording).  Finally, to arrive at the interval, Elizabeth played the popular James Last signature tune, Games That Lovers Play.     

 

Suitably refreshed, the audience welcomed Elizabeth back for the second half, which opened with Cilla Black’s Something Tells Me, followed by A Kind Of Hush (a hit for Herman’s Hermits).  Samba Carioca was followed by a delightful performance of Music Box Dancer before, in complete contrast, the familiar march, Blaze Away (fortunately nobody was heard to be singing along with the incorrect lyrics!).  Very few people would have known that the next piece, titled Non Stop, was the original theme tune for ITV News At Ten but everyone recognised White Christmas, which Elizabeth decided was not too early to perform.  Audience thoughts were then transported in to the maritime world with Sailing (a Rod Stewart hit) and Always There, the theme for the BBC 80s drama series ‘Howards’ Way’ – much of which was filmed on the River Hamble and The Solent.    

 

The name Norman ‘Hurricane’ Smith is rarely mentioned on the electronic organ and keyboard circuit but when it is the title Oh Babe, What Can I Say? surely comes to mind.  This was followed by The Loveliest Night Of The Year, as sung by Mario Lanza in the film ‘The Great Caruso’ and the delightful Somewhere My Love (Lara’s Theme), composed by Maurice Jarre for the film ‘Dr Zhivago’.  Elizabeth continued her programme with a couple of waltzes – the Gold And Silver Waltz (Franz Lehár) and Nights Of Gladness – whilst a medley of hits from the 60s was bound to please the listeners.  The selection included such songs as Three Steps To Heaven (Eddie Cochran), Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (The Shirelles), I Only Want To Be With You (Dusty Springfield), Georgie Girl (The Seekers) and Nothing But A Heartache (The Flirtations).

 

As the evening drew to a close, Elizabeth performed the enchanting theme from the film ‘Nicholas and Alexandra’, Too Beautiful To Last (recorded as a vocal in the 70s by Engelbert Humperdinck), before a brief sing-along medley and – as if to prove her stamina – ending with More and I Could Have Danced All Night (or should it have been ‘played all night’?).  Of course, artistes are rarely permitted to escape without an encore … and We’ll Meet Again seemed more than appropriate!

 

19 OCTOBER 2017

An excellent attendance awaited DIRKJAN RANZIJN the dynamic Dutchman, making his sixth concert appearance for the Club, including a show at The Lights theatre in Andover in 2011.  His undoubted popularity in the area has been enhanced by his previous performances for local charity events organised by the Club.

 

Born in Alkmaar, 50 kilometres north of Amsterdam, Dirk (as he is known to his many fans) has been in music-showbiz for over twenty-five years and, apart from the UK, his touring now takes him throughout Europe and he has frequently performed on international television – most recently in Denmark and Holland – as well as on radio and for corporate events.


A concert that varied in content and tempo began with Amigos Para Siempre (Friends For Life) – a 1992 hit for Sarah Brightman and José  Carreras, followed by Lugano, a tune composed by Dirk following a visit to the Italian lake of that name.  Then came a selection of Italian songs – The Drinking SongLa Donna è Mobile and Funiculi Funicula – before the Julio Iglesias hit, Por Un Poco De Tu Amor, and Volare, a song usually associated with Dean Martin. 

 

Dirk then introduced another of his own compositions, Spirit Of Norway, inspired by his recent holiday in that country and, continuing his desire to bring ‘new’ music to his audience, he followed on with Carnavalito– in the style of the late German bandleader Günter Noris – and a cha cha titled A Night Like This, as recorded by Dutch pop singer Caro Emerald.  The popular Let It Go, from Disney’s Frozen received acclaim before Dirk ended the first half by performing his well-known Circus Medley, consisting of The Man On The Flying TrapezeSend In The Clowns and Join The Circus

 

The opening of Also Sprach Zarathustra (R Strauss) heralded the second half and the introduction of a tune for which Dirk is especially known on the continent, namely a reggae version of the Elvis Presley hit, Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.  In an evening of contrasting music and styles, the emotive theme from the 2004 film, Ladies In Lavender, was then performed.  Following a Hammond sound rock’n’roll medley, comprising Tutti FruttiBlue Suede ShoesSee You Later Alligator and Hound Dog, Dirk then opted to play Ennio Morricone’s memorable film theme, Gabriel’s Oboe from the film The Mission –recorded as a vocal by Il Divo under the title Nella Fantasia


Disco flavoured music then featured with the Venezuelan composition Moliendo Café and a typical André Rieu style selection with Wild Rover,Tulips From Amsterdam (naturally!) and Red Rose Café These were followed by Hymne, a beautiful composition by Vangelis, whilst the Diana Ross hit, When You Tell Me That You Love Me, brought the evening to a close … well almost … as Dirk performed an Austrian medley, including The White Horse Inn and Goodbye, for his encore, accompanied by audience clapping which continued long after the music had ended.

 

Immediately after the concert, Dirk was on his way to Harwich to catch the ferry to Holland the next morning, before travelling to Denmark a day later for television work.  He is certainly an artiste in great demand.

 

 

21 SEPTEMBER 2017

Making the relatively short journey from Southsea to perform for the Society's September concert was ANDREW VARLEY – making his sixth appearance for the Club.  In additional to entertaining such audiences, Andrew plays for dancing and for private functions; he can also claim international status, having played in Germany, Belgium, Italy and Ireland.

 

As the main theme of his programme, Andrew performed a series of medleys ranging from the 1940s to the 1970s, most of the music being selected from pop charts of the day, with a few solo pieces inserted for good measure.  Following a Triumphant Music introduction, the 40s session opened with I’m Beginning To See The Light (an Ella Fitzgerald recording) and included such tunes as Laura, Besame Mucho, Opus One Perfidia, Autumn Leaves and Ghost Riders In The Sky (although this song became much more well known in later years). 

 

A Franz Lambert arrangement of Leibeswaltzer (Love Waltz) preceded the 50s selections which included a number of popular favourites recorded by stars like The Platters, Neil Sedaka, Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, Mario Lanza, Doris Day and the Everly Brothers.  To conclude the first half Andrew performed Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds, complete with the recorded voice of Richard Burton.

 

Resuming the entertainment, Andrew introduced the Chianti Song (an André Rieu arrangement) before commencing his medley of 60s tunes – the selection of which he had found difficult, being so spoiled for choice.  By way of variation, Andrew challenged the audience to name the artistes most associated with each song … an opportunity that was met with some enthusiasm. The 60s was arguably one of the best decades for popular music and titles like Delilah, Apache, Whiter Shade Of Pale, Morningtown Ride, The Young Ones and My Way did not prove difficult – but Rhythm Of The Rain (The Cascades) was not easily solved.

 

The 70s section opened with the John Miles hit, Music, and contained songs linked with Demis Roussos, Status Quo, The Carpenters, Barry Manilow, The New Seekers and The Stylistics, before a reprise of Music. The concert ended with a lively German film theme – but time allowed for an encore, for which Andrew chose to play It Had Better Be Tonight (Los Cafres), from The Pink Panther.

 

As always, Andrew had produced something a little different as well as a few previously unheard tunes – and the amount of preparation was clearly evident, along with the enjoyment he derives from his music.


 

17 AUGUST 2017

Performing for the Club’s August concert was ALEX PAYLER – a talented young performer from Sittingbourne, making his fourth appearance for the Club.  Originality is what this artiste is all about, standing out from the crowd and having the ability to think independently with a style entirely of his own.  On one hand he is an elite musician but on the other a pioneer, dispelling the stereotypical outdated image and reputation of the instrument he plays.  Alex claims he is always keen to create and achieve something new and exciting.

 

The concert opened in Classical mode with Palladio, a 1995 Karl Jenkins composition with which Escala, a four-girl electronic string quartet, reached the final of Britain’s Got Talent in 2008.  This was followed by the Bizet Flute Minuet from L'Arlésienne before the introduction of Duke Ellington’s Big Band number, It Don’t Mean A Thing, featuring some rapid pedal work, and Habanera from Bizet’s opera Carmen.  Alex then performed his ‘Phantom Connection’, including a few songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom Of The Opera – including The Music Of The Night and Think Of Me. 

 

The familiar sound of the Glenn Miller Orchestra was then heard, preceding Purcell’sTrumpet Tune (for trumpet and organ), after which Alex performed the well-known James Bond Theme (a Monty Norman composition, arranged by John Barry).  Disney’s Beauty And The Beast featured with Tale As Old As Time and the undoubted talent of American composer John Williams was represented by the Flying Theme from the film E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.  The first half seemed to have passed very quickly but there was sufficient time for the sound of the Irish pipes for Lament and Firedance from Bill Whelan’s Riverdance.

 

After the interval a fanfare welcomed the Thunderbirds March and the stirring Vangelis composition, 1492: Conquest Of Paradise, combining orchestral and synthesizer sounds, whilst another Classical piece was inserted, namely Tchaikovsky’s Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy (from The Nutcracker ballet).  A selection from Bernstein’s West Side Story, including Tonight and Maria, was followed by Hello Dolly in Dixieland style and an Argentinian tango titled Libertango. 

 

The Hammond sound was used for Lean On Me whilst Arabian Nights and Friend Like Me, both from Disney’s Aladdin, added to the variation.  Ravel’s Bolero, in the style of André Rieu, brought an enjoyable evening to a close … except that an encore was demanded by the audience. Alex duly obliged with a samba titled Brazil.  Alex proved that he is a true master of his craft, impressing the audience with his considerable ability, imagination and musical interpretation.  When listening to his performance it was difficult to believe that such a full spectrum of sound could be created by just one man and one instrument.

 

 

20 JULY 2017

Performing for the Society’s July concert was MARK THOMPSON, a talented young artiste from Durham, making his fourth appearance for the Club.  He had travelled to the Fairground Hall from St Austell, where he had played the previous evening, but his time on the road had clearly not dulled his ability levels.

 

In addition to his engagements on the organ/keyboard circuit, Mark plays in a number of groups near his home and is musical director for several musical theatre societies.  As if all that is not enough, he also plays piano at hotels and restaurants in the North East and often plays with a jazz band at Newcastle United's football ground, St. James' Park, on match days. 

 

The concert contained a number of medleys, each consisting of familiar tunes, with a selection of solo numbers that were enthusiastically acknowledged by the audience.  Mark began in an upbeat mood with Bring Me Sunshine, What A Wonderful World and The Bare Necessities (from The Jungle Book). A sample of Latin American followed – Jazz ‘n’ Samba (by Antonio Carlos Jobim) – before a trio of well-known pop songs, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling (The Righteous Brothers), I Just Called To Say I Love You (Stevie Wonder) and The Last Waltz (Engelbert Humperdinck).     

 

Mark’s fingers simply flew across the keys for an amazing performance of Bumble Boogie (based on The Flight Of The Bumblebee) whilst, in complete contrast, John Barry’s delightful Somewhere In Time (from the film of the same name) clearly demonstrated the artiste’s versatility.  The wide variety of music even included a fairly lengthy medley that challenged the listeners to identify various parts of the body, such as Tiger Feet, I’ve Got You Under My Skin and Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.  Johnny Pearson’s Sleepy Shores (theme from the TV series, Owen M.D.) was the next tune to feature and the first half was completed with another medley – Devil’s Galop (aka Dick Barton theme), Danse Macabre (Saint-Saëns) and In The Hall Of The Mountain King (Grieg).

 

Following the interval Mark introduced a march titled Theatreland, followed by Voices Of Spring (Strauss Jr) and Gypsy Rondo (Haydn), before updating the style with Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud.  A jazz set featuring piano and saxophone sounds, consisted of The Nearness Of You, Hit The Road Jack and Mack The Knife before a couple of melodic orchestral pieces, Nadia’s Theme (from the American television soap opera, The Young and the Restless) and the delightful theme from the film Brian’s Song (a Michel Legrand composition).  Mark then performed a series of hits from the 60s, including such numbers as I’m A Believer, Delilah, Sweet Caroline, Hey Jude and My Way.  A Rock’n’Roll medley was chosen to conclude the evening – Twisting The Night Away,Rock Around The Clock and Blue Suede Shoes – whilst Mark performed a Latin American number titled El Cumbanchero  for his inevitable encore.

 

The audience response emphatically indicated that Mark would be welcomed back.  The standard of entertainment was impressive – certainly commensurate with the Club’s recent accolade of being nominated for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.


 

15 JUNE 2017

Previous performers at the Society's concerts have travelled from many parts of the UK and from Europe … but, until this event, none had ever flown in from another planet!  However, BRETT WALES (alias Clark Kent?) had on this occasion journeyed south by road from Nottingham (and not from Krypton) to entertain the audience with a top class selection of music.

 

Brett has played concerts in Germany, the Netherlands and throughout the UK, delighting audiences wherever he performs with his own unique style and sound.  Like one of his idols, Klaus Wunderlich, he has his very own recording studio, where he continues to work on new recordings and where he strives to produce the fantastic sounds that are so much appreciated by his fans.

 

The evening began with Now We Are Free, Hans Zimmer’s dramatic theme to the 2000 film Gladiator, after which Brett performed a medley consisting of Goody Goody, On The Street Where You Live and Mack The Knife.  The next songs to feature were the Bee Gees 1971 hit, How Can You Mend A Broken Heart and Blanket On The Ground (Billie Jo Spears 1975).  The hall was dark enough for Brett to believe he could see a cultured audience – at least that was his stated reason for performing a well-loved piece of Classical music, namely Mascagni’s beautiful Intermezzo from the opera Cavalleria Rusticana.  Returning to the pop scene, he then introduced Take On Me (Norwegian band A-ha 1985) and, by way of a tribute to Klaus Wunderlich, played another medley which included They Can’t Take That Away From Me, C’est Si Bon and ABBA’s 1980 hit, Super Trouper.  The theme from Pirates Of The Caribbean, another Hans Zimmer, composition, and The Lady Is A Tramp heralded the interval – a most welcome break on a very warm summer’s night.

 

The Superman suit, with Brett inside, arrived for the second half – much to everyone’s amusement – and the entertainment was resumed.  El Bimbo (1974), in tango style, restarted the programme, followed by The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore (a 1966 hit for the Walker Brothers) and a brief Rock’Roll medley with This Ole House and Rock Around The Clock. Utilising authentic drum sounds, Brett then performed Africa – a 1982 hit for the American rock band Toto – and a brilliant rendition of Queen’s 1975 Bohemian Rhapsody, including voices that were amazingly close to the original version.  The Classical theme was revisited with The Marriage Of Figaro (Mozart) and the William Tell Overture (Rossini), followed by the Johnny Cash hit, Folsom Prison Blues, and The Sound Of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel). Elvis Presley’s recordings are always popular so I Can’t Help Falling In Love was well received, as was the theme from the 1988 Olympic Games – the Whitney Houston hit, One Moment In Time.

 

The evening had simply flown by but there was just enough time for an encore – for which Brett opted to perform a rapid collection of traditional American songs – Oh! Susanna, Deep In The Heart Of Texas,She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain andTurkey In The Straw.  So ended a most enjoyable concert – in fact, it might more appropriately be described as a ‘Super’ concert!  



18 MAY 2017

The Society’s May concert welcomed the multi-talented PETE SHAW, from near Corwen in North Wales, making his third appearance for the Club.  His many previous assignments included work in 2007 as Musical Director for Granada TV on a live broadcast called ‘Tour of Talent’, which was staged at North West seaside resorts during the summer of that year.  Later, in June 2009, he received an invitation to play at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Bala for the Bro Glyndwr Male Voice Choir.  His quality tracks and arrangements are in great demand by fellow musicians and he continues to impress club and festival audiences with his individual style of organ/keyboard playing and vocals. 

The programme began with a selection of Sambas, including Quando Quando Quando, followed by Pete’s own arrangement of The Way We Were – a song recorded by Barbra Streisand for the film of the same name.  The theatre organ sound was then introduced for Let’s Face The Music And Dance – an Irving Berlin composition – before introducing a Bossa Nova version of More, along with vocal addition. 

However, the main feature of the first half was an extensive medley of around thirty songs which Pete referred to as Strictly Musicals and Films.  The medley included Tell Me It’s Not True (from Blood Brothers), Bare Necessities (The Jungle Book), When You Wish Upon A Star (Pinocchio), and many other songs from such productions as Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, Mamma Mia, Les Misérables, Phantom Of The Opera, West Side Story, The Sound Of Music and South Pacific.  Clever improvisation enabled Pete to play an accompaniment to the recorded voices of the aforementioned Male Voice Choir for You Raise Me Up, followed by the Thunderbird March, taking the concert up to the interval. 

The second session opened with a selection of Swing music, including In The Mood (Glenn Miller), Lullaby Of Broadway and Down By The Riverside, followed by the delightful As If We Never Said Goodbye (from Sunset Boulevard) and, with vocals, You Make Me Feel So Young – a Frank Sinatra favourite.  Pete’s next number (with oboe and strings) was Gabriel’s Oboe, the haunting theme composed by Ennio Morricone for the film The Mission.  By way of contrast, this was followed by a jazz tribute to Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt with I Got Rhythm, for which a pedal solo was also employed.  Further variations included Prelude In Classic Style (with pipe organ sound), This Is The Moment (with vocals), from Jekyll and Hyde, Black And White Rag (Winifred Atwell) and, featuring the piano sound, a stunning Barbra Streisand arrangement of Somewhere from West Side Story. 

To conclude the evening, a Battle Of Britain set was performed, with 633 Squadron and The Dambusters March, and augmented by the sounds of guns, bombs and sirens!  It was no surprise that the audience demanded more and Pete duly obliged with Rule The World, written by Gary Barlow and Take That.  Pete had once sold a keyboard to a very young Gary, with whom he subsequently became firm friends; little did he realise at the time that he had contributed to such a great musical career!

 

20 APRIL 2017

Top German electronic keyboard player, CLAUDIA HIRSCHFELD, received an enthusiastic welcome as she returned to the Weyhill Fairground Hall to perform for the Club's April concert. Claudia has performed concerts throughout Europe, as well as in the USA, Brazil and the Middle East, and makes frequent appearances on television and radio.  She is often referred to as the 'Prima Ballerina' of the keyboard as it seems as if she is 'dancing' on the pedals, much like a tap dancer - thus she is able to play entire melodies with her feet!

During the course of the evening she told of her friendship with the late James Last and included several of his hits in her programme.  The concert began with L’Hymne a L’Amour (adapted into English as If You Love Me), recorded by Mireille Mathieu and a number of other vocalists, followed by one of her own compositions, Villamartin.  This tune featured the sound of the Spanish guitar and was inspired by a holiday she had spent in Costa Blanca.

A Gospel medley came next, combining Michael Row the Boat AshoreHe's Got the Whole World in His Hands and Down by the Riverside.  A Nana Mouskouri 1986 hit, Only Love, reduced the tempo before the introduction of James Last’s Happy Music.  The ever-popular Highland Cathedral was performed, utilising the familiar strains of the bagpipes, and another James Last hit, A Morning in Cornwall, featured the sound of the panpipe. The vibrant Sabre Dance (Khachaturian) highlighted the artiste’s undoubted musical ability.  Claudia then introduced Merci Chérie, the winning song for Austria in the 1966 Eurovision Song Contest, after which Waltz No.2 (Shostakovich) was given the André Rieu treatment, followed by the Radetzky March (Strauss Sr.) to arrive at the interval.

The entertainment resumed with another James Last recording, Too Fat Polka, followed by a beautiful melody titled I Belong To Me (from the Austrian musical Elisabeth), and the lively Mollmannsdorfer Polka.  By way of complete contrast, Claudia then played a traditional version of I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside after which she performed her own up-tempo Techno interpretation.  Two Classical pieces, Ave Maria (Schubert) and Toccata and Fugue in D minor (Bach), preceded Vienna City of my Dreams and her final James Last item, The Last Guest is Gone.  To conclude her programme, Claudia chose a Rock’n’Roll medley in tribute to Elvis Presley; this featured Jailhouse RockHound Dog and Blue Suede Shoes.  

The resounding applause at the end of the concert clearly demonstrated how much Claudia’s performance was appreciated and shouts for an encore were answered with The Dambusters March (ironically, Claudia lives quite near the famous dams that were bombed during the Second World War!).  Without doubt, this charming and talented lady will be welcomed back to Weyhill. Meanwhile, the Internet (YouTube) contains a fine array of Claudia’s performances to please her many fans.

 

 

16 MARCH 2017


DAVE SMITH, who lives near Bolton, was guest performer at the Society’s March concert and provided an enjoyable, well balanced programme of music.  His early career included being MD in many cabaret clubs in the Manchester area and during this time he was spotted by Eric Delaney, the famous drummer and bandleader, who appointed him as keyboardist and Musical Director, a position which Dave successfully held for two years.  During that time he was MD for stars such as Morecambe and Wise, Tony Hancock and Ken Dodd, later appearing in a Royal Command Performance in the presence of HRH Princess Margaret.


He went on to form his own band, playing in theatres and cabaret clubs around the North West, including the North Pier, Blackpool; after a spell in the retail trade, he decided to follow a solo career, performing at major cabaret venues throughout the UK and making numerous appearances on the BBC ‘Pebble Mill at One’ TV show.  He is currently the Musical Director for many stars including the very successful three tenors, ‘Tenorissimo’, and The Bachelors, to name but a few. 


The evening began with a couple of film themes, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (John Williams) and Gabriel’s Oboe (Ennio Morricone) fromThe Mission, followed by a selection of popular tunes for which the theatre organ sound was employed; including Cara Mia, Love is a Many Splendoured Thing, I’m in the Mood for Love and True Love.  Big Band music was represented by a Count Basie arrangement of April in Paris whilst Crazy (a Willie Nelson composition) provided yet another style of music.  Next came the evocative theme from Schindler’s List (another John Williams composition) and the first half concluded with a trio of Mario Lanza hits – The Loveliest Night of the Year, Funiculi, Funicula and With a Song in My Heart.     


Resuming the entertainment, Dave introduced The Rhythm of Life, from the musical Sweet Charity, and the theme from Beauty and the Beast, followed by a catchy tune titled Guaglione (a theme performed by Perez Prado and used as a TV advert).  A Strauss medley in the style of André Rieu – and including The Blue Danube – was then performed whilst Blue Moon provided a little more jazz.  By way of brief variation Dave then produced a keytar (a lightweight electronic keyboard shaped a little like a guitar) to play Amor, Amor, Amor (a Julio Iglesias hit).  Returning to his main instrument he continued with Puccini's famous aria, Nessun Dorma (from the opera Turandot) which was, as ever, much appreciated.

 

A well supported sing-along session preceded the concert finale – Dave’s ‘pièce de résistance’ – his own compilation which he titled ‘Armistice’; this incorporated The Last Post, the Dambusters March, the theme from the film 633 Squadron – and even the sound of air raid sirens!  McArthur Park provided an excellent encore to conclude yet another great evening – although for the artiste another lengthy journey lay ahead.

 

16 FEBRUARY 2017

The Society’s February concert was performed by MICHAEL WOOLDRIDGE from Littlehampton. Michael is one of England's top electronic and theatre organists, having worked with many top celebrities as well as staging his own musical productions.and summer shows.

 

The programme contained a number of medleys, interspersed with a wide variation of music to suit most tastes.  Opening with Button Up Your Overcoat (appropriate seasonal advice), Michael continued with What I Did for Love (from A Chorus Line) and a selection from The Sound of Music, including the main theme, along with Edelweiss,My Favourite Things and Climb Every Mountain.  The ever-popular Blue Danube (Strauss Jr.) was then performed, followed by the introduction of the Wurlitzer sound for Lara’s Theme, from the film Dr Zhivago, and Is it True What They Say About Dixie.

 

A collection of Buddy Holly songs met with wholehearted approval from the audience; the numbers featured were That’ll Be the Day, Peggy Sue, True Love Ways, Raining in My Heart and Oh Boy.  It was then time for another Classical piece, namely The Poet and Peasant Overture (Franz von Suppé), after which Michael played a Latin American medley, including The Coffee Song, El Cumbanchero and One Note Samba.  The first half concluded with You’ll Never Walk Alone (from Carousel), in the style of Gerry and the Pacemakers.

 

The entertainment resumed with Seventy-Six Trombones (from The Music Man), played in march time, and March of the Toreadors from Carmen (Bizet). Another popular tune, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, from The Wizard of Oz, preceded a Glenn Miller selection – At Last, Little Brown Jug, Serenade in Blue, Tuxedo Junction, In the Mood and Moonlight Serenade.  Michael then introduced the church organ sound for Toccata for Organ, the theme music for BBC TV’s ‘Songs of Praise’ (Robert Prizeman).

 

In complete contrast, the themes to Star Trek and Star Wars were then played, with Eric Delaney arrangements, after which a little jazz was introduced by way of Sweet Georgia Brown.  Time for the finale had arrived, almost unnoticed, for which Michael aptly performed a tribute to Elvis Presley (commemorating 40 years since the artiste’s untimely death).  Songs selected were Heartbreak Hotel, Blue Suede Shoes, Teddy Bear, Love Me Tender, Suspicious Minds, Wooden Heart, All Shook Up, Hound Dog, I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You and, An American Trilogy.      

 

After such an enjoyable evening an encore was inevitable and Michael duly obliged with the Radetzky March (Johann Strauss Sr.).  The audience clapped along and then afforded their guest performer a well-earned ovation.
 
 

19 JANUARY 2017

The Society’s first concert of the year was well attended, considering the bitterly cold weather, and the entertainment provided by guest artiste TONY STACE did much to warm the hearts. Tony, who had travelled from Northallerton, certainly deserved the excellent welcome he was given with a well balanced choice of music and several amusing anecdotes.

 

The concert began with a calypso, followed by Spring Serenade (a John Walker composition) and a Louis Clark style ‘Hooked on Classics’ selection, featuring compositions of Mozart, Schubert and Purcell.  Tony then introduced a set of hits from the 50s and 60s – Bobby’s Girl (Susan Maughan), Dream Lover (Bobby Darin), Diana (Paul Anka), 24 Hours from Tulsa (Gene Pitney) and La Bamba (Ritchie Valens).  The next items in the programme were a Latin American medley, including Desifinado and Mambo Jambo, and a couple of film themes, Beauty and the Beast (TV series) and Superman. 

 

The concert continued with Ave Maria (Bach), after which the accordion sound was introduced for the Bel Viso polka.  The ever-popular Radetzky March (Strauss Sr.) was then performed and two popular James Last compositions – The Lonely Shepherd and A Morning in Cornwall – were very well received.  The first half was completed by I Know Him So Well (from the musical ‘Chess’) and the Annen Polka (Strauss Jr.). 

 

Tony resumed after the interval with a selection of waltzes – The Blue Danube (Strauss Jr.), The Skaters’ Waltz (Waldteufel), Roses from the South (Strauss Jr.) and Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky).  A brief medley of Harry Warren compositions, including I’ll String Along With You, preceded Klaus Wunderlich Latin American arrangements, Amapola and El Cumbanchero, and a rarely-heard Excursion Train Polka (another Strauss Jr. composition). 

 

The sound of the Classical organ was then utilised for Prelude in Classic Style (Gordon Young) and Tuba Tune in D Major (C S Lang). A popular Sousa march, Stars and Stripes Forever, was next to feature whilst, in complete contrast, a couple of Winifred Attwell ragtime hits – namely the Jubilee Rag and the Coronation Rag – further demonstrated Tony’s keyboard skills.   

 

After a brief sing-along session, it was time for an encore.  Tony opted for a collection of traditional music, such as Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory, to conclude the evening’s entertainment.  He informed the audience that his travels were not yet over as he was flying off for a holiday in Lanzarote the following day – and nobody could deny that he certainly deserved the break.     

 

 

15 DECEMBER 2016

 

The Society’s final concert of the year had a strong Christmas flavour and understandably attracted a good attendance.  Guest artiste was NICHOLAS MARTIN, BEM, from Leicestershire, one of the Club’s most popular performers. 

Nick, as he is usually known, has two teenage sons, both of whom are afflicted with autism, and this inspired him and his wife to found a charity for autistic children.  Nick is the main fundraiser for the cause, collecting donations at many of his musical engagements and, since the Charity’s inception, over £300,000 has been raised to help autistic children and their families.  In recognition of his efforts he was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list on 31 December 2014 – and the Club is proud to have played a part in regularly contributing to this fun-raising. 

The audience was kept entertained throughout with a varied selection of music and by the artiste’s occasional cheeky sense of humour.  After his signature tune, Hey Look Me Over, Nick opened the concert with a couple of marches, Entry Of The Gladiators and Aces High, followed by the lively Circus Renz and Angel in Blue – a tune that had featured in the Club’s formation.   

The Warsaw Concerto, composed by Richard Addinsell (who had connections with Appleshaw many years ago), was next to be performed, introducing Classical music to proceedings.  The Wurlitzer sound was then employed for a selection of popular Christmas songs, beginning with Merry Christmas Everyone (Shakin’ Stevens) followed by Silver Bells (Jim Reeves) and Mistletoe And Wine (Cliff Richard).  

Reverting to orchestral mode, Nick continued the festive theme with It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, When A Child Is Born, Let It Snow, Deck The Halls and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. In complete contrast a waltz was introduced – Roses From The South (Strauss Jr.) – together with I Dreamed A Dream (from Les Miserables) and another popular Classical composition, Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni).  The interval was fast approaching but there was sufficient time for Nick to perform his ‘party piece’, Twelfth Street Rag, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Sinatra) and the energy-sapping Dizzy Fingers.   

After a break for festive refreshments, the second half began with The Blue Danube (Strauss Jr.) and a Dixieland number, Muskrat Ramble, before continuing with the previous blend of Christmas songs and carols, along with other popular tunes, many of which prompted the audience to join in.  I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town preceded Unchained Melody (Righteous Brothers) and the Skaters Waltz, followed by The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting).   Nick continued with three more seasonal tunes – It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (Andy Williams), Walking In The Air (from The Snowman) and A Winter’s Tale (David Essex) – and took great delight in playing the Post Horn Galop, signature tune of his beloved Leicester City Football Club!

A brief Latin American diversion, consisting of Cavaquinho and Tico Tico, was followed by a number of traditional carols – the selection featuring O Come All Ye Faithful, Once In Royal David’s City, The First Nowell and Once In Royal David’s City – after which a few more Christmas favourites were performed; White Christmas, Winter Wonderland and Sleigh Ride were the chosen tunes.  You’ll Never Walk Alone (from Carousel) and The Holy City were followed by a clever combination of Jingle Bells, Tiger Rag and Widor’s Toccata, whilst proceedings were concluded with Frank Sinatra’s My Way as an encore.  So ended a most enjoyable evening, appreciated by the entire audience.

 

17 NOVEMBER 2016

 
The Society’s November concert featured ANDREW NIX, from Selby in North Yorkshire.  At the age of 17, Andrew was appointed Keyboardist and Musical Director for a theatre group performing at Butlins, Barry Island and he is now one of the busiest performers on the circuit.  His music is designed to suit most tastes, played in a refreshing style and presented with his own brand of light-hearted, cheeky Yorkshire humour.

The evening began with the High School Cadets march, followed by She (Charles Aznavour), Telstar (a 1962 No 1 for The Tornados) and Ghost Riders in the Sky (Frankie Laine and others).  The Chris de Burgh 1986 hit, The Lady in Red, preceded a Sigmund Romberg selection which included the Drinking SongWhen I Grow Too Old to Dream and Stout-Hearted Men.  Andrew then introduced the ever-popular Highland Cathedral, complete with the sound of the bagpipes, and Bel Viso, a lively polka often heard played on the accordion. 

The Bette Midler hit, The Rose, from the 1979 film of the same name, was then performed, followed by a medley of bird-related tunes such as The Red Red RobinA Nightingale Sang in Berkeley SquareThe Ugly Duckling,Mockin’ Bird Hill and Bye Bye Blackbird – all performed in Wurlitzer style – at which point the interval had arrived.

After the refreshments break the concert resumed with It’s Only a Paper Moon and an ABBA selection featuring Dancing QueenGimme! Gimme! Gimme!Mamma Mia and Thank You for the Music.  Continuing with music from the 70s, Andrew then performed The Impossible Dream (from Man of La Mancha) and utilising a Dixieland piano sound he went on to play The Wedding of the Painted Doll from the 1920s. 

Adele’s hit, Make You Feel My Love, was well received as were the two Shadows’ numbers, Dance On and Foot Tapper.  Another Bette Midler song, Wind Beneath My Wings, was next to feature, followed by a medley of Disney music from Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book.  All too soon the entertainment was completed, except that Andrew responded to shouts of ‘more’ with a couple of Latin American tunes – Brazil and El Cumbanchero – and sent everyone home in a happy mood.  


 
20 OCTOBER 2016 

An excellent attendance at the Society’s October concert – including the Mayor of Test Valley, Cllr. Karen Hamilton – witnessed top class entertainment provided by former ITV’s ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ finalist JEAN MARTYN.  A full range of music was performed, accompanied by numerous anecdotes, mainly relating to Jean’s experiences during and after her ‘life-changing’ TV appearances.

Jean opened the concert with the rapid Circus Renz before introducing a contrastingly placid item, Rodrigo’s Guitar Concerto.  Next on the musical agenda was Fools Rush In, performed in two different styles – the Larry Adler harmonica sound and, with an increased tempo, Stephane Grapelli’s violin.  A selection from The Sound Of Music brought the full orchestral sound of Jean’s instrument into play; along with the title song, the numbers played were Do-Re-MiThe Lonely Goatherd and Climb Every Mountain.

Toes were tapping as Jean performed a medley comprising When The Saints Go Marching InRock Around The ClockSweet Georgia Brown and Don’t Bring Lulu.  The next few numbers had been popularised by The Shadows, Cleo Laine, The Animals, Adam Faith and Elvis Presley – a wide enough choice to please most of the listeners – and the ‘Blackpool Sound’ (of the famous Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer) was utilised for Blaze AwayTwelfth Street RagWish Me Luck and Rule Britannia.  A tribute to Dame Vera Lynn, who Jean had accompanied on grand piano at a charity concert in St James’s Palace, consisted of Yours and We’ll Meet Again, whilst the first half ended with a fine performance of the Warsaw Concerto.

After the interval, at the request of the Mayor, Jean performed her famous BGT Great Balls Of Fire number and continued with Barry Manilow’s Can’t Smile Without You.  Her supreme talent as a pianist was clearly demonstrated by the performance of Rachmaninov's delightful Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini and an entirely different piano tune titled The Robin’s Return.  Reverting back to Classical mode, Jean then played Dvorak’s New World Symphony (also known as Going Home) before enticing a sing-along with another Wurlitzer medley.

Recounting the occasion when she appeared with Aled Jones on ‘Songs of Praise’, Jean then reprised What A Friend We Have In Jesus before playing a popular selection from Les Miserables – On My OwnI Dreamed A DreamMaster Of The House and Bring Him Home.  Time had simply flown by and the concert was reaching its conclusion, for which three popular tunes were chosen – The Way We Were (Barbra Streisand), Send In The Clowns (Judy Collins) and Your Song (Elton John). As if a reminder was necessary, Jean performed We Need A Little Christmas (a Johnny Mathis recording) followed by the inevitable encore, a rapid trio consisting of Flight Of The BumblebeeTrish Trash Polka and Offenbach’s Can Can.

Jean commented that the Weyhill club was special to her – and no doubt, after such an enjoyable evening, the audience reciprocated those sentiments.
 
 

15 SEPTEMBER 2016

The audience attending the Society’s September concert defied the threat of thunderstorms and were well-rewarded. Visiting artiste MATTHEW BASON, from Northamptonshire, demonstrated his various talents to provide full value entertainment. 

Apart from demonstrating his adept keyboard skills, Matthew performed on his accordion, exercised his fine tenor voice and interacted with the audience with a cheeky sense of humour. 

The first half began with a Latin American medley, including a couple of Edmundo Ros numbers – the Wedding Samba and the Choo Choo Samba – followed by The Girl From Ipanema and a trio of piano ragtime tunes, Do-Wacka-Do, Twelfth Street Rag and the Black And White Rag.  Matthew then accompanied himself as he sang a selection from Oklahoma and Bring Him Home from Les Miserables.  The piano sound was utilised for The Dream of Olwen and the organ sound was employed for the Chorus Of The Hebrew Slaves (from Verdi’s opera Nabucco).  

As the interval approached, Matthew performed a couple of Carpenters’ hits – Top Of The World and Jambalaya – followed by a welcome collection of popular Country music tunes; the selection included such numbers as Ring Of Fire, My Best Friend, Your Cheatin’ Heart and Rhinestone Cowboy.  The first half was completed with the Radetzky March (Johann Strauss Snr.). 

After the break, Matthew produced his accordion to play the Beer Barrel Polka and a Scottish reel, after which he sang Don’t Laugh At Me, a song popularised by Norman Wisdom.  The keyboard featured in a Rock’n’Roll and pop music collection – and memories were stirred by the following numbers: Nut Rocker, At The Hop, I Only Want To Be With You, Let’s Twist Again, It Might As Well Rain Until September, Streets of London, Song For Guy, Tragedy, Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree, Matchstick Men And Matchstick Cats And Dogs and I Will Always Love You. 

A couple of ABBA hits – Mama Mia and Thank You For The Music – preceded The Tony Christie hit, Is This The Way To Amorillo, before Matthew sang a Beatles hit, Can’t Buy Me Love, and played a Big Band medley to bring the evening to a conclusion.  Calls for an encore were answered with the lively Circus Renz – a technically demanding galop, composed in the nineteenth century essentially for xylophone and orchestra.  
 
At times it was possible to believe that more than one person was on stage, such was Matthew's versatility.  The audience members always look forward to enjoyable entertainment ... and that's precisely what they had!  No doubt Matthew will be invited back to the Club before too long. 

 

18 AUGUST 2016

PHIL BROWN proved to be an extremely popular guest artiste at the Society’s August concert, with a well-balanced programme of melodic music.

Phil, from Derby, is a very accomplished pianist, having played the piano since he was sixteen, and having achieved various qualifications and diplomas. He has performed in the USA, Spain and Germany, and is also a busy music teacher. 

The concert began with the Radetzky March (Strauss Snr.), with the audience clapping to the beat, followed by a couple of tunes with a Scottish flavour – Skye Boat Song, Mull of Kintyre – plus Amazing Grace, for which the Band of the Royal Scots Dragoons Guards are renowned. Latin American music was next to feature, with Amor Amor Amor, after which the tempo slowed for Rodrigo’s Guitar Concerto.

By way of further variety, a Western film theme was performed – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (Ennio Morricone) – followed by James Last’s version of So Eine Liebe Ggibt Es Einmal Nur (roughly translated as ‘There Is such a love only once’).  From the comparative tranquility of this delightful tune, Phil increased the pace by playing the Sabre Dance (Khachaturian) before returning to another melodic piece associated with James Last and André Rieu, Roses from The South (a Strauss Jr. composition).

A slow melody titled Amore Grande, Amore Libero preceded a couple of pop tunes – Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (Neil Sedaka) and Mandy (Barry Manilow), whilst the first half was concluded with a series of marches, namely Blaze Away,Washington Post, Funiculi Funicula, 663 Squadron and The Dambusters March.

The second half opened with a lively medley, the tunes being Is This The Way To Amarillo (a Tony Christie recording), I Only Want To Be With You (Dusty Springfield), Rivers Of Babylon (Boney M) and Rhinestone Cowboy (Glen Campbell).  Puccini’s O Mio Bambino Caro was then performed before Phil introduced one of his ‘signature’ tunes, Duelling Banjos from the film Deliverance.

The concert continued with a selection of Classical pieces which included a number of different composers – Beethoven's 5th Symphony, a Chopin Nocturne, The Swan (Saint-Saëns), Trumpet Voluntary (Clarke), Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni), In The Hall Of The Mountain King (Grieg), Stranger In Paradise (taken from music composed by Borodin) and Grand March from Aida (Verdi).

Phil then revived memories of Demis Roussos with a couple of his well know songs – Forever And Ever and Happy To Be On An Island In The Sun – before playing a selection of music from Phantom Of The Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber). The tempo suddenly erupted with the popular Latin American number, Tico Tico, before slowing down for the delightful theme from the 1982 film Missing (Vangelis) and a well-known Verdi operatic composition, The Chorus Of The Hebrew Slaves from Nabucco.

A vibrant Rock’n’Roll medley concluded the concert – including This Old House, Green Door, Rock Around The Clock, plus Phil’s pedal and drum solos (the latter performed on his keyboard).  Shouts of ‘more’ resounded throughout the hall, to which Phil responded, employing the xylophone sound for the rapid Circus Renz.  The applause accorded to the artiste at the end of the evening spoke volumes for how much his efforts were appreciated.  Clearly it won’t be too long before Phil is asked to make a return visit.

 

21 JULY 2016

Performing for the Society’s July show was PENNY WEEDON from South Wales; popular as ever, she was making her eighth concert appearance for the Club.

Penny (LGSM, ARCO, FLCM) has enjoyed an exciting musical career which has taken her across Europe and throughout the UK.  She has performed concerts on numerous wonderful organs, not least the Wurlitzer in the Tower Ballroom at Blackpool.  She has worked as an examiner for the London College of Music and has lectured and adjudicated at most of the major keyboard festivals.  She has made numerous radio broadcasts and also writes for the specialist music press.

A refreshing aspect of the show was the inclusion of numerous pieces that were new to the audience, whilst the programme was varied to suit most musical tastes.  The first half began with Good Morning Starshine, from the musical Hair (1967), and was followed by Edvard Grieg’s MorningSpring, Spring, Spring was next to feature, albeit it out of date, along with The Folks Who Live On The Hill

You could have heard a pin drop as Penny played the delightfully tranquil Benedictus (Karl Jenkins), whilst the film theme from A Bridge Too Far was comparatively stirring – and Que Sera, Sera enticed a few members of the audience to sing along.  Another Classical piece, Lohengrin - Prelude to Act 3 (Richard Wagner), was performed before Penny produced her accordion, on which she played (in her words) a German ‘beer-swilling’ song!  Returning to the keyboard, she then utilised both piano and orchestral sounds for Autumn Leaves and ended the session with Quando Quando, followed by Van McCoy’s The Hustle (1975).

Returning after the refreshment break, Penny opened with an unusual piece titled Primavera (translated as Spring), composed by Ludovico Einaudi, and performed an excerpt from Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto.  She then introduced one of John Barry’s lesser known compositions, Moviola, an emotive tune from the film Across The Sea of Time, after which she played No Honestly, the theme from a TV series with the same title.  After That’s Entertainment (from The Band Wagon), Penny played The Writing’s On The Wall, the theme from the James Bond film, Spectre (a vocal recorded by Sam Smith in 2015) and another John Barry masterpiece, the melodic Somewhere In Time, from the film of the same name. 

The audience also heard a selection from Easter Parade, followed by Kumbayah and Stevie Wonder’s For Once In My Life.  Penny then replicated the sound of a synthesizer to perform Reverie (from Isao Tomita’s Snowflakes Are Dancing album), followed by Wichita Lineman (a 1968 hit for Glen Campbell) and Lord of The DanceThe Last Farewell (Roger Whittaker) was selected as the encore – although it is most unlikely to be a final goodbye as far as Penny is concerned.

 

16 JUNE 2016

IAN HOUSE was the guest artiste for the Society’s June concert and the audience enjoyed a masterclass of varied musical entertainment.  

Ian, from Midsomer Norton (not the scene of so many TV murders!), first performed for the Club in 2008, at the age of 19, and his progression was so pleasing to witness.  He has played keyboards since the age of seven and in 2003 won the National Young Theatre Organist of the Year competition; he also competed in the International version of the competition, winning both Junior and Intermediate divisions.  Now, not only is he an extremely proficient keyboard player but, since 2011, he has been working for Yamaha as a National Piano and Keyboard specialist.  Apart from travelling throughout the UK, performing on and promoting Yamaha keyboard products, his work has also involved several visits to Japan. 

The concert replicated sounds ranging from flute and piano to saxophone, clarinet and Big Band – and the styles consisted of ballads, musicals, orchestral, marches, pop music, film music and instrumental.  

The evening began with an excellent version of James Last’s Games That Lovers Play, followed by Aquarius from the musical, Hair.  In complete contrast came Phil Coulter’s Home Away From Home, a beautiful sound featuring piano and flute.  A further range of sounds – guitar, piano, harmonica and drums – was utilised for Lay Down Sally (Eric Clapton) and These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ (Nancy Sinatra). 

Ian then opted for a march,Blaze Away, before introducing the ballad Make You Feel My Love (Adele), complete with voice.  That’s All (a Nat King Cole hit), with saxophone predominant, was next on the ‘agenda’, followed by a Big Band version of Come Fly With Me and a slightly updated performance of Elizabethan Serenade.  To conclude the first half, Ian selected his own arrangement of the lively Tico Tico, involving speedy work on the pedals. 

Suitably refreshed, Ian returned to the stage and opened the second half with 1492: Conquest Of Paradise (Vangelis), followed by Sugar Baby Love, a 70s pop hit for The Rubettes.  The tone then changed as Ian introduced Benedictus, from The Armed Man mass (Karl Jenkins), and Amazing Grace (aided by voices).  Dusty Springfield was remembered with I Only Want To Be With You, after which the accordion sound came into play with a polka titled Bel Viso, another rapid-fire tune. 

John Denver’s Annie’s Song was performed with an André Rieu arrangement and Fly Me To The Moon featured clarinet, saxophone and piano within the Big Band sound.  The evening had elapsed so swiftly and it was too soon time for the final piece; Dolly Parton’s Nine To Five (from the 1980 film) – except that the inevitable encore was demanded, for which Ian selected the catchy Canadian Capers (a song that Doris Day had recorded way back in 1949). 

It was obvious that Ian had carefully planned his programme to suit many tastes and he received enthusiastic acclaim at the end of the evening.  The Club certainly looks forward to a return visit from this talented and dedicated player.



19 MAY 2016

The Society’s May concert featured JAMES GOFF, a vastly experienced musician from Newport Pagnell, making his second visit to the Club.  Apart from being an accomplished pianist, keyboard player and recording artist, James also has his own band.

He began his professional career playing at Pontins holiday camps and has performed in a number of night clubs around the country, accompanying some of the big name cabaret acts such as Tommy Cooper, Bob Monkhouse, Tommy Trinder, Billy Fury and many more.  As well as having performed on various cruises, his band was also engaged by Mecca International to play at several of their top nightspots.

Throughout the evening James interacted superbly with his audience, with a few jokes and anecdotes, and encouraged the occasional sing-a-long.  After an appropriate opening – The Weyhill March – James continued with a short medley including Put On A Happy Face and Cabaret.  This was followed by a Beatles number, Can’t Buy Me Love, and a delightful selection of Henry Mancini compositions, including The Pink Panther Theme, The Days Of Wine And Roses,Baby Elephant Walk and Moon River.

In Big Band style, came Big Noise From Winnetka, after which James performed a couple of tunes with an Italian flavour – O Sole Mio and Volare, after which the audience heard What Now My Love (with the recurring musical pattern of the Bolero in the background).  Wonderful Land was selected to remind everyone of The Shadows and by sheer coincidence (perhaps) the Louis Armstrong hit, Wonderful World arrived immediately afterwards.

James chose to include several medleys in his repertoire and his next collection included Red Roses For A Blue Lady, I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby and Me And My Girl.  Big Band music was featured with Moonlight Serenade before Apache, another Shadows hit, was played.  A trio of memorable tunes consisted of Blue Moon, Misty and Georgia and the first half was concluded with a couple of Spanish songs, Lady Of Spain and Viva España.

Following the interval, a comprehensive selection of film themes was introduced – including Star Wars, Moulin Rouge, You Only Live Twice, Dr Zhivago, The Countess From Hong Kong (a song titled This Is My Song written by Charlie Chaplin), Never On Sunday and Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid.

A brief sing-a-long included such songs as Slow Boat To China, Charmaine and The Lambeth Walk, before the haunting theme from the film Once Upon A Time In The West.  Another medley consisted of Ma, He’s Making Eyes At Me, Baby Face,Alexander’s Ragtime Band and If You Knew Susie, after which the audience was treated to a rarely heard collection of 60s hits for The Seekers – and who can forget Georgie Girl, The Carnival Is Over, Island Of Dreams, Kumbaya, Blowing In The Wind and I’ll Never Find Another You?

For his final selection James returned to the Big Band sound for Hot Toddy (a favourite for the Ted Heath Band) and The A Train (Glenn Miller).  An encore was requested and the response was the Vera Lynn song, We’ll Meet Again.



21 APRIL 2016

 

Performing for the Society’s April concert was CHIHO SUNAMOTO, from North Shields, ably assisted by her partner, Jon Smith.

Chiho, who has often been described as the Vanessa Mae of the organ and keyboard world, always brings a breath of fresh air to the music scene.  Originally from Matsuyama, in the South of Japan, Chiho has lived in England since 1986.  She began by learning the piano at the age of three, progressing at the age of nine to the local Yamaha Music School to learn the art of organ playing.

During her time at St. Katerina University, where she studied opera singing, piano and classical organ, she became one of the youngest players to pass Yamaha's top exam, Grade 3 Music Diploma.  On two occasions, Chiho was a finalist in the Yamaha Electone (organ) Festival, which led to offers of work from Yamaha as an overseas demonstrator and contracts with two of Japan's major TV stations where she composed and performed for a variety of shows.  After leaving University, Chiho continued to tour as an overseas demonstrator for Yamaha, performing in over forty countries.

The show was opened with a selection of Big Band numbers; firstly Sing Sing Sing (a Benny Goodman recording) and then a trio of Glenn Miller favourites – Little Brown Jug,In The Mood and Moonlight Serenade.  In complete contrast was the ABBA favourite, Mama Mia, before Chiho introduced April in Weyhill, performed as April in Paris (!), followed by the Main Theme from Star Wars (John Williams).

Film music was next to feature, in the form of Cinema Paradiso (Ennio Morricone), after which Chiho paid tribute to David Bowie with Life on Mars (Rick Wakeman’s arrangement).  A Latin American flavour was added with a performance of Tequila before Chiho sang Pure Imagination, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Jon Smith then came on stage to sing You Make Me Feel So Young and Young at Heart, both accompanied by Chiho on keyboard.

Jon then took to the keyboard to perform White Cliffs of Dover, Yours and We’ll Meet Again – a tribute to Vera Lynn – after which he combined with Chiho, on separate keyboards, to play A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square and Tea for Two.  Time seemed to have passed very quickly as Chiho took the show up to the interval with a Classical piece, Die Fledermaus (Johann Strauss).

The second half opened with Mame and It Don’t Mean a Thing, followed by a couple of numbers with equine connections, Comedians’ Gallop and a unique version of Camptown Races.  The Beatles are often featured in such concerts and on this occasion Eleanor Rigby and Get Back were the selections.  Jon Smith then returned to the stage to sing I’ve Got You Under My Skin (to Chiho’s accompinament), followed by Love Me Tender and What a Wonderful World, the latter being performed by Jon on his small Melodica instrument whilst Chiho amusingly mimicked Louis Armstrong with his trumpet!

With two keyboards in unison, the duo completed the concert with Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered (a Richard Rodgers composition), I Got Rhythm (George Gershwin) and, for the finale, Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance.  Aptly, to calls for an encore, Jon sang and Chiho played That’s All.  Sadly, that was indeed all but the duo will hopefully be making a return visit.


17 MARCH 2016

Performing for the Society’s March concert was KEVIN GRUNILL, from Scarborough, marking the final appearance of his 25th Anniversary tour.

Kevin’s musical education included studying at a performing arts college before furthering his skills at Leeds University where, in 1994, he gained a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree in music.  Since graduating from University, he has performed at many of the country's major musical venues, including the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Royal Festival Hall in London, as well as the Opera House and Tower Ballroom in Blackpool.  In 1997 he was appointed as resident organist at the North Pier, Blackpool, where he entertained hundreds of thousands of holiday-makers until 2005. During that period he was also one of the resident organists at the Tower Ballroom. 

One of his main interests is the history and construction of the theatre organ. In 1994, he installed a Compton organ in the Penistone Paramount in South Yorkshire, where it is used on a regular basis for film and concert events and in March 2001 Pennine Yorkshire Tourism awarded Kevin's shows with the prestigious 'Visitor Attraction of the Year' award.

Kevin set the show in motion with an appropriate tune, That’s Entertainment, before introducing one of Adele’s big hits, To Make You Feel My Love, followed by a selection of Irish tunes to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.  A rarely heard song, titled I’m a Fool to Want You (written by Frank Sinatra) was next to feature, after which Kevin selected a toe-tapping Henry Mancini composition titled Pie In The Face Polka (from the film The Great Race).  Another relatively unknown song was next to be introduced – This Heart of Mine (Harry Warren) from the Ziegfeld Follies film.

The sound of the Theatre Pipe Organ was introduced for a couple of marches, followed by The Night Has a Thousand Eyes (Bobby Vee), Around The World (Matt Monro) and Baby Face (recorded by Bobby Darin and Brenda Lee, amongst others).  Kevin then performed a selection from Stage and Screen to complete the first half:  If I loved You (from Carousel), Get Me to The Church on Time (My Fair Lady), Somewhere Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz) and the Theme from Phantom of the Opera.  

After the interval Kevin performed a Big Band medley, including Something’s Got to Give and Dancing Cheek to Cheek, before introducing a delightful but almost unknown ballad – Make the World a Little Younger – recorded by Shirley Bassey in 1973.  Another selection of marches was then played, prior to an excellent rendition of the Londonderry Air.  Kevin then replicated the sound of the Mighty Wurlitzer in the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool; tunes featured included I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire,I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, Pasadena,Who’s Sorry Now and Somebody Stole My Gal.

Suddenly, it was almost time to end the concert and Kevin decided to close with a selection from Les Miserables, including I Dreamed a Dream, Master of the House,Bring Him Home and Do You Hear the People Sing?  After such a great performance it was obvious that an encore would be demanded – for which Kevin opted for a Classical arrangement titled Hooked on Can Can. Following such an entertaining evening, there is no doubt that Kevin will be invited to return to Weyhill for a future concert.


18 FEBRUARY 2016

 

As expected, this concert proved to be an exhibition of supreme talent displayed by the highly qualified performer, CHRIS STANBURY 

Chris, from Carshalton in Surrey, studied at the London College of Music where he succeeded in passing his Fellowship diploma (FLCM) in June 2001.  He completed his Bachelor of Music degree a year later, gaining a First Class Honours certificate, and then went on to complete a further year of study to obtain a post-graduate MMus qualification in 2003.  In 2005, he was appointed as a Music Examiner for the College and now travels throughout the UK to music exam centres; he also teaches organ, keyboards and piano at the College on a part-time basis. 

The evening began with The Raiders March (from the film ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’) followed by Sleepy Shores, the 1972 TV theme from ‘Owen MD’. The Thunder and Lightning Polka (Johann Straus II) raised the tempo, which was further enhanced by a medley of Rock’n’Roll numbers – Rock Around the Clock (Bill Haley), Blue Suede Shoes (Elvis Presley) and Let’s Twist Again (Chubby Checker).  A calmer tone was introduced by way of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s As If We Never Said Goodbye (from the musical ‘Sunset Boulevard’).    

Big Band music was represented by a trio of Glenn Miller tunes – Moonlight Serenade, Little Brown Jug and In The Mood – and continued with a Ted Heath arrangement of Swingin’Shepherd Blues.  Chris then introduced a nostalgic selection of bygone BBC Radio tunes such as Puffin’ Billy (the theme for ‘Children’s Favourites’), Nelly the Elephant, Coronation Scot (the ‘Paul Temple’ theme) and The Devil’s Galop (theme for ‘Dick Barton – Special Agent’).  Further nostalgia ensued with a few tunes associated with Max Bygraves –You’re a Pink Toothbrush, Things Ain’t What They Used To Be, You Need Hands and Tulips from Amsterdam

A brilliant rendition of the difficult Brazilian piece, Tico Tico, preceded a memory-testing ‘Dreamboats and Petticoats’ selection,  featuring Walk Don’t Run – the ‘Juke Box Jury’ signature theme – Do You Wanna Dance,Bobby’s Girl, Poetry in Motion and Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen.  Suddenly it was time for a break – although it seemed the session had hardly begun!  

The second half began with the rapid Circus Renz (an André Rieu favourite), followed by a Matt Monro hit, On a Clear Day, and the Burt Bacharach composition, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.  Rarely a concert goes by without a song from ‘Les Miserables’ and there was to be no exception –I Dreamed a Dream being the selection on this occasion.  Listeners were then transported to the Sixties and a delightful medley of Dusty Springfield hits: I Only Want to be With You, Island of Dreams, Goin’ Back, I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten and You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me made up the selection. 

The music of Queen is often featured – and this time it was the ever-popular Bohemian Rhapsody – after which Chris returned to one of his favourite styles, namely Big Band.  Sing, Sing, Sing (Benny Goodman), Skylark (Hoagy Carmichael), Hot Toddy and East of the Sun (both Ted Heath arrangements) completed the set – and the concert.

Calls from the audience demanded an encore and Chris duly obliged with the ultimate Classical piece – Tchaikovsky’s1812 Overture.  The tremendous acclaim clearly suggested that this artiste would not be absent from Weyhill for too long.    


21 JANUARY 2016

 

The Society’s January concert undoubtedly provided a great start to the year.  The music was provided by STEVE HUBBLE, from Broadmayne in Dorset, making his second appearance for the Club, and the amazing sounds produced by his instrument clearly indicated how much preparation had gone into the programme.  Steve’s orchestral arrangements were particularly impressive from the outset and continued right though the evening.

A powerful orchestral rendition of Somewhere (from West Side Story) opened the concert, followed by a Big Band version of Come Fly With Me (a Frank Sinatra hit).  A John Barry composition was next to feature – the delightful, descriptive theme titled I Had a Farm in Africa from the film Out of Africa.  The variation of music continued with Mas Que Nada, in Samba style, after which Steve performed a Bossa Nova titled Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars).  Another Big Band item was then introduced – Ted Heath’s Hot Toddy – before the amazing orchestral sounds returned for a brief selection from The Sound of Music, namely Do-Re-Mi, My Favourite Things and Climb Every Mountain.

A rarely heard tune was then performed – the theme music from the film Pearl Harbour, featuring the saxophone sound; the piece is titled There You’ll Be and has been recorded by Faith Hill.  In contrast, possibly the most recognisable clarinet tune was next to be featured – Acker Bilk’s Stranger on the Shore – followed by another piece of film music, titled Arthur’s Theme (or Best That You Can Do), with a guitar sound to the fore.  Frankie Valli and Andy Williams both recordedCan’t Take My Eyes Off You, which was the next song to be played, whilst Pure Imagination from the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film was fairly new to the audience.  Steve concluded the first half with a surprise number – his own arrangement of the Club’s signature tune.  What was originally titled Weyhill Fair became the Weyhill Overture with a vibrant rendition.   

The show resumed in dramatic fashion – with Richard Burton’s recorded voice preceding The Eve of the War (from Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds). Misty, a popular tune around the circuit, began with piano, to which clarinet and trumpet sounds were added, and another rare item followed on, namely a Joe Loss number titled Papa Yo Kiero (translated as Papa I love You).  Arguably, one of John Barry’s best compositions, the John Dunbar Theme from the film Dances With Wolves, was next on the programme and Steve’s propensity for performing something ‘new’ was exemplified with an up-tempo number titled Why Haven’t I Heard From You (a Reba McEntire recording), for which Hammond organ and brass sounds were utilised.

The audience was then ‘transported’ to the Wild West as the theme music for Once Upon a Time in the West (Ennio Morricone) was played, sounding so close to the original tune.  Steve then introduced a big medley of Show tunes, which he referred to as his ‘Broadway Overture’.  Shows represented included Mack and Mabel, Jesus Christ Superstar,South Pacific, Sunset Boulevard, La Cage aux Folles,Mame, Oklahoma, Phantom of the Opera and West Side Story – at the conclusion of which the audience applauded and cheered loudly!

All too soon, it was time to bring the show to its finale – for which Steve selected Duelling Banjos from the film Deliverance, and then chose New York, New York for a well deserved encore.  A most enjoyable evening ... and an addition to the list of favourite artistes!


17 DECEMBER 2015

 

‘Entertainment’was the key word for the Society’s December concert – and guest artiste PAUL CARMAN, from Leicestershire, produced an excellent programme to delight everyone.

Initially, music was not Paul’s only passion and as a keen footballer he had a trial for Leicester City on the same day as school friend Gary Lineker.  However, he decided there was more potential in music on the basis that only a chosen few made a successful career in football.  He has spent the last twenty-three years as a demonstrator, a position that has seen him perform in Australia, New Zealand, USA, China and most of Europe.to delight everyone.

A feature of Paul’s concert was his very relaxed style and his keen sense of humour.  His anecdotes and jokes kept the audience amused throughout the evening and his choice of music, including a couple of vocal renditions, was very well received. 

The concert began with a couple of Latin American tunes – Quando Quando and Mambo Jambo – followed by the easily recognisable clarinet sound for Acker Bilk’s Stranger on the Shore.  Next to feature was Eye Level, the theme from the TV series, Van der Valk before Paul paid tribute to the sadly-missed James Last with The Lonely Shepherd, complete with the sounds of pan pipes and guitar.  Another well known tune, El Condor Paso (Simon and Garfunkel) was introduced, along with a tune from the Dance Band era, namely Deep Purple, with saxophone and clarinet sounds predominant.

Paul then played and sang Smile – a Charlie Chaplin composition – and continued with a hit for The Carpenters, titled Top of the World.  Next to be heard was Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, a seasonal song, usually associated with Frank Sinatra, followed by the Theme from The Godfather, with mandolin and accordion to the fore.  To wind up the first half Paul selected Red Roses for a Blue Lady, together with the familiar Bert Kaempfert sound.  

After the interval, during which everyone partook of some tasty Christmas refreshments, the concert continued with the Club’s traditional carols sing-a-long.  Thereafter, Paul performed a song recently revived by Josh Groban, What I Did For Love, from A Chorus Line (Marvin Hamlisch), and introduced the Hammond sound for Bésame Mucho.  Fond memories of the 60s came flooding back as a couple of hits from The Seekers were played – The Carnival is Over and I’ll Never Find Another You – plus a further reminder of James Last, with Mornings at Seven and Games That Lovers Play.

The concert continued with Nights in White Satin – a Justin Hayward 60s composition for the Moody Blues – before the Big Band sound was introduced for Birth of the Blues.  To conclude the evening, Paul chose to perform Frank Sinatra’s My Way and for his encore he played and sang Nat King Cole’s great hit, Unforgettable – certainly an appropriate title for a most enjoyable evening.


19 NOVEMBER 2015

The Society’s November concert incorporated a special video show, involving two large screens, either side of the stage.  The screens worked in unison, depicting both keyboard and pedals, plus the artiste’s own images, mainly of stars associated with the music being played. 

Guest artiste was DANIEL WATT from Northampton, who performed an extensive range of music – some tunes well known, others less so – that was well received by an appreciative audience.

It seems you can’t go wrong with an ABBA tune, especially Dancing Queen, which Daniel selected to begin the show.  This was followed by Besame Mucho, as sung by Andrea Bocelli, for which the piano sound featured strongly.  A completely ‘new’ song (at least to Weyhill) was then introduced, namely The Water is Wide, as recorded by Celtic Woman - an all-female Irish musical ensemble – before a Mozart composition,Rondo Alla Turka, was performed in the style of James Last.

The next tune needed little introduction – Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon and Garfunkel) but the following item was perhaps a little less well known, namely Nature Boy, as recorded by Nat King Cole.  The Second Waltz (Shostakovich) had the audience swaying side to side whilst the sound of a harmonica greeted Rainy Days And Mondays, a 1971 hit for The Carpenters.  Introducing the sound of the Wersi instrument, Daniel then performed a couple of Neil Sedaka songs – Oh Carol and Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.

The tempo slowed for a gentle tune titled Nocturne, a 1995 Eurovision winner for Norway (and Secret Garden), and Days Of Wine And Roses, a Henry Manicini composition for the 1962 film of the same name.  The first half was brought to a conclusion with Be My Love (utilising the Big Band sound) and You’ll Never Walk Alone from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel.    

Following the interval, the recorded voice of Richard Burton produced a little drama ahead of Eve Of The War from Jeff Wayne’sWar Of The Worlds, following which Daniel opted for another Carpenters’ hit, I Won’t Last A Day Without You.  A little jazz, in the style of Carol Welsman, was used for Cole Porter’s Night And Day, before another change in style in the form of Mr Blue Sky, a 1978 hit for Jeff Lynne’s ELO.  My One And Only Love, a Frank Sinatra recording from the 50s, was next to feature, followed by The Chorus Of The Hebrew Slaves from the opera Nabucco (Verdi), performed in the style of James Last.      

An Irish flavour was brought to proceedings with another song recorded by Celtic Woman, She Moved Through The Fair, followed by an Andy Williams hit, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, before the sound of the Classical Organ was employed for Purcell’sTrumpet Tune And Air.  Michael Bublé’s version of Can’t Buy Me Love preceded the final item of the concert, Caledonia, a melodic Scottish song associated with the pipes of The Black Watch.  Daniel responded to calls for an encore with a rapid Samba selection, including the well known Tico Tico.

To say there was music for everyone would be well justified and the entire production did much to promote the predominant aim of the Club – to provide melodic, easy listening music for everyone.  With current admission prices having remained unchanged for six years, the concerts are clearly good value for money.   

      

15 OCTOBER 2015

A near-capacity attendance at Weyhill’s Fairground Hall greeted DIRKJAN RANZIJN at the October concert. 

Dirk, as he is known to his many fans, has visited the Andover area on several occasions and has become extremely popular; hence he has established quite a following.  Earlier in the year he completed a series of shows for Dutch television and his performance clearly demonstrated why he had achieved such fame and success.

Dirk delighted the audience with a wide range of music throughout the evening, beginning with his own up-beat version of Love is All (recorded by Engelbert Humperdinck and Malcolm Roberts).  Commenting on one of his recent sea voyages to the UK, he then performed Slow Boat To China, followed by The Song of Ocarina, complete with the sound of pan pipes.  A couple of Elton John compositions were next to feature – Circle of Life (from The Lion King) and I’m Still Standing – after which the tone changed for the attractive theme from the 1990 film Dances With Wolves.

By way of a tribute to his fellow Countryman, Dirk then performed the Irish song The Wild Rover in the style of André Rieu.  Another change of style was introduced with a Latin American tune, strangely titled Just Another Cha ChaThe Power of Love – a 1984 hit for Jennifer Rush – was followed by another memorable film theme, from Exodus (1960).  The first half was closed with a trio of popular ABBA songs, Dancing Queen, Voulez-Vous and Super Trouper.

The second half was opened with a fanfare and the popular Elvis Presley hit, Can’t Help Falling in Love, which Dirk had arranged in Reggae style.  Unsurprisingly, a ‘new’ piece was introduced – titled Melissa (by Argentinian composer/pianist, Raul di Blasio), after which it was time for a Rock’n’Roll medley, including Let’s Have a Party, Hound Dog and Johnny Be Good.  Another Cha Cha was performed, this time Sway – a Michael Bublé recording – followed by yet another iconic film theme – Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).

Dirk then encouraged audience participation with YMCA (a hit for Village People) before performing the Kenny Rogers hit, All I Ever Need Is You, arranged in Reggae style.  Another unfamiliar but delightful tune came next – a Greek composition titled Listen (by Nikos) – after which the tempo was increased for What a Beautiful Day and Tulips from Amsterdam.  Dirk opted to close his show with a Queen medley, including Who Wants To Live Forever and We Are the Champions.

There was simply no way the audience was leaving without an encore ... so Dirk obliged with two contrasting tunes, namely Besame Mucho and Adele’s Make You Feel My Love.  Artistes with such musical passion and showmanship are a rare commodity and the standing ovation Dirk received at the end of the evening was richly deserved.  His return to Weyhill in the not too distant future is assured. 


17 SEPTEMBER 2015

IAN GRIFFIN travelled from Swansea to perform for the Club's September concert and, judging by the audience response, his appearance was certainly appreciated.                      

In 1990, Ian formed his own cabaret show band which has made several appearances on HTV's 'Friday Live' programme, featuring famous celebrities.  In 1997, he became Musical Director and Associate Producer for Pontins Keyboard Special Events at Barton Hall, Torquay and has since co-produced a number of UK keyboard festivals.  In 1998, he made recordings for several artistes appearing on ITV’s 'Stars in Their Eyes' and has performed at several organ festivals in Holland.    

The concert opened with the Ben E King hit, Spanish Harlem, after which Ian introduced a medley consisting of Lara’s Theme from the film Dr Zhivago, I’m Losing You (Brenda Lee) and, as a tribute to Cilla Black, You’re My World.  A couple of Latin American numbers, Ramona and Mambo Jambo, preceded the delightful Crystal Gayle ballad, When I Dream, and Neil Sedaka’s composition, The Miracle SongSummer Wind and It Had To Be You – both Frank Sinatra recordings – were performed in Big Band style, whilst another Sinatra hit, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, followed on.

Arguably, one of the best ballads of the 20th century, Nat King Cole’s When I Fall In Love, was performed prior to a selection of tunes from films and shows – such as Somewhere and Tonight(both from West Side Story), Bring Him Home (Les Miserables),I Talk To The Trees (Paint Your Wagon) and As Long As He Needs Me (Oliver).  Almost unnoticed, time had flown by and the interval had arrived.

The second half assumed an entirely different format as Ian had asked for audience members to write out their requests – most of which, it transpired, he was able to perform.  The selections mainly ranged from the 1950s to the 1990s, setting quite a challenge for` the artiste.  The music resumed with Is This The Way To Amarillo (a Neil Sedaka composition recorded by Tony Christie). I Dreamed A Dream (Les Miserables) and Wind Beneath My Wings (Bette Midler).  The anticipated variation continued with Always On My Mind (Willie Nelson), Words (The Bee Gees) and Cavatina (instrumental from the film, The Deer Hunter).

An inspirational and thought-provoking song was next to feature, namely What Colour Is The Wind (Charlie Landsborough), after which a change of era brought about a couple of Glenn Miller numbers, Moonlight Serenade and Little Brown Jug.  The accordion sound was heard for True Love (from the film, High Society) – and a few members of the audience sang along – whilst the title of a lesser known ABBA recording, Andante Andante, may have puzzled some members of the audience.         

A concert favourite, 1491:The Conquest of Paradise (Vangelis), from the film of the same name, was next to feature, followed by Telstar, a big 60s instrumental hit, andUnchained Melody, a song recorded by a considerable number of vocalists.  Ian then went on to perform Whistle Down The Wind, the main theme from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, before introducing the unmistakable refrain of the bagpipes for another concert favourite, Highland Cathedral.  The accordion sound was produced for Moon River (from the film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s) and I Wanna Be Like You (from The Jungle Book) provided a totally different tempo.

The audience was obviously fond of film music as the next selection was the theme from The Way We Were (Barbra Streisand), before a jazzed-up version of Blueberry Hill (Fats Domino) was played.  A melody which played an indirect part in the Club’s formation – back in 2002 – namely Angel In Blue, was next on the list, followed by yet another film theme – from the memorable Western, Once Upon A Time In The West. The songs,Memory and No Matter What suggested that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s compositions were popular, after which John Lennon was remembered with the performance of Imagine.  

Perhaps understandably, the Welsh song Myfany was left until near the end, just before Frank Sinatra’s My Way.  However, shouts from the audience brought about an encore – for which the bygone Ski Sunday television theme (titled Pop Looks Bach) was selected.  Concluding the evening, Ian cheekily suggested that if the second half was not enjoyable it was totally the fault of the audience (as they had selected the music!)!  However, that was never an issue as his performance met with resounding approval.  Undoubtedly, he will be returning in the not-too-distant future when there is sure to be a ‘welcome in the (Wey)hillside’! 


20 AUGUST 2015

BRETT WALES, from Nottingham, proved to be an extremely popular player at the August concert, when he provided a lively and entertaining programme of music on his three-manual Wersi Louvre organ.

From the very beginning, when Brett performed the emotive Hymne;(Vangelis), it was clear that the music would be dynamic and the sounds produced by his state-of-the-art instryment would attract the listeners. This was followed by a Franz Lambert favourite, Dreaming Ballerina - a delightful tune and beautifully played.  Brett then introduced a medley which included On The Street Where You Live (from My Fair Lady) and Mack The Knife.

A George Benson number was next to feature – Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You – followed by When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful (Fats Waller) and, in complete contrast, the delightful Classical piece, the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana (Pietro Mascagni).  Brett then selected another Benson song, Give Me The Night, before introducing another medley which included The Breeze And I, More and I Could Have Danced All Night.

A change of tempo was signalled by Nancy Sinatra’s hit number, These Boots Are Made For Walking, after which the popular and memorable film theme,Once Upon A Time In The West (Ennio Morricone) was heard.  As the interval break approached, Brett performed Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – a 60s Goffin and King hit for the Shirelles – and Duelling Banjos (from the film Deliverance), utilising the authentic sounds of guitar and banjo.

Returning to the stage for the second half – attired in a bright yellow suit! – Brett opened with A Banda (a Herb Alpert recording) and Apache (a hit for The Shadows), followed by The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore (Walker Brothers).  Africa, from his latest album, was next to feature, along with This Ole House (recorded by Rosemary Clooney and Shakin’ Stevens, amongst others).  Another Classical item was then performed – this time Roses From The South (Johann Strauss Jr.), a composition popularised by both James Last and André Rieu.

Great sounds were produced for Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen) whilst the Johnny Cash number, Folsom Prison Blues set the toes tapping, as did the William Tell Overture (Rossini).  Frank Sinatra’s Let Me Try Again and the Elvis Presley hit, The Wonder Of You, were performed with feeling and it was more than appropriate that Music (John Miles) was selected to end the evening, as everyone had enjoyed an excellent selection of music.  Unsurprisingly, the audience called for an encore and Brett duly obliged with a medley performed in Bluegrass style, including Oh Susanna,Deep In The Heart Of Texas and She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain.

As with all shows staged by WEOS, there was music to please everyone and the variation of sounds produced by Brett’s versatile electronic keyboard instrument at times effortlessly replicated a large orchestra or band.  In addition, the styles represented many facets of music – from Classical to contemporary and many other genres in between.  These monthly concerts provide excellent value for money and are certainly worth supporting.


16 JULY 2015

DAVID THOMAS from Thetford in Norfolk was guest player at the July concert and the audience enjoyed a combination of enjoyable music and technical wizardry.

With his experience in creating screen graphics, David provides film coverage for some of the UK's largest keyboard festivals and he now finds himself in demand at many events as both a player and a technician in the yearly festival calendar.  Accordingly, the evening was enhanced by his many talents.

Proceedings began with a medley of Irving Berlin compositions – Let’s Face the Music and Dance, Cheek to Cheek and Puttin’ on the Ritz.  David then lowered the tempo with A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening (recorded, amongst others, by Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis), before applying a Latin American style to Never on a Sunday and Forever and Ever (a hit for the late Demis Roussos).  Next to feature was Something, a Beatles hit, followed by a selection of tunes utilising the Hammond sound – Somewhere Over the Rainbow,How High the Moon and The Lady is a Tramp.

Introducing a Classical tone, David then performed Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D, after which he performed a special item; the audience could hear the voice of Jim Reeves, singing Welcome to my World, and view his image on the large screen, as David played the accompaniment.  Memories of Acker Bilk were revived with Stranger on the Shore, complete with the familiar clarinet sound, and the first half was completed with Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen (translation: To Me You Are Beautiful) – a Yiddish tune with which the Andrews Sisters earned a gold record.     

Following the break, David performed What a Difference a Day Makes (a Dinah Washington hit), Our Day Will Come and Fats Waller’s Ain’t Misbehavin’.  He then introduced the DHOS March – his own composition – and I’ll Never Smile Again (another Frank Sinatra hit), before switching to the Bossa Nova rhythm for Wave and The Girl from Ipanema (two compositions by Antonio Carlos Jobin).  Manhattan – composed by Rogers and Hart, and recorded by Ella Fitzgerald – preceded the Glenn Miller sound, with Moonlight Serenade.  The programme was brought more up to date with Conquest of Paradise (Vangelis) and The Lonely Shepherd (James Last).

A contrast in dance music was then demonstrated – Pasadena, Ain’t She Sweet,The Black Bottom and Sweet Georgia Brown portrayed the 20s, whilst The Hustle represented the 70s.  To bring the show to a conclusion, David introduced his ‘party piece’ – a duet with Bing Crosby!  With the aid of technology and excellent timing, he sang and spoke the part of Frank Sinatra with Well, Did You Evah, from the film High Society – and for his encore he selected Bert Kaempfert’s Bye Bye Blues.


18 JUNE 2015

Guest artiste at the Society’s June concert was CHRIS POWELL from Derbyshire, a well-respected performer with a wealth of experience.  

By the time he was 18, Chris had successfully auditioned to join the team of organists playing for dancing at the Tower Ballroom Blackpool. He very soon became recognised for his musical talents, leading to a succession of invitations to perform at many electronic and pipe organ venues. In 1994 he visited New Zealand for a month-long concert tour on pipe and electronic instruments and this led to an exciting invitation to spend all of 1996 as a Resident Organist at the ‘Baycourt Theatre’ in Tauranga.  This was a unique and exciting experience in which he undertook all manner of concerts, functions and dances.  His overseas concert tours have also included Holland, Australia and USA. 

Chris began the evening with a medley of music in tribute to popular composer and bandleader, James Last, whose death occurred on 9 June.  The particular pieces selected were Vienna ForeverGames That Lovers Play,La Cucaracha and The Lonely Shepherd.  He followed up with three Glenn Miller numbers,Pennsylvania 6-5000,Moonlight Serenade and In the Mood before introducing a selection of Neil Diamond hits, namely Song Sung Blue,Cracklin’ Rosie and Love on the Rocks, whilst the audience joined in with Sweet Caroline. 

Popular music from the 50s was next to feature, with Blueberry Hill (Fats Domino), The Great Pretender (The Platters), La Bamba (Ritchie Valens), Magic Moments (Perry Como) and At the Hop (Danny and The Juniors).  A change of sound was then introduced – that of the mighty Wurlitzer in the Blackpool Tower ballroom – with a number of well known songs, such as Who’s Sorry Now, Toot, Toot, Tootsie Goodbye, Moon River,Love and Marriage and Secret Love.  As the interval approached, Chris ‘transported’ the audience to Europe with a brief medley comprising of Y Viva Espana,Under the Bridges of Paris, I Love Paris,O Sole Mio and Funiculi Funicula. 

Returning to the stage, Chris resumed with a selection of Cliff Richard hits – Living Doll, Summer Holiday and The Young Ones, before performing the very popular song, The Rose (Bette Midler).  Very few concerts exclude ABBA – and this one was no exception: songs selected on this occasion were Dancing Queen, I Do, I Do, I Do and Thank You for the Music.  Memories of the late James Last were again revived, on this occasion with a trio of Classical pieces performed in the Maestro’s familiar style - namely Dvorak’s New World Symphony, Offenbach’s Barcarolle and Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik 

Three hits of bygone years followed on – Forever and Ever (Demis Roussos), Save Your Love (Renee and Renato) and Una Paloma Blanca (George Baker Selection) – before a recent hit entitled Sing,a song written by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.  Buddy Holly was remembered as Chris performed Heartbeat,True Love Ways,Raining in my Heart, That’ll Be the Day and Oh Boy! 

The evening seemed to have elapsed too rapidly and it was time to conclude proceedings – on this occasion with a brief version of the Last Night of the Proms, incorporating Jerusalem,Rule Britannia,Sailor’s Hornpipe and Land of Hope and Glory.  Nevertheless, an encore was demanded and Chris responded with the Radetzky March.  The audience had been well entertained and duly showed their appreciation: this top class artiste will obviously be welcomed back in the not too distant future.


21 MAY 2015

The May concert featured the very talented MICHAEL WOOLDRIDGEa player who has performed at the highest level for a wide variety of entertainment shows.

In addition to performing concerts throughout the UK, Michael has made tours of Holland, Germany, Switzerland and Australia.  He has worked with many celebrities, including comedians Syd Little, Don Maclean, Jimmy Cricket and Stu Francis, magician Paul Daniels, top pianist Bobby Crush, former stars of the Black and White Minstrel Show and Eurovision Song Contest winner, Dana.  As a producer, he has staged tours and pantomimes, as well as summer seasons in Eastbourne, Bournemouth, Blackpool and Clacton.  He also plays for dances and works as a cocktail pianist, with past venues including London's Savoy Hotel. 

A particular feature of the concert was the diversity of musical sounds produced – ranging through Orchestral, Wurlitzer, Classical organ, Latin American and Big Band.  The evening began with Get Happy, a Judy Garland number recently revived by Rebecca Ferguson, followed by Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings.  Michael then introduced the familiar Wurlitzer for a medley of well known songs – consisting of There’s No Business Like Show Business,A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square,Around The World,Lara’s Theme (from Dr Zhivago) and We’re In The Money

The tempo and mood changed for a selection of Buddy Holly hits – namely That’ll Be The Day, Peggy Sue,True Love Way, Raining In My Heart and Oh Boy – before the Classical Organ sound was utilised for an unfamiliar French composition titled Sortie.  Memories of Mantovani were revived with a trio of popular melodies, Lonely Ballerina, Some Enchanted Evening and Charmaine, whilst The Coffee Song brought the Samba rhythm to proceedings.  The final item of the first half was somewhat innovative, with Michael performing incidental music, complete with the Wurlitzer sound, to accompany a Harold Lloyd silent movie displayed on the Club’s large screen. 

Following the interval, Michael opened with Seventy-Six Trombones (from The Music Man) and, employing the violin sound, a Classical piece titled Czardas (Monti).  In topical mode, a selection of Eurovision Song Contest entries was then performed – including Congratulations, Boom Bang-a-Bang,Making Your Mind Up, All Kinds Of Everything,Save Your Kisses For Me and Puppet On A StringDeep Purple was performed in the style of late night music, after which the pipe organ sound returned for Beautiful Dreamer, Ol’ Man River (from Showboat) and 12th Street Rag.  

The Hammond organ sound provided a further variation with More, Satin Doll and Sweet Georgia Brown, whilst the popular I Won’t Send Roses (from Mac and Mabel) was well received.  To complete the evening, and to fit in with the VE Day celebrations, Michael then performed a collection of Glenn Miller hits – Little Brown Jug,Pennsylvania 6-5000 and Moonlight Serenade – before responding to calls for an encore with Bill Haley’s Rock Around The Clock.


16 APRIL 2015

The Club's April concert lived up to its high expectations with star artiste, top German electronic keyboard player CLAUDIA HIRSCHFELD providing an evening of truly scintillating music. Claudia, who was making her fifth appearance for the Club, has performed concerts throughout Europe, as well as in the USA, Brazil and the Middle East, besides making frequent appearances on television and radio.  It is no wonder that she is often referred to as the 'Prima Ballerina' of the keyboard:  it seems as if she is 'dancing' on the pedals, much like a tap dancer – in fact, she is able to play entire melodies with her feet!  She certainly captivated everyone with her explosive style and natural charm and her programme contained many kinds of music, including classics, pop, evergreens, films and musicals. 

TheTriumphal March from Aida was an appropriate opening and this was followed by a Viennese selection, with the delightful sounds of strings and accordions.  Claudia continued with a Berlin medley, in the style of her friend James Last, and her own composition titled Villamartin – inspired by a holiday in Spain and featuring the sounds of the Spanish guitar and castanets. 

TheSabre Dance (Khachaturian) was next to feature, after which a pleasing but rarely-heard piece of music was performed – I Belong To Me from the musical Elizabeth (Empress of Austria).  A Gospel medley comprised of Michael Row The Boat Ashore,He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands and Down By The Riverside, complemented by the sounds of the choir for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu.  To conclude the first half Claudia selected an André Rieu Viennese waltz and Beethoven’s Ode To Joy.

The interval was followed by Claudia’s own arrangement of Bach’s Toccata, after which – in complete contrast – she performed a couple of film tunes, Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany’s and True Love from High Society.  Strangers In The Night (a Frank Sinatra hit), was followed by the theme music from the 1994 film Forrest Gump.

The next selection, a James Last traditional medley, encouraged the audience to join in – with Molly Malone, Daisy Bell and Abide With Me, all featuring the accordion sound.. A Mike Batt composition, the theme for the 1978 film, Caravans, was next in the programme, followed by the ever popular Highland Cathedral (associated with Scotland but written by two Germans).

Yet another style of music was featured , this time a Rock’n’Roll medley – with Jailhouse Rock,Hound Dog and Blue Suede Shoes – and the evening was closed with the Dambusters March (which Claudia said her German audiences didn’t know ... and which she was reluctant to explain to them!).  Coincidentally, she lives near the dams concerned!  Shouts for an encore were heeded and a popular football theme was chosen – You’ll Never Walk Alone (from Carousel).

There is no doubt whatsoever that a return visit from this talented, charming performer would be keenly welcomed.  Meanwhile, YouTube contains many of Claudia’s performances to please her fans.


19 MARCH 2015

 

Performing on electronic keyboard for the March concert at the Fairground Hall, Weyhill was ANDREW VARLEY from Southsea.  Andrew can always be relied on to introduce a number of unknown or rarely heard pieces in his concerts and this again proved to be the case.

In his early playing days, Andrew’s recordings were broadcast by BBC Radio Lancashire in their programme entitled ‘Organ Showcase’ and were also aired on the BBC Radio 2 programme, ‘The Organist Entertains’ (before the BBC decided to exclude electronic instruments).  As well as performing concerts for electronic organ and keyboard clubs, Andrew is also constantly in demand for Ballroom and Sequence Dancing.

Andrew began the evening with a fanfare titled Musik ist Trumpf and followed this with a selection in the style of André Rieu – comprising such tunes as Seventy-Six Trombones,The Second Waltz (Shostakovich), Two Eyes Ever So Blue (aka Two Lovely Black Eyes) – complete with a delightful accordion sound – Dreaming of New Zealand (a waltz composed by André himself), Azzurro (an Italian tune) and finishing the collection with And the Waltz Goes On.

ABBA came next – represented by Waterloo, Chiquitita, I Do I Do I Do I Do and Super Trouper – before an enjoyable medley of Franz Lehár compositions, includingFarewell My Love Farewell,You Are My Heart’s Delight, Vilia and The Merry Widow Waltz.  Nat King Cole was next to feature, with hits such as Mona Lisa,Unforgettable,Too Young and When I Fall In Love, and the interval was reached with a Franz Grothe composition, Sing With Me.

The second half began with a couple of Franz Lambert recordings – Happy Organ Man and Banana Tropicana – and another Andre Rieu tune, Do Not Forget Me, before a selection of varied guitar music (all of which Andrew performed with the appropriate sounds).  The variation included Hawaii Tattoo (The Waikikis), Theme For Young Lovers (The Shadows), Nostalgia and Recuerdos De La Alhambra (Classical Guitar) and Twist a Napoli (Bert Weedon).

The mood changed as some well known music from the movies was performed, many accompanied by extra film background sounds.  The evocative Theme from Once Upon a Time In The West opened the selection, followed by the James Bond Theme and the Main Theme from Forest Gump.  Others to feature included Pirates of The Caribbean, Speak Softly Love (from The Godfather), Conquest of Paradise,The Railway Children and 633 Squadron.

The final item was Happy Days Are Here Again (in the style of James Last) but the inevitable encore was another ‘unknown’ piece, A Friend, A Good Friend – from a 1955 film titled The Three From The Filling Station.  As in virtually all of the Society’s concerts, the evening provided music to suit most tastes and the audience should have gone home in the knowledge that they had been well entertained.


19 FEBRUARY 2015

The audience ignored the February rain to attend the Fairground Hall in Weyhill, for a concert featuring electronic keyboard player BRIAN HAZELBYand their efforts were rewarded with an evening of enjoyable, wide-ranging, non-stop music. 

Brian, who lives in Sutton Coldfield, has spent a lifetime in music – from his early days playing the piano to three years in the 4th Queen`s Own Hussars military band in Germany, playing clarinet and piano. After leaving the Army, he set out on the long hard road of the professional musician, beginning with humble working men’s clubs. All kinds of work followed, including dance bands, and for a while he was a member of the famous John Barry Seven (at one time Adam Faith’s backing group). He then had contracts with the Geraldo Entertainment Agency, working on the RMS Mauritania for the New York voyages, and a year was spent on the island of Bermuda, performing for the Geraldo London Orchestra.

The concert began with a fanfare, followed by There’s No Business Like Show Business and Let’s Face The Music And Dance, before transporting listeners on a musical mini-tour of Europe – with such songs as Under The Bridges Of Paris,Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen and Tulips From Amsterdam.  Brian then performed Summer Tango, featuring the sounds of the flamenco guitar and accordion, before introducing Erroll Garner’s Lover, played in Jazz piano style.  

Then, with a medley of piano sounds, he continued with Unforgettable, Long Ago And Far Away,The Very Thought Of You and Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered.  Switching to Ragtime, Brian performed Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer and, in complete contrast, a couple of Classical pieces – Tchaikovsky’s Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy and Dvorak’s New World SymphonyAll Of Me, in Jazz style, came next and the first half came to an end with the audience members being provided with the opportunity to engage in a little singing, along with Y Viva EspañaStrollin’ and You Made Me Love You

With everyone suitably refreshed, Brian recreated the accordion sounds and voices of the Cliff Adams Singers – with songs such as Peg o’ My Heart, Pretty Baby,Underneath The Arches, On Mother Kelly’s Doorstep and Oh, You Beautiful Doll – before introducing the Big Band sound, complete with strings, for a rendition of Strike Up The Band.  The many fans of André Rieu were pleased to hear The Blue Danube (Strauss Jr) whilst Que Sera Sera inevitably revived memories of Doris Day. 

The tempo was raised with Abba’sMoney, Money, Money, followed by the catchy Popcorn (as recorded by Jean Michel Jarre) and Walk, Don’t Run, one of the John Barry Seven hits.  John Barry was again featured – this time as a prolific composer of film music – with the theme from The Quiller Memorandum, better known as Wednesday’s Child, after which Brian performed the Mantovani signature tune, Charmaine.  A quartet of television themes preceded Eddie Calvert’s Oh Mein Papa and Acker Bilk’sStranger On The Shore, both performed with their distinctive sounds.   

A few memories were stirred by the theme from the BBC radio drama, Dick Barton, Special Agent (as aired between 1946 and 1951) whilst themes from James Bond and The Pink Panther were easily recognised.  As the evening drew to a close, Brian introduce the St Louis Blues March (Glenn Miller) before bringing his performance to a close with his version of The Last Night Of The Proms, encompassing a Sea Shanty, Rule Britannia,Jerusalem and Land Of Hope And Glory.  Unsurprisingly, an encore was demanded and Brian duly obliged with the lively Root Beer Rag

There was no organ to be seen or heard!  Such is the versatility of today’s electronic keyboards that the performers are more than capable of catering for most musical preferences.  Anyone considering sampling the entertainment provided by these monthly events should not hesitate .....


15 JANUARY 2015

Opening the Society’s monthly concert programme for 2015 was NICHOLAS MARTIN from Markfield, near Leicester, making his seventh visit to Weyhill.  In addition to these performances, Nick (as he is known to his friends and fans) has also played for the Club at the Cricklade Theatre (now The Lights) in Andover for a charity event.

During a family visit to Blackpool, in 1969 (at the age of five), Nick heard the Wurlitzer organ being played in the famous Tower Ballroom and after he began learning to play the organ, at the age of eleven, it became his ambition to perform at this famous venue.  His ambition was realised in 1981 when he was offered the post of resident organist – at just seventeen years of age!  He went on to play there for seven days a week, during the 1981 and 1982 seasons.  Quite literally, a dream had come true!

One of the major highlights in Nick's musical career was an initial offer (in 1985) to perform in concert at the Kirk of Dunedin, a community church on the West Coast of Florida.  Since that first visit he has been asked to return time after time and has now made no less than twenty-nine trips across the Atlantic, where he performs to large audiences.

Nick has two sons, both of whom are afflicted with autism, and in 2001 the boys' condition inspired him and his wife, Marianne, to found a charity for autistic children, ‘Miracles To Believe In’ (a charity that the Weyhill Club has supported on many occasions).  Nick is the main fundraiser for the cause, collecting donations at many of his musical engagements and, since the charity’s inception, over £250,000 has been raised.  His efforts have just been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours by the award of the British Empire Medal for services to Children and Families.

As for the concert, Nick provided music for every taste and his excellent technical ability was evident throughout.  The evening opened with his signature tune, Hey Look Me Over, followed by a selection of well known marches.  Next to feature was a medley of film music in waltz time – the Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet, The Godfather Love Theme and Lara’s Theme from Dr Zhivago.  Nick then subtly decided it was appropriate to perform Royal Event – a 1960 recording by Russ Conway (a popular pianist with whom Nick had performed on several occasions).

Another familiar piece of film music was introduced, namely Once Upon a Time in the West (an Ennio Morricone composition), before another Russ Conway hit, Side Saddle.  Nick then performed one of his favourites, Twelfth Street Rag, increasing the tempo as he proceeded, before a more serious mood took over – with Make Me a Channel of Your Peace, Highland Cathedral (complete with the sound of bagpipes) and How Great Thou Art.  A Classical tone was added to the programme with Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 and then, in complete contrast an Abba selection was heard – Waterloo, Thank You For the Music and Money, Money, Money.  The delightful music of The Carpenters was next to feature, with Goodbye To Love (a 1972 hit), followed by The Best of Times and Can You Feel the Love Tonight (from The Lion King).  To round off the first half, Nick played Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah (from Song of the South) and the signature tune of Match of the Day.

Following the interval, Nick resumed with a selection of Glenn Miller numbers – Moonlight Serenade,Pennsylvania 6-5000, Little Brown Jug,I Know Why and In the Mood – before playing the popular emotive Classical composition, the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni).  In complete contrast, the next item to be heard was the Post Horn Gallop (which, as Nick was clearly pleased to point out, was the signature tune of his beloved Leicester City FC)!  Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust was followed by Young at Heart and John Barry’s delightful film theme, Out of Africa.

Boyzone’s hit, No Matter What (from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Whistle Down the Wind) was the next item in the programme, followed by the unlikely titled Pop Looks Bach – or the Ski Sunday Theme – and a medley of other familiar tunes from the past, Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer (a Nat King Cole hit),Apple Blossom Time and Fascination.  Nick then introduced the haunting but rarely heard piece, Ashokan Farewell, a tune used as the title theme of the 1990 television mini series, The Civil War, and continued with A Man Without Love (Engelbert) and I Won’t Send Roses – both in Latin American style.

The evening had seemed to flash by as the final pieces, all from musicals, were announced – You’ll Never Walk Alone,Falling In Love With Love and A Wonderful Guy – ending with a cleverly arranged combination of Hold That Tiger and Widor’s Toccata.  Winifred Attwell’s Black and White Rag provided the encore to an evening that demonstrated why Nick is one of the most popular players on the circuit.


18 DECEMBER 2014

The Society’s December concert, featuring the jovial TONY STACE, was met with unanimous acclaim – quite unsurprising, considering Tony’s ability to amuse as well as provide a great evening of music. From Northallerton in North Yorkshire, the artiste was making his fourth appearance for the club and the audience promptly warmed to his friendly banter.

The concert began with the Tip Top Polka, followed by a Harry Warren medley which included September In The Rain. Tony continued with a couple of Winifred Attwell rags – Jubilee Rag and Coronation Rag – followed by a selection of waltz tunes including Tales From The Vienna Woods,Tulips From Amsterdam and The Valeta. Moving into the 60s, a couple of Roy Orbison hits were introduced – It’s Over and Crying – before the popular march, Blaze Away. 

A tune which was instrumental in the Club’s 2002 formation, namely Angel In Blue, was next to feature, followed by the catchy number titled Nola – a composition surprisingly dating back to 1915 – and Prelude In Classic Style. The interval was fast approaching but there was just enough time for Tony to play a Mary Poppins selection, including such songs as A Spoonful Of Sugar, Feed The Birds,Chim Chim Cheree and, somewhat inevitably, the tongue-twisting Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious !

After some tasty festive refreshments, the second half began with a few traditional carols – involving audience participation – following which Tony performed a medley of well known Christmas tunes. These consisted of Winter Wonderland,Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, White Christmas,Silent NightLittle Drummer Boy, Mary’s Boy Child,Jingle Bells and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.

A brief Classical tone was then introduced, with Chopin’s Grand Waltz, before Tony performed a trio of popular ballads – Portrait Of My Love (a Matt Monro hit), Mona Lisa (associated with Nat King Cole) and Misty (an Erroll Garner composition). A Disney selection consisted of Someday My Prince Will ComeHi Ho Hi Ho and Whistle While You Work. Two more pieces of Christmas music were played – Silver Bells and Mistletoe And Wine – before Tony gave the Weyhill ‘choir’ another opportunity to perform with a collection of sing-along songs.

Returning once again to the Christmas theme, Frosty The Snowman was followed by Here Comes Santa Claus and We Wish You A Merry Christmas. Tony needed little encouragement to perform an encore, for which he appropriately selected Auld Lang Syne, thereby concluding the Club’s 2014 concert programme. The evening’s entertainment was an ideal tonic for the festive season – and Tony proved to be an ideal artiste for such an occasion. 


20 NOVEMBER 2014

The Society’s November concert, featuring ROBERT DAVIES, was very well received, as much for the varied choice of music as for an excellent performance throughout.

Robert, from Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, has a wealth of experience playing both pipe organs and electronic keyboards, in concert and as cabaret support, as well as being well known amongst the dancing fraternity.  He has featured on radio and has completed several summer seasons on the East Coast and in Blackpool, where he was resident bandleader and musical director at Pontins for four years.

The evening included a number of rarely heard pieces and different arrangements of more familiar tunes, whilst the selections ranged from film themes and songs from the shows to pop music and Latin American numbers, with a few Classical items for good measure. 

Another Opening, Another Show (from Kiss Me Kate) opened the concert, followed by the popular Nella Fantasia, Ennio Morricone’s composition based on Gabriel’s Oboe from the 1986 film, The Mission.  A selection from West Side Story included Tonight,I Feel Pretty,Maria,America and Somewhere.  Robert then introduced Night And Day, with an arrangement based on a 2010 Cliff Richard recording, whilst an excerpt from Puccini’s Tosca brought a Classical tone to proceedings.  

It Had Better Be Tonight – a Henry Mancini composition from The Pink Panther – preceded a performance of Granada, to which the audience was encouraged to shout ‘olé’ at appropriate points in the song!  Toselli’s enchanting Serenade was performed in the style of André Rieu whilst Feeling Good utilised a Michael Bublé arrangement.  As the interval approached, Robert performed Michael Jackson’s Heal The World and concluded with an orchestral version of a few Abba hits, such as Dancing Queen and Fernando. 

The entertainment resumed with a tune titled Non Stop, the original ITN News theme music, followed by Calon Lân, a song performed on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ in 2012 by Only Boys Aloud.  It was then time for a couple of Latin American items – namely Cumana and El Combachero – before André Rieu’s arrangement of the Snow Waltz.  Robert then introduced another Michael Jackson song – this time, Gone Too Soon – before playing Petula Clark’s 1964 hit, Downtown. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu was next to be featured, preceding well known hits of The Beatles, including Eleanor Rigby,Michelle,When I’m Sixty-Four, All My Loving, Ticket To Ride and Hey Jude.  Continuing in the pop music vein, Robert performed Woman In Love (a 1978 hit for The Three Degrees) and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.  The evening had passed too swiftly and to bring the entertainment to a close an Andrew Lloyd Webber medley was performed – comprising music from Jesus Christ Superstar,Cats,Evita,Sunset Boulevard and Phantom Of The Opera.  Such a concert would have been incomplete without an encore ... for which Klaus Wunderlich’s lively arrangement of Disco Time-Summertime was selected.


16 OCTOBER 2014

The Society’s October concert – ‘An Evening with JEAN MARTYN’ – was staged at The Lights theatre in Andover in the presence of the Mayor of Test Valley, Cllr. Jan Lovell.  The show featured two performers as Jean was accompanied by top violinist, VICTORIA YELLOP. Jean became known to the wider public in 2011, when she was a finalist in the ITV programme ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, watched by 14 million viewers. She followed this by touring with the programme, playing to vast audiences ranging from 7,000 to 20,000 in such venues as Wembley Arena and the 02 Arena. She has performed at St James' Palace in London on two occasions, for the ‘Not Forgotten Association’, and has accompanied Dame Vera Lynn. She has also been interviewed and performed in several television programmes, including ‘This Morning’, ‘Daybreak’ and ‘Songs of Praise’.

Victoria has a wide spectrum of performing experience, ranging from playing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to featuring in rock bands and providing backing to artistes such as Will Young, Vanessa Mae and Gloria Gaynor. In 2002, she was invited to play violin solo for Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor, as part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations, in front of a crowd of nearly 70,000 people. She loves performing in variety shows and also regularly entertains for serving and ex-serving members of the armed forces as well as appearing in shows for the ‘Not Forgotten Association’ and ‘Help For Heroes’.

Jean set the show running, performing on her electronic keyboard with a selection from the shows, followed by Nat King Cole’s Unforgettable, before inviting Victoria to the stage.The violinist immediately engaged with the audience, performing the Dambusters March, followed by a trio of Gershwin compositions – Fascinating Rhythm, I Got Rhythm and Summertime from Porgy and Bess.  Next came a number of toe-tapping items, including some Scottish jigs, a few rapid tunes in the style of Stephane Grappelli – such as Alexander’s Ragtime Band,Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey and Sweet Georgia Brown – and a medley which she entitled Symphony of the Seas – including the Sailor’s Hornpipe.

Jean returned with Tequila and a typical Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer selection. The next item was a cleverly contrived rendition of a brass band concert – a medley of Marches for a Windy Day. The audience was asked to imagine that a strong breeze had dispersed the music sheets and they had been re-assembled ... but not necessarily in the right order! It was virtually impossible to count or identify the number of marches in the selection, all very brief snippets, but the audience was well entertained. The grand piano was then put to use as Jean performed Erroll Garner’s Misty and Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto. To complete the first half, she returned to her keyboard to reprise her ‘BGT’ appearances with Great Balls of Fire and Nut Rocker.

Victoria opened the second half with a couple of well known favourites, We’ll Gather Lilacsand A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, followed by a brief Glenn Miller Selection. She then launched into a collection of songs associated with the southern states of the USA – such as Oh Susanna, Deep in the Heart of Texas and Yankee Doodle Dandy – before closing her part in proceedings with a couple of Irish songs, Phil the Fluter’s Ball and The Irish Washerwoman – and famous Offenbach Can-Can, spinning around as she played.

Jean was welcomed back to her keyboard to perform her own special arrangement of My Heart Will Go On (the theme from Titanic). The tempo was increased for Fame and It’s Raining Men before being slowed down for the Elvis Presley hit, I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You. As the evening drew to a close, Manfred Mann’s Do Wah Diddy Diddy andMamma Mia raised the pace once more, after which Jean opted to return to the piano for her final number – George Harrison’s Something. An encore was inevitable – and the two stars reunited for Land of Hope and Glory and We’ll Meet Again.

The exit feedback was overwhelmingly favourable – the only sad aspect was the somewhat disappointing attendance. The show was more than worthy of a full house.


18 SEPTEMBER 2014

The Society’s concert, staged at the Fairground Hall, Weyhill, just about managed to dodge the thunderstorms. The artiste, DAVID LAST, was making his fourth visit to Weyhill and, as is customary with his performances, the audience was treated to a wide range of music.

David, who hails from Ipswich, has a fine reputation as an accompanist for sequence dancing and modern ballroom as well as for his concert work; this involves travelling around 50,000 miles a year playing for clubs and societies throughout the country.  He has made over forty albums and has been awarded a gold disc by his recording company. 

Beginning with the ABC March, David followed on with Silver Lady, a 70s hit for David Soul, and The Living Years, an 80s recording of Mike & The Mechanics.  Barry Manilow was next to feature in the programme, with Could It Be Magic and Bermuda Triangle, before two female vocalists were represented by When I Dream (Crystal Gayle) and Killing Me Softly (Roberta Flack). 

By way of complete contrast, David then performed a medley of tunes in the style of Charlie Kunz – including My Very Good Friend the Milkman and Clap Hands! Here Comes Charlie – before introducing a novelty march with the title Poodle in the Park.  The next piece to feature was a Mike d’Abo 60s composition, Handbags and Gladrags, a hit for both Rod Stewart and the Stereophonics.

A rarely heard Waltz, Good Old Vienna, was then introduced, followed by All In an April Evening and a Big Band version of Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.  A change of style produced Lou Reed’s Perfect Day – the 1997 BBC Children in Need charity single, after which an ABBA number, Hasta Mañana set the toes tapping.  With the interval fast approaching, David performed a novelty march entitled Wombles on Parade, followed by a Russ Conway medley, including Side Saddle, Roulette and China Tea.      

The second half opened with The Anniversary Song (Oh, How We Danced), followed by Neil Diamond’s 1980 Songs of Life (from The Jazz Singer).  David then introduced a couple of Robert Stolz compositions –White Horse Inn and Yearning for You, the latter with a James Last arrangement – before performing a medley of Western film themes.  The medley consisted of the theme from The Big Country,Wanderin’ Star (from Paint your Wagon), the Ballad of Jesse James and the theme from Hondo.

Continuing the wide range of music, David then played Hopelessly Devoted to You (from Grease) and a Big Band swing version of My Kind of Girl (a 60s hit for Matt Monro), whilst a selection of Country-flavoured music included I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song (Jim Groce), If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body (Bellamy Brothers) and Just When I Needed You Most (Randy Vanwarmer).

The tempo increased for Winifred Attwell’s Black and White Rag and Autumn Leaves reminded everyone that the seasons were changing.  A Jazz version of The Lady is a Tramp preceded John Lennon’s Imagine and the sound of the theatre organ was employed for I Can’t Believe That You’re in Love With Me.  Another change of sound – to the trumpet – was used for Eddie Calvert’s Wonderland by Night and the programme was rounded off with Brahms’ Hungarian Dance.  Calls for an encore were heeded as David performed An American Trilogy – a song popularised by Elvis Presley.

The word ‘organ’ should certainly not be allowed to deter anyone from attending these concerts, as is clearly illustrated by David Last’s fine performance; hardly an organ sound amongst an excellent variety of music which must surely have appealed to most tastes.  Admission to the Weyhill concerts is only £5.00 – surely very good value for money! 



21 AUGUST 2014

The Weyhill Electronic Organ Society’s August concert, with Japanese star, CHIHO SUNAMOTO, was staged at the Fairground Hall, Weyhill in front of a most appreciative audience. The concert actually featured two performers and three instruments – two electronic keyboards and a melodica – plus a wide variety of music and fun. Chiho’s co-star was JON SMITH, with whom she had previously performed for the Club at The Lights in Andover in 2012.  

Often described as the Vanessa Mae of the organ and keyboard world, Chiho is originally from Matsuyama, in the South of Japan, but now lives in the North East of England, whilst Jon hails from Worksop in Nottinghamshire.  Both artistes contributed a number of vocal renditions during the evening.  The range of music was extensive and the accompanying sounds consisted of orchestral, Big Band, Hammond and saxophone, to name but a few.  

Chiho commenced the show with Copacabana (Barry Manilow) and Saving All My Love For You (Whitney Houston), before introducing her own very clever arrangement of Beautiful Dreamer.  Considering the recent D-Day commemorations, the performance of the theme from Saving Private Ryan was fitting, whereas another film theme, Mission:Impossible took on a much increased tempo. 

The Classical Organ sound was briefly utilised for a J S Bach selection, before the performance of Let It Go from Frozen, Disney’s animated musical (as recently sung by Collabro, famed for Britain’s Got Talent).  This was followed by the Jimmy Smith Hammond sound, combined with Big Band, for Billie Holiday’s Lover, Come Back To Me.  Chiho then introduced a brief Latin American medley, including Mambo Jambo, and followed on by playing and singing Pure Imagination, from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. 

Co-artiste Jon Smith then took to the stage and, with accompaniment provided by Chiho, sang Wednesday’s Child – a Matt Monro hit from the John Barry theme music for the 1966 film, The Quilller Memorandum – followed by Dean Martin’s Sway.  Chiho then had the audience in fits of laughter as she performed a facial impression of Louis Armstrong whilst playingWhat a Wonderful World.  Jon accompanied her for this item with his melodica (an instrument with a small musical keyboard on top which is played by blowing air through a mouthpiece)and the first half was ended with both artistes on keyboards for an unusual arrangement of Tea for Two. 

The show resumed with Chiho playing George Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm, followed by My One and Only Love (Frank Sinatra), featuring the saxophone sound, and her own arrangement of Que Sera in Bossa Nova style.  The Classical organ sound was employed for Albinoni’s Adagio and Widor’s Toccata whilst the music of Johann Strauss Jr. was represented by Die Fledermaus.  Chiho continued with a Cuban tune, The Peanut Vendor, before singing the Katie Melua hit, Nine Million Bicycles.  Jon then returned to the stage to sing I’ve Got You Under My Skin and Young At Heart before performing As Time Goes By on the melodica. 

Both keyboards were used for A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square and Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, before Chiho introduced the Radetzky March (Johann Strauss Sr.) – with Jon conducting the audience as they clapped along!  To complete the concert, the two artistes combined on keyboards for Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory; however, an encore was demanded so, with Chiho playing, Jon sang an appropriate song - Nat King Cole’s That’s All.  The quality of entertainment was excellent throughout and there is no doubt that true value for money was provided ... by two top performers, both of whom will doubtless be making return visits to Weyhill.

 


17 JULY 2014

Weyhill Electronic Organ Society’s August concert featured ANDREW NIX, from Selby in North Yorkshire, and for the second consecutive month the audience had to contend with a sweltering evening.  However, the top class entertainment certainly more than offset any discomfort.

At the age of 17, Andrew was appointed Musical Director for a theatre group performing at Butlins, Barry Island and nowadays, some thirty years on, he is one of the busiest electronic keyboard players on the circuit.  His music is designed to suit most tastes, played in a refreshing style and presented almost seamlessly with his own brand of light-hearted, cheeky Yorkshire humour.

The music began with a march, Vienna Forever, followed by Johnny Pearson’s Sleepy Shores (theme from the Owen MD 70s television series).  Andrew then treated the audience to a trio of hits performed by The Shadows – Atlantis,Apache and FBI – before producing an excellent laid-back rendition of Hoagy Carmichael’s Georgia On My Mind, with piano, trombone and clarinet to the fore and culminating with full orchestral treatment.     

Utilising the well known Hammond sound, a medley of songs with related titles came next – On the Sunny Side of the StreetSunnyBlue Moon and How High the Moon – before Andrew introduced a selection of songs popularised by The Platters, namely My PrayerTwilight TimeOnly You and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.  By way of variation, a polka titled Bel Viso was performed using the sound of the accordion.  To conclude the first session a Walt Disney medley was selected, comprising Can You Feel the Love Tonight (from The Lion King), Chim Chim Cheree and Let’s Go Fly a Kite (both from Mary Poppins), Whistle While You Work (from Snow White), The Bare Necessities and I Wanna Be Like You (both from Jungle Book). 

After a much-needed interval, for refreshments and a breath of moderately fresh air, the music was resumed with another march, Death or Glory, followed by the ever-popular Wind Beneath My Wings (Bette Midler) and a collection of dance-related numbers –I’m in the Mood for DancingDance Little Lady DanceI Won’t DanceMexican Hat Dance and Lord of the Dance.  Lady in Red (Chris de Burgh), preceded a couple of Winifred Atwell hits – Flirtation Waltz and The Poor People of Paris – before yet another familiar sound was introduced, that of the Theatre Organ.

Andrew’s choice for this particular section included Button Up Your Overcoat (how appropriate!!!), I Want to Be HappyTiptoe Through the TulipsBlack and White RagA Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,CharmaineAnswer Me and Mr Sandman.  Maybe such an evening would be incomplete without songs from the Musicals so it was no surprise to then hear such well known songs as OklahomaI Won’t Send RosesDon’t Cry for MeArgentina,TonightIf I Loved You and Cabaret.  

An audience favourite, Highland Cathedral – complete with bagpipes – was next to be performed, whilst a couple of Latin American numbers, Cumana and El Combachero, brought the entertainment to a close ... or at least until shouts for an encore were heard.  Andrew duly obliged with the Bluebell Polka and The Beer Barrel Polka.  

What an evening ... great music, plenty of laughter ... and, phew! ... a warm time was had by all!



 
19 JUNE 2014
 
 
The Weyhill Electronic Organ Society’s June concert was a relaxed and informal occasion and proved to be very popular with the audience. This was not at all surprising, considering that the guest artiste was PENNY WEEDON, making her seventh appearance for the Club, her first visit having been in August 2002. 

Penny (LGSM, ARCO, FLCM), who lives near Llantwit Major in South Wales, won an Arts Festival Bursary to study piano at The Royal Academy, whilst continuing with her classical organ studies, and at the age of eighteen she enrolled at the Royal College of Music to study piano, organ and composition.  Other studies followed at the Royal College of Organists and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.  She has enjoyed an exciting musical career which has taken her across Europe and throughout the UK, and has also worked as an examiner for the London College of Music.  She has made numerous radio broadcasts and also writes for the specialist music press. 

Throughout the evening – and particularly during the first half of the concert – Penny related her early days as a performer, interlinking her experiences with suitable and varied music.  Commenting upon the fact that few ladies were on the electronic organ circuit, she cheekily opened with There Is Nothing Like a Dame (from South Pacific) and followed this with a few popular Classical items - Für Elise (Beethoven), Meditation (Massenet), Concierto de Aranjuez (Rodrigo) and the Toccata and Fugue in D minor (Bach). 

Tie a Yellow Ribbon temporarily concluded the orchestral sounds as Penny opted for the less familiar sound of the bagpipes, for I Love a Lassie, Bonnie Banks O’ Loch Lomond and Scotland the Brave.  The saxophone sound was brought to the fore with Feelings before a further variation of styles – Rock Around the Clock, Oh Susanna and Singin’ in the Rain.  Another Classical piece, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake was performed, followed by theRaiders March (from Indiana Jones). 

A surprise item was then introduced as Penny opened a box and pulled out a brightly coloured accordion – with which she played La Mer, I Wish You Love and Boom! Why Does My Heart Go Boom.  Returning to her keyboard, she performed a lesser known Chris Thompson recording, If You Remember Me, before concluding the first half with Swedish Rhapsody and Swiss Twist. 

Immediately after the interval the audience was taken down ‘Memory Lane’ with some radio themes from days gone by – including Dick Barton Special Agent, Paul Temple and Top of the Form.  The Raggle Taggle Gypsies was followed by a couple of Petula Clark hits, namely Sailor and Downtown, and the Andy Williams recording, Music to Watch Girls By. 

Two Edvard Grieg pieces were then performed  with full piano and orchestral sounds – Morning and the Piano Concerto (as featured in the operetta Song of Norway).  Dancing in the Dark was followed by a Helen Shapiro number, Walking Back to Happiness, and the delightful Girl from Corsica, a Trevor Duncan composition.  A jazz number titled Shiny Stockings brought about another change of style before the audience was invited to participate in a brief sing-a-long, with the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, to bring the evening to a close ... except that, in response to shouts for an encore, Penny produced her accordion once more to play the Spanish Gypsy Dance.


5 MAY 2014

The Club’s May concert, featuring MARK THOMPSON, was extremely well received, as testified by the applause that followed each selection. 

In addition to playing for similar clubs throughout the UK, Mark, a talented young player from Ryton, Tyne and Wear, plays in a 60s/70s band, performing on keyboards and providing backing vocals.  In addition, he is a musical director for many North East musical theatre societies and, if all that is not enough, he works as vocal coach or accompanist for a number of stage schools.  He also plays piano at local hotels and restaurants and often performs with a jazz band at Newcastle United's football ground, St. James' Park, on match days.

The reason for Mark’s popularity soon became evident as the range of music was so varied – beginning with Big Band by way of Take The A Train, followed by the Classical Organ sound with Prelude in Classic Style and the ever-popular Misty (an Erroll Garner composition).  Next to feature was a piece titled Bumble Boogie, based on The Flight of the Bumblebee and requiring immense digital dexterity.  This item drew the greatest applause of the evening and the next number,Tiger Rag, Mark’s very own interpretation – with a hint of Liberace – was equally impressive.     

John Barry’s delightful theme for the film Somewhere In Time was well appreciated, as was a rarely-heard item titled Estrella, a Japanese piece of music (composed by Kitaro) for which Mark had selected appropriate sounds.  A tune titled Theatreland evoked thoughts of the West End and Broadway whilst a trio of Classical pieces brought the first half to a close; the medley consisted of Caprice 24 (Paganini), Hungarian Dance (Bach) and the Can Can (Offenbach). 

The second half commenced with a couple of Marches – Washington Post (Sousa) and On The Quarterdeck (Alford) – and a catchy Leroy Anderson composition, Plink,Plank, Plunk.  Mark then introduced a Michael Bublé arrangement of Me and Mrs Jones before performing a couple of numbers in Jazz style – namely Moondance and Come Fly With Me.  A trio of Tarantellas was followed by a Classical Brass Band number – Aranjuez Mon Amour (Rodrigo), featuring the sound of the cornet.

Mark then performed a medley of twelve songs from different shows, inviting the audience to guess the titles and names of the respective shows.  The selection of shows represented included Mac and Mabel, Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, The King and I, Me and My Girl, Blood Brothers, The Sound of Music and Barnum – not that anyone managed to remember them all!  As the evening drew to a close, Mark played A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, followed by a Latin American number, El Combachero, before launching into a Rock’n’Roll medley consisting of Crocodile Rock (Elton John), La Bamba – aided by a Steel Band sound – and Johnny Be Good (Chuck Berry).     

After such an enjoyable concert, an encore was inevitable – and Mark opted to perform My Way, more than appropriate considering that ‘his way’ had met with such wholehearted approval!  The evening contained music for everyone and little, if anything, to dislike – surely enough to encourage doubters to sample the monthly entertainment on offer!

 

17 APRIL 2014

The Society’s April concert – the JOHN MANN Music Show – was staged at The Lights theatre in Andover before an appreciative audience.  The show featured two performers, two instruments – an electronic keyboard and the Theatre’s grand piano – plus a variety of music interspersed with the occasional comedy routine.

John, who had previously appeared at this Theatre in 2009, is a very experienced performer who, besides playing electronic keyboard and grand piano, is equally adept when sat at the console of a larger pipe organ.  In fact, during the summer months you will normally find him entertaining on these larger instruments in theatres in Brighton, Eastbourne and Worthing.  He has appeared with many of the top-named performers of yesteryear, including Russ Conway and Ronnie Hilton, and has toured with his one-man music shows to numerous UK theatres and concert halls.  John’s special guest for the evening was Sarah Bryant, a lady who has performed professionally for a number of years, including concert tours of the UK and radio broadcasts.

Alternating between the electronic keyboard and the grand piano, John got the show under way with the Aces High march, followed by a selection of well known tunes from the 60s.  In complete contrast, the next item was Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring which was followed by a Springtime medley including Tiptoe Through the Tulips, We’ll Gather Lilacs, Easter Parade, The Cuckoo Waltz and Younger Than Springtime.  Donning a trilby and a suitable pair of glasses, he then gave a rendition of Arthur Askey’s Busy Bee song, followed by The Bluebell Polka – after which it was time for Sarah to be introduced, to perform an Irving Berlin medley on the electronic keyboard.

John returned to the stage to play two melodic piano solos – James Last’s Morning at Seven and Debussy’s Arabesque – before Sarah returned to join him for some well co-ordinated duets – The Second Waltz (Shostakovich) and a selection from Mary Poppins, to conclude the first half.

The Stein Song, with John at the electronic keyboard, opened the second half, following which he performed a selection of music from Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky).  The piano was employed once again as John played Bilitis (Francis Lai) and Eleanora, following which Sarah came back to the keyboard to perform Gabriel’s Oboe (Ennio Morricone) – from the film, The Mission – and Le Rêve Passe (aka The Soldier’s Dream).

John and Sarah re-united, with John on piano, for Walking in the Air and Nights of Gladness (which John refers to as ‘Nights with Alice'!).  Sarah left the stage as John announced the finale – a special tribute titled Magic of the Minstrels, comprising a selection of familiar songs, including Mammy (performed with unusually long outstretched arms) and Sonny Boy (complete with a dummy and some blatantly deplorable ventriloquism!) – and employing both instruments (but not at the same time!).  An appropriate encore saw John playing and singing Ain’t You Got No Homes To Go To?  And so ended an enjoyable evening – a show that served to illustrate once again the Society’s aim to provide different styles of musical entertainment. 

    

20 MARCH 2014

Making his second appearance at Weyhill, for the Club’s March concert, was DAVE SMITH from Bolton in Lancashire.

Dave became fascinated with the electronic organ at the age of sixteen when he left school to work as a technician for the largest organ and piano dealers in Manchester.  Subsequently, he became Musical Director for a show at the Central Pier in Blackpool and this led to him becoming MD in many cabaret clubs in the Manchester area. 

During this time he was spotted by Eric Delaney and was invited to join him as keyboardist and Musical Director, a position which he successfully held for two years.  During that time he was MD for stars such as Morecambe and Wise, Tony Hancock and Ken Dodd, later appearing in a Royal Command Performance.

Apart from his performances on the electronic organ/keyboard circuit, Dave is currently Musical Director for many stars including the very successful three tenors, ‘Tenorissimo’ (who performed at The Lights in 2011), and has a jazz group called ‘Jeriactric Jazz’ playing in many venues around the Lancashire area.  In the company of such a talented and experienced performer, it was inevitable that the evening would be a thoroughly positive experience – hence nobody was disappointed. 

The concert began with the Theme from ET and was followed by a medley of tunes utilising the theatre organ sound – tunes such as Cara Mia (a big hit for David Whitfield), Let’s Face the Music and Dance (an Irving Berlin composition), It Had To Be You, It’s a Sin To Tell a Lie and Tea for Two.  Dave continued the entertainment with a Count Basie Big Band number, April in Paris and Crazy (Willie Nelson).  Another film theme, Schindler’s List, preceded a selection of TV sports themes – namely Test Match Special (Soul Limbo – Booker T & the MG’s), London Marathon (Main Theme from The Trap), Grandstand and Match of the Day.

Next to feature was an impressive version of the Vangelis composition, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, followed by a medley which led up to the interval – in fact, a Neapolitan style medley which included The Loveliest Night of the Year (a Mario Lanza hit), Girls Were Made To Love and Kiss, The Drinking Song, Come Back To Sorrento, Funniculi Funnicula and With a Song In My Heart

The second half was equally pleasing, commencing with a Jazz number, Rhythm of Life (from the musical Sweet Charity), a Disney number, Beauty and the Beast and a medley of Strauss waltzes – including, of course, the Blue Danube.  Blue Moon was performed in Jazz style before Dave increased the musical impact with Nessun Dorma.  Another Booker T & the MGs tune, Time Is Tight, was an audience request – and another audience favourite – Intermezzo from Cavalliera Rusticana followed on.   

The evening concluded with an ‘Armistice selection’, including Abide With Me, The Dambusters March, Aces High and There’ll Always Be an England.  Finally, for his encore, Dave selected McArthur Park – a Jim Webb composition, recorded by Richard Harris.  An excellent concert, unique in many ways, maintained the high quality of music provided by the Society.  The only disappointing aspect was the lower than usual attendance: such entertainment, at a cost of £5, is certainly deserving of wider support.  



20 FEBRUARY 2014

Supporters ignored the rain to attend the Fairground Hall for the Club’s February concert – and they were rewarded with an evening of enjoyable non-stop music performed by guest artiste, ELIZABETH HARRISON.  Elizabeth, who lives near Preston in Lancashire, is possibly one of the busiest artistes on the circuit, performing for dances as well as concerts and festivals throughout the country.

The evening comprised of a number of popular medleys – frequently with a dance beat – which met with the approval of the audience.  Selections included waltzes, polkas, Latin American numbers and marches – and a few sing-a-long numbers that produced the desired effect.   

The concert began with Nat King Cole’s When I Fall in Love and a duo of Bert Kaempfert hits – Swinging Safari and African Beat.  Frank Sinatra’s Strangers in the Night was followed by Highland Cathedral, a tune associated with Scotland although a German composition.  Elizabeth then performed the theme from the TV series, Howards’ Way and Circle of Life from The Lion King musical, following up with an Andy Williams hit, How Wonderful to Know.

The audience was then introduced to the sounds of the Mighty Wurlitzer (from the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool) withFascination, Around the World and Answer Me.  Del Shannon’s Runaway, a big hit of the early 60s, changed the tempo before something a little more sedate in Nights of Gladness and Franz Lehar’s Gold and Silver Waltz.  Further variation was provided by the Thunder and Lightning Polka (Johann Strauss Jr.) whilst the string sounds were evident for Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust.

A medley of easy listening tunes included I Left my Heart in San Francisco,Arrivederci Roma, You Are my Heart’s Delight, Here in my Heart and Moonlight and Roses.  Elizabeth continued with a brief sing-a-long medley, to which the audience responded in good voice, after which came a couple of Herman’s Hermits hits – I’m Into Something Good and There’s a Kind of HushMemory, from the musical ‘Cats’, was followed by Moon over Naples (the latter being renamed Spanish Eyes after lyrics had been added) and the first half ended with the well known march, Blaze Away.

The second half began with a medley comprising of Twilight Time, Any Dream Will Do, Unforgettable and Here Comes That Rainy Day.  By way of contrast, Elizabeth then played Oh Babe, What Would You Say? (an early 70s hit for Hurricane Smith) before introducing another selection, including Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White plus Wheels Cha Cha, performed using the traditional ‘Blackpool sound’.  Lara’s Theme (from the film ‘Dr Zhivago’) preceded The Loveliest Night of the Year, Love Letters Straight From Your Heart and Norman Wisdom’s Don’t Laugh At Me

Another medley – mainly from the 60s – was then performed, followed by Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, Every Breath You Take and James Last’s Games That Lovers Play.  More variation was provided with a Latin American selection, including Quando Quando and Amor, Amor, followed by another medley of pop songs, featuring such titles as Take Me Home Country Roads (John Denver), Tie a Yellow Ribbon (Tony Orlando and Dawn) and True Love Ways (Buddy Holly).  The final tune was I Could Have Danced All Night – in which case much of the music was suitable – and the chosen encore was We’ll Meet Again (no doubt another appropriate title).

Such was the content of Elizabeth’s programme that to name every item would not be a simple process ... but the fact that around 70 different tunes were performed would indicate the extent and variety of entertainment provided.  Value for money indeed!  Why not give it a try if you have not already done so?



16 JANUARY 2014

 
The Club's 2014 programme got under way with a concert performed by CHRIS JONES, from Orpington in Kent.  Chris, who in his younger days was an organist at Streatham Ice Rink, entertained the audience with a varied selection of musical sounds and styles and, considering the cold and rainy weather, the event was well attended.

Beginning with a London-themed medley, consisting of  London is London, Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner, The Streets of London, Let’s All Go Down the Strand and The Knightsbridge March, Chris continued with the delightful Pure Imagination from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  The audience was then introduced to the Tyrolean Whistler before the first Classical pieces of the evening – Adagietto from Mahler’s Fifth Symphony and Bach’s Sheep May Safely Graze.

Spain was the next destination, with the Spanish Gypsy Dance, Y Viva Espana and Valencia – before the style was changed once again for a selection from the musical, My Fair Lady.  Most of the favourites were included, such asWith a Little Bit of Luck, I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face, Wouldn’t It Be Loverly, On the Street Where You Live, I Could Have Danced All Night and Get Me to the Church on Time.

Chris continued to display his liking of medleys with a selection performed in the style of Ray Conniff – namelyMr Sandman, S’Wonderful, It Don’t Mean a Thing, When You’re Smiling and Bring Me Sunshine – before his final numbers of the first half, Ennio Morricone’s Chi Mai (the theme for the 1981 TV series, ‘The Life and Times of David Lloyd George’) and Pop Looks Bach (the music for TV’s ‘Ski Sunday’).  

The second half began with an ABBA medley, a few of the lesser known songs, Gimme Gimme Gimme, Honey Honey and Does Your Mother Know, followed by Lou Reed's Perfect Day and the Theme from Love Story.  The memorable sound of The Shadows was recreated for Apache,Atlantis, Riders in the Sky and Foot Tapper, leading into another medley by way of popular songs from Ivor Novello’s Dancing Years – including I Can Give You the Starlight and Waltz of My Heart.       

It was then time for another Classical piece – Pachelbel’s Canon, performed in the style of James Last – before the introduction of a brief Latin American selection.  Chris then included another London-themed medley, consisting of The Westminster Waltz, London By Night and A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.  A Dixieland selection included You’re the Cream in My Coffee and Alexander’s Ragtime Band, whilst the finale comprised of a number of well-known songs from the musical, Oklahoma – The Surrey With the Fringe on Top, Oh What a Beautiful Morning, I Can’t Say No, People Will Say We’re in Love and Oklahoma.    

The weather outside was truly miserable but the audience was happy – having enjoyed an evening of music to suit most musical tastes.  It is difficult for any artiste to please everyone but Chris certainly did his best.


19 DECEMBER 2013 
 
Perhaps a capacity 150 attendance at the Club’s December concert was not a real surprise, considering that the guest player was the popular Dutchman,  DIRKJAN RANZIJN, an artiste who can justifiably claim to be an experienced international.  Apart from bookings in the UK and in his homeland, he has performed in Germany, Switzerland and Denmark, where he has also fulfilled a number of television engagements.  The only disappointment was that demand for tickets exceeded the legal maximum number permitted in Weyhill’s Fairground Hall. 

Dirk, as he is known to his many friends and fans, was performing his fourth show for the Club although he has also made several other appearances in and around Andover, helping to produce well over £2,000 for a number of deserving charities.

The first half opened with Neil Diamond’s Beautiful Noise, followed by Tonight (from West Side Story) and continued with the Olympus Theme (composed by Nikos) and, by way of an introduction to Christmas, Angels from the Realms of Glory.  Dirk then turned to a Latin American number in the form of Raúl Di Blasio’s Luna De Paris before playing a Dutch song with the English title of Stay With Me Till the Morning – a tune based on Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto.

A selection of Strauss waltzes, performed in the style of André Rieu, went down particularly well with the audience – as did his following pop medley, including Music (John Miles), Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen), Jesus Christ, Superstar and The Final Countdown (Swedish group, Europe).  Then, to conclude the first half, Dirk decided to take the audience on a musical ‘journey’, taking in Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, France (with the Can Can, of course) and finishing up in Las Vegas.

The second half was delayed for a few minutes in order that an engraved clock could be presented to Dirk, on behalf of the Club, in recognition of his local charitable and promotional performances.  The music soon resumed with the Elvis Presley hit, Can’t Help Falling In Love, performed in Reggae style, and the audience was then given the opportunity to sing along to a well-known Christmas-themed selection. 

Dirk continued to engage the help of the audience as they were all encouraged to sway in time with the Snow Waltz (performed in André Rieu style ... naturally!) and then perform the relevant actions to the Village People’s YMCA.  As is almost customary in his shows, Dirk then introduced a new name to proceedings – on this occasion it was that of top German/European vocalist, Helen Fischer, with an excellent rendition of Für einen Tag (Just For One Day).

Reach Out, I’ll Be There (a 1966 hit for The Four Tops) was the next song to feature, followed by James Last’s When the Snow is on the Roses.  Adele’s Make You Feel My Love demonstrated Dirk’s delicate touch with ballads before the tempo was raised with Michael Bublé’s It’s a Beautiful Day.  One of his own compositions – Copenhagen Girl – followed, along with Michael Jackson’s Earth Song ... and the evening was sadly drawing to a close.

A medley of Queen favourites, including Who Wants to Live for Ever and We Are the Champions, was chosen to close the show but, unsurprisingly, an encore was demanded:  Dirk duly obliged with Una Paloma Blanca (George Baker Selection), Rivers of Babylon (Boney M) and Amarillo (Tony Christie).  The acclaim at the end of the evening spoke louder than words – a great time was had by all! 
 
21 NOVEMBER 2013 
 

Supporters of Weyhill Electronic Organ Society were well rewarded for braving a cold, wet November evening with an excellent concert performed by PHIL BROWN, making his third visit to the Club.

Phil, from Littleover in Derbyshire, has played as supporting act with the late Joe Loss and his Orchestra as well as with the Syd Lawrence Orchestra, and he made full use of his talents and experience to provide a splendid variation of music and styles to suit most tastes.

Beginning in Latin American style with Mas Que Nada, Phil continued with the Johann Strauss composition, Roses from the South, performed in the style of André Rieu.  The tempo was raised by the Black and White Rag (Winifred Attwell) before the introduction of a Scottish medley, including the Skye Boat Song, Mull of Kintyre and Amazing Grace and a selection of music popularised by The Shadows – Foot Tapper, Wonderful Land and Ghost Riders in the Sky

A Classical item was to follow, by way of Shostakovich's The Gadfly Suite (theme for the TV series, ‘Reilly, Ace of Spies’), before the Julio Iglesias hit, Amor, increased the tempo once again.  Rodrigo’s Guitar Concerto demonstrated the amazing sound capabilities of the electronic keyboard whilst a Big Band medley including In the Mood, The A Train and Cherokee, was performed in the style of Louis Clark’s ‘Hooked on Swing’.  Phil continued with the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, from Verdi’s ‘Nabucco’; then, as the interval approached, performed a selection of popular marches, finishing with 633 Squadron – from the 1964 film of the same name.

The second half opened to the Alan Freeman ‘Top of the Pops’ theme – At The Sign of the Swinging Cymbal – after which could be heard the emotive John Dunbar Theme from the film ‘Dances with Wolves’ – a superlative John Barry composition.  Two more film tunes were featured – namely Duelling Banjos from ‘Deliverance’ – with banjo and guitar engaged in their own private ‘conflict’ – and Somewhere in Time (also the name of the film), another John Barry melody.

Other familiar names from the music world were brought to mind, including Russ Conway, with Side Saddle, James Last, with Mornings at Seven and Ray Conniff, with Hello Dolly (complete with the familiar vocal sounds).   Josh Groban’s hit, You Raise Me Up, was well received before rapid versions of 12th Street Rag and Hold That Tiger set the toes tapping.

Sadly, time for the entertainment to end was fast approaching as Phil played a selection of well-known Beatles’ hits – She Loves You, Yesterday, Norwegian Wood, Michelle and Hey Jude.  The final piece was the Farewell Song from the Robert Stolz operetta, ‘The White Horse Inn’ ... and yet there was still enough time for an appropriate encore, Time to Say Goodbye, to bring the evening to a close – an evening that clearly demonstrated the broad-based musical entertainment the Society aims to provide each month.
 
 
17 OCTOBER 2013  
 
The Society’s October concert was staged at The Lights theatre, in the presence of the Mayor of Test Valley, Cllr. Janet Whiteley and her consort, Neville Whiteley

Although the attendance was a little disappointing, the two guest artistes, namely TIM FLINT on keyboard and ROSALIE BIRCHMORE on the grand piano, provided an excellent evening of music, interspersed with a generous sprinkling of fun and laughter.  Creating an image somewhere between Liberace and Eric Morecambe, Tim indulged in his own special brand of humorous interaction with the audience, whilst Rosalie proved that she was quite capable of matching him in the ‘banter’ department. 

Following a duet opening, Quando Quando and Brazil, Rosalie took over the stage for much of the first half with a varied and enjoyable selection of music, performed in her own faultless style.  Her programme included Till – a song recorded by such vocalists as Shirley Bassey and Andy Williams – The Closest Thing to Crazy (the popular Katie Melua hit), Memory from the Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats, Nat King Cole’s TenderlySend in the Clowns (Judy Collins) and Frank Sinatra’s 50s hit, All the Way.  Tim took over to perform Bandology (a brass band favourite) and a couple of well known film themes – The Green Leaves of Summer (from The Alamo) and A Summer Place (from the film of the same name).  He then performed his very own unusual version of Chopsticks before concluding the first half with a Dixieland tune, Muskrat Ramble.  

Tim opened the second half and introduced a special guest, Andover’s Young Musician of the Year, Martin Head, who proceeded, quite nervelessly, to play Debussy’s Arabesque – the piece he had chosen as his competition-winning entry earlier in the year and for which he was loudly applauded. 

Tim followed on with a mixture of keyboard classics, including Errol Garner’s MistyVoices of Spring (Johann Strauss Jr), Hoagy Carmichael’s The Nearness of You and Here’s that Rainy Day (a song recorded by Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney, amongst others).  He continued with two Classical pieces – Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca and Handel’s The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba – but proceedings were not allowed to become too serious as Tim frequently took the opportunity to combine his musical talent with his propensity to include a few jokes and to engage with a few members of the audience who were fortunate enough – or perhaps unfortunate enough – to be sat in the front rows of the auditorium! 

Rosalie returned to the piano to perform a medley consisting of Handel’s FantasiaAs Long As He Needs Me (from Oliver), and I Won’t Send Roses (from Mack and Mabel).  This was followed by Irving Berlin’s How Deep is the Ocean and Our Love Affair (from the 1957 film, An Affair to Remember), and As If We Never Said Goodbye.  The two stars combined at the end of the show to perform Sinatra’s My Way and, responding to shouts of ‘more’ from the audience, concluded with Alexander’s Ragtime Band and Has Anybody Seen My Gal?

The Society continues its efforts to provide a variety of top class entertainment at competitive prices but, in common with other similar local clubs, needs the full support of the Andover and district community in order to achieve its objectives.  Entertainment like this certainly deserves greater interest.

 

 
19 SEPTEMBER 2013

There was music in abundance at the scheduled September concert, where JAMES GOFF was making his first appearance.  Apart from being an accomplished pianist and keyboard player, James also has his own band and is regularly booked for weddings, parties, ballroom/sequence dancing and various festivals. 

A resident of Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, James began his career as a professional musician at Pontins holiday camps and has since performed in numerous clubs around the country, accompanying many of the big name cabaret acts.  His band has also performed on a number of cruise ships, including the P & O Liner ‘Oriana’.

At the beginning of the evening, James announced that his programme would include as many as 86 different tunes – and, although most people would have doubted him, by the time he had played through a number of medleys his statement was probably accurate!  Nevertheless, he still found time to intersperse his music with a number of amusing jokes, all making for a very entertaining show.

Listing all of the items performed is not really practical; however, the first half began with a selection from film musicals, including such songs as Some Enchanted Evening, Somewhere Over the RainbowDo-Re-Mi, Eidelweiss and Hello Young Lovers.  This was followed by a trio of tunes that James particularly favoured – Blue Moon, Misty and Georgia – and for which the piano sound was prominent.  The Shadows then featured with Dance On, before an American theme was introduced. 

The musical ‘journey’ included visits to New York, Manhattan, Phoenix, New Orleans, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Carolina, San Francisco, Massachusetts, Chicago and California (all associated with song titles)!

The music of Glenn Miller was represented by Moonlight Serenade, followed by the ever-popular Stevie Wonder hit, I Just Called to Say I Love You.  As the interval approached, James performed a brief medley consisting of The Very Thought of You, The Nearness of You and At Last, rounding off the session with another Glenn Miller favourite, Take the ‘A’ Train.

A trio of hits from the late 50s/early 60s opened the second half – Neil Sedaka’sOh Carol, Save the Last Dance for Me (The Drifters) and Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (recorded by The Shirelles and later reprised by Amy Winehouse).  James then performed a selection of Sambas before inviting the audience to join in with a sing-along medley.  Another Shadows hit, Apache, was next to be heard, followed by the evergreen Dambusters March.  Returning to dance mode, a Bossa Nova selection was next to feature, leading up to a medley of Abba hits – The Winner Takes it All, Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, Thank You For the Music, Dancing Queen and Mamma Mia.

More memory-jerkers were introduced by James – titles including Black is Black (Los Bravos), Do Wah Diddy (Manfred Mann), Amarillo (Tony Christie) and a couple of Beatles hits, From Me to You and A Hard Day’s Night.  To bring the evening to a close, the tempo was decreased for A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, Yesterday and As Time Goes By before being raised once more for El Comanchero and Hava Nagila.

Unsurprising shouts of ‘Encore’ could not be ignored and James aptly selected Frank Sinatra’s My Way.  And so ended a thoroughly enjoyable evening,  with James performing his way – much to the delight of a very responsive audience.  The concert proved once again that the range of entertainment differs from month to month, from artiste to artiste and the music changes from instrument to instrument ... all excellent value for money!

 
 
 
 
14 SEPTEMBER 2013
 
 

Entertainment of the highest order was on offer at the Fairground Hall as the Weyhill Electronic Organ Society staged a special Saturday night concert featuring top German player, ROBERT BARTHA.  The show, sponsored by Wersi Direct, attracted support from as far afield as Berkshire, Surrey and Gloucestershire, plus a good number of local people who were making a first-time visit.  Robert was making a brief 3-concert tour to the UK and the Club was honoured to have been selected as one of the hosts.

 

The range of music, sounds and styles was extensive and Robert demonstrated great skill on his top-of-the range, expensive, 3-manual instrument, on keys and pedals alike – as the audience could clearly witness via the Club’s impressive video projection arrangement.  The hall was adorned with German flags whilst the artiste, quite unknowingly, returned the compliment by sporting a T-shirt bearing an image of the Queen!

 

The concert opened in rousing fashion, leading into a Classical up-tempo medley, followed by the quieter sound of Spanish guitar.  Robert then enlisted a little audience participation, moving in time with The Second Waltz (Shostakovich), played in the style of André Rieu.  Julie London’s fifties hit, Cry Me a River demonstrated the artiste’s finesse, whilst Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word (Elton John) brought the music into the seventies.  Moving further up to date, Robert then performed Gary Moore’s Still Got the Blues , from the nineties, and a couple of Lady Gaga recordings – Paparazzi (2009) and Marry the Night (2011).  The audience sang along as Those Were the Days (Mary Hopkin) was performed, before Glenn Miller’s popular Moonlight Serenade closed the first half.

 

The unexpected sound of a helicopter (these instruments have few limitations!) caught the attention as the second half began and the high standard of entertainment was continued.  The Bee Gees featured with a medley consisting of Staying Alive, How Deep is Your Love and Night Fever , before the tempo slowed with Summertime (a sixties hit for Ella Fitzgerald).  Film music was then introduced with the dramatic Pirates of the Caribbean, music ideally suited to Robert’s flamboyant style.

 

The artiste then introduced the familiar sounds of the Hammond organ with a short medley, including Mack the Knife (from The Threepenny Opera), before a ‘finger-challenging’ Lord of the Dance and a return to the movies with Ennio Morricone’s excellent theme music for the 1984 film, Once Upon a Time in America.  As the evening drew to a conclusion, Robert performed a selection of Walt Disney favourites, including such tunes as Whistle While You Work, The Bare Necessities, Some Day My Prince Will Come and music from The Lion King.

 

There was no way the audience would have allowed Robert to ‘escape’ without performing an encore – even though the concert had already gone over normal time!  A selection of Abba hits – including Money, Money, Money, Super Trouper, One of Us is Lying, Mama Mia, Waterloo and Thank you for the Music – was chosen to end a truly enjoyable evening.  If or when Robert makes a future UK tour the Club will surely hope to be first in the queue to engage the services of this immensely talented and amiable performer.


 
 
15 AUGUST 2013

Guest artiste at the Weyhill Electronic Organ Society’s August concert was BRETT WALES, from Nottingham, making his fifth appearance for the Club – the most recent of which was at The Lights in 2010.

Brett began playing at a very young age and soon displayed an uncanny ability to memorise melody lines.  Indeed, his ability to hear and reproduce melodies accurately is a hallmark of his music today as he displays an innate creativity, always searching for new sounds and accurately reproducing the relevant instruments.  He has performed concerts in Germany, the Netherlands and throughout the UK, delighting audiences wherever he performs with his own unique style.   

The concert began in dramatic style with the Vangelis film theme, 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Brett then continued with Glenn Miller’s In the Mood and James Last’s Lonely Shepherd.  A dip into the 1930s produced a Fats Waller hit, When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful – a song subsequently revived by Eric Clapton – before the first Classical piece of the evening was introduced; this came in the form of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 21, Andante (Elvira Madigan) and was performed with a delightful strings sound. 

By way of contrast, Brett then increased the tempo for Abba’s Super Trouper, followed by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Don’t Cry For Me Argentina (from Evita).  A further change in mood was made with a Latin American number being played – namely Amor, Amor, Amor (a Julio Iglesias hit) – and a short medley, including Abanda (a Herb Alpert favourite) and Apache (from The Shadows).  As the interval beckoned, the audience heard Michael Jackson’s Rockin’ Robin, the Billie Jo Spears hit, Blanket on the Ground and, to round off the session, Dusty Springfield’s I Only Want To Be With You 

A toe-tapping song, Santa Lucia By Night (George Baker Selection) opened the second half in fine style, followed by the Walker Brothers hit, The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore.  The variation continued with a Rock’n’Roll medley – including This Ole House (Rosemary Clooney) and Rock Around the Clock (Bill Haley).  Brett then performed one of his favourite Classical pieces – The Blue Danube (Strauss Jr.) and, for something entirely different, the Johnny Cash number, Folsom Prison Blues. 

Another pop favourite, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, added to the entertainment value whilst Bert Kaempfert’s Bye Bye Blues was played in up-tempo fashion before Brett’s ‘pièce de résistance’, Flight of the Bumblebee.  Two top vocalists, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, were remembered with Let Me Try Again and The Wonder of You, respectively.  To close the evening, Brett selected the John Miles hit, Music, and a Bluegrass medley, including Duelling Banjos, as the encore demanded by an enthusiastic audience. 

Such a varied and enjoyable selection of music, together with the acclaim afforded to him, should ensure that this performer’s sixth appearance for the Club is unlikely to be too far away. 

 
 
18 JULY 2013 
 
 
Guest artiste at the Society’s July concert was BYRON JONES, from Bristol, making his third appearance for the Club.  Byron was born in Gwent, South Wales – hence the name ‘The Welsh Wizard’ by which he has become known.  He began his career in working men’s clubs in Wales, accompanying many of the big stars who visited to perform in cabaret – names such as Dorothy Squires, Donald Peers, Ruby Murray, Ann Shelton and Dickie Valentine.  He later progressed to the larger clubs, where he was engaged to play for artistes straight from the London Palladium.

Despite the heat and humidity, the occasion was relaxed and informal, with a wide variation of music and sounds.  The evening began with Bésame Mucho, followed by the haunting sound of the pan pipes for James Last’s Morning in Cornwall.  Byron then introduced the sounds of the theatre organ for We’ll All Go Riding on a Rainbow and Sussex By the Sea plus the piano sound for Erroll Garner’s Misty, My Mother’s Eyes and The Twelfth of Never.

The concert continued with Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – a Goffin and King composition first recorded by The Shirelles – and Diana (written and recorded by Paul Anka), before Mascagni’s delightful Classical masterpiece, Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana, strongly featuring the violin and orchestral sound.  Switching to the jazz violin and additional voices, Byron then performed Sweet Georgia Brown, All of Me and Mack the Knife.  The session was concluded with The Grand March from Verdi’s opera Aida, utilising the pipe organ sound, followed by a selection of lively polkas, including the Hip Hop Polka and Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.

After some much needed refreshment, the second half began with 1492:Conquest of Paradise (Vangelis), from the film of the same name, followed by the Radetzky March (Johann Strauss Snr.), involving the customary audience participation. With thoughts of Vienna still in mind, Byron continued with the Merry Widow Waltz and Vilja (Franz Lehár compositions) before launching into an up-tempo medley, consisting of the Happy Wanderer, Do-Re-Mi,When the Saints Go Marching In and the White Horse Inn. 

The next items to feature were the Adele hit, Make You Feel My Love (a Bob Dylan composition) and If I Never Sing Another Song (a hit for Joe Longthorne and Shirley Bassey).  A couple of show tunes, S’Wonderful and I Got Rhythm (both written by George and Ira Gershwin) preceded James Last’s Games That Lovers Play before Byron ‘returned to his Welsh roots’ by performing Myfanwy and All Through the Night.

A selection from the USA – California Here I Come, Carolina in the Morning and New York, New York – brought the evening to a close, along with What a Beautiful Day and the inevitable encore, the ever-popular Highland Cathedral.  Another excellent concert and another competent and friendly performer: exactly what was needed to take one’s mind away from the stifling conditions!  

 
20 JUNE 2013 
 
 

Its almost like a homecoming whenever NICHOLAS MARTIN , from Leicestershire, visits the Fairground Hall in Weyhill.  Nick – as he is known to his many friends and fans – who was the Weyhill Electronic Organ Society’s guest player for June, had performed for the Club’s inaugural concert in July 2002, was the invited artiste for their 100th concert in August 2010 and has made several other appearances for them.  In any event, his popularity and excellent technical ability had clearly not waned one iota.

After opening with his signature tune, Hey Look Me Over, Nick began with a selection of Show tunes, including Hello Dolly (from the musical of the same name), Happy Talk (from South Pacific) and Shall We Dance (from The King And I).  These were followed by Ballade Pour Adeline (Richard Clayderman) and Romance, from The Gadfly (a Shostakovich composition, recently revived by André Rieu).

George Shearing’s Lullaby of Birdland was next in line, preceding Portrait of My Love (a Matt Monro Hit) and a selection of dance music, reminding the audience that Nick had once held the post of resident organist at the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool.  Tunes to feature included For All We Know, Mack The Knife, Poor People of Paris, This Nearly Was Mine, No Other Love, Cabaret and Music, Music, Music.

Nick then performed one of his favourite pieces, Twelfth Street Rag, whilst the Radetsky March (Strauss Sr.) prompted the customary audience participation.  Next came Love You Every Second (Charlie Landsborough) – a song new to the Weyhill audience – followed by the ever-popular Classical piece, Cavalleria Rusticana-Intermezzo (Mascagni).  In almost no time at all, the interval was approaching, the session being wound up with Music of The Night (Phantom of the Opera) and Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, from Disney’s Song of the South.

The second half began with the Dambusters March, complete with suitable sound effects – a timely performance considering the recent 70th Anniversary of the famous World War 2 air raid.  A James Last composition,  Morning in Cornwall,  was next on the agenda, followed by Winifred Atwell’s Coronation Rag and the classic Dream of Olwen, from the film While I Live.  The Bluebell Polka gave proceedings a Scottish flavour, followed by a Sousa march titledThe Thunderer.  Anyone who could recall the BBC radio programme In Town Tonight would have recognised The Knightsbridge March (Eric Coates) whilst Dickie Valentine’s In a Golden Coach must have stretched a few memories.

I Dreamed a Dream (from Les Miserables) was well received, as was You Raise Me Up (a hit for Josh Groban and Westlife, amongst others).  Being a soccer fan, Nick then opted to include You’ll Never Walk Alone (from Carousel) – the Liverpool FC anthem – the Match of the Day theme and the Post Horn Gallop, the latter being the anthem adopted by Leicester City FC (Nick’s team).  Sadly, the show was almost over – but not before Nick had performed a piece which has become his own – a clever combination of Tiger Rag and Vidor’s Toccata!  The audience demanded an encore, for which Sinatra’s My Way was selected.   

The end-of-concert acclaim was certainly well deserved and it is inevitable that this talented artiste will be making yet another ‘home-coming’ in the not too distant future.     

Note: An exit collection raised the most commendable sum of £183 for Nick’s special Autism charity.

  

16 MAY 2013
 
24-year-old IAN HOUSE belied his young age in producing a top class performance for the Weyhill Electronic Organ Society’s May concert; Ian, who was raised in Bristol but now lives in Bath, has played keyboards since the age of seven.  In 2003, he won the National Young Theatre Organist of the Year competition and also competed in the International Competition, winning both Junior and Intermediate divisions.  For the past two years he has been working with Yamaha as a National Piano and Keyboard specialist, travelling throughout the UK, performing on and promoting Yamaha keyboard products alongside workshop training and clinics for both Yamaha customers and music shop staff.

To please everyone with an entire concert programme is a virtual impossibility but Ian must have come as close to achieving this objective as anyone could and the evening provided the enthusiastic audience with an extensive variety of music.     

Aquarius (from the musical Hair) got the concert off to a lively start, followed by the Rodeo March, before the tempo was slowed with a Nat King Cole Jazz-style recording, That’s All.  A selection of Country-style music was next to be performed – with Eric Clapton’s Lay Down Sally and Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Were Made For Walking.  Ian then introduced the Big Band sound for It’s De-Lovely and, by way of contrast, Send in the Clowns (from Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music) – a hit for Judy Collins amongst many other recording artistes.   

Stevie Wonder’s hit from the 70s, Isn’t She Lovely, represented the pop music world, followed by Make You Feel My Love – a Bob Dylan composition which became a big hit for Adele in 2008.  Ian had cleverly added Adele’s voice to his performance and, by so doing, demonstrated yet another innovative addition to the capabilities of the modern electronic keyboards.  Poinciana – a Latin American number in Big Band style – was next in the programme, preceding a toe-tapping Irish jig titled Toss the Feathers, a Corrs recording.  An André Rieu arrangement of John Denver’s Annie’s Song and a Polka titled Bel Viso brought the first half to a close. 

Ian recommenced with a selection of film themes, 1492: Conquest of Paradise (Vangelis), Nine to Five (Dolly Parton) and Somewhere Out There (from the 1986 animated film, An American Tail).  Another march, Blaze Away, preceded Ben (with Michael Jackson’s voice superimposed) and  Classical music was then given an airing – with Mascagni’s popular Cavalliera Rusticana Intermezzo.  The Frank Sinatra hit, Come Fly With Me, reintroduced the Big Band sound, followed by Don’t Know Why (a Nora Jones recording) and the Georgie Fame 1965 hit, Yeh Yeh.  The style of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli was employed for an interesting Jazz interpretation of Tico Tico and, to end on a high note, Ian opted for a medley of Status Quo hits, culminating in Rockin’ All Over the World! 

The acclaim afforded to the artiste at the end of the concert spoke volumes for his success and an encore could not be avoided – a toe-tapping Dixieland number titled Canadian Capers.  Ian’s performance was appreciated by everyone and an invitation to return at some future date is surely inevitable.   

 
18 APRIL 2013
 

Around 200 music-lovers, including the Mayor of Test Valley Cllr. Dorothy Baverstock, experienced a simply brilliant evening when the Weyhill Electronic Organ Society staged its April concert at The Lights, Andover.  To say that comments heard afterwards were extremely positive would be an understatement and it was evident that the star German performer, CLAUDIA HIRSCHFELD, had thoroughly enjoyed making her fourth appearance for the Club – and her second visit to the Theatre. 

Claudia, who resides near Dortmund, has played concerts throughout Europe, as well as in the USA, Brazil and the Middle East, and makes frequent appearances on television and radio.  She is often referred to as the 'Prima Ballerina' of the keyboard – although, at times, her instrument sounded more like a full orchestra! – and on occasions, it seemed as if she was 'dancing' on the organ pedals, much like a tap dancer – as everyone could clearly witness!  Her explosive style and natural charm captivated the audience and her wide-ranging programme of music, including some of her own compositions, met with resounding approval.  

The concert opened with the Triumphal March from the opera Aida (Verdi), followed by the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Verdi’s opera Nabucco, complete with orchestra and voices.  Claudia then introduced a Gospel medley comprising of Michael Row the Boat Ashore, He’s Got the Whole World in his Hands and Down by the Riverside, with a predominant Hammond sound, along with piano and saxophone, before slowing the tempo for a beautiful rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu (from his Requiem) – a performance which would have not been out of place in a large cathedral. 

The next item in the programme was Claudia’s own arrangement of J S Bach’s Toccata, incorporating the sound of the Classical organ.  In complete contrast, two familiar James Bond film themes were performed – For Your Eyes Only (the show title) and the Dr No Theme, introducing the sounds of bass guitar and brass.  Films continued to be featured with Henry Mancini’s instantly recognisable theme from The Pink Panther and Hans Zimmer’s theme music for Pirates of the Caribbean, followed by the emotive theme from Passion of the Christ, whilst the Poet and Peasant Overture (von Suppé), complete with full orchestral strings, concluded the first half entertainment.    

Welcomed back after the interval, Claudia played one of her own compositions – an up-tempo piece titled Young Opera, for which her instrument pedals were working overtime!  As a personal friend of James Last, she then performed a medley of traditional British songs in the manner of the maestro himself – namely Cockles and Mussels,Daisy Bell and the hymn Abide With Me, each with the sound of the accordion and voices.  Highland Cathedral, a popular tune which is thought to be associated with Scotland although composed by two Germans, was then performed, with the sound of bagpipes and military band.  The familiar James Last composition Morning in Cornwall, complete with the haunting pan pipes, was next on the agenda  whilst the style of André Rieu was evident through the Viennese waltz, Tanzen Moecht’ich (Kalman).   

A Berlin Medley – Claudia’s special arrangement of lively songs with a hint of traditional jazz – was then introduced before a return to film themes. Moon River (Henry Mancini) from Breakfast at Tiffany’s and True Love (Cole Porter) from High Society were the selections, both of which included the Hammond sound, accordion, orchestra and strings.  The Radetzky March (Strauss Sr.) evoked images of the New Year’s concert in Vienna and another film theme, Arrivederci Roma – a Dean Martin recording – included accordion and strings.  The performance ended with a rousing version of the Dambusters March (well, bygones are bygones) followed by a vibrant encore of Rock’n’Roll music – Jailhouse Rock, Hound Dog and Blue Suede Shoes. 

Claudia indicated that she would love to return ... and nobody is likely to object to again welcoming such a talented player and charming personality.  As one audience member remarked, “Absentees just don’t realise what they are missing!” 

 
21 MARCH 2013
 

Supporters of the Weyhill Electronic Organ Society were able to forget the miserable rainy weather for a couple of hours as KEVIN GRUNILL, from Scarborough, provided the music for the Club’s February entertainment. Kevin had travelled up from the Bournemouth Pavilion, where he had been performing a lunchtime concert, and the transition from pipe organ to his electronic instrument was completely seamless.

 
Kevin, who was making his third appearance at Weyhill, studied at a performing arts college before furthering his skills at Leeds University where, in 1994, he gained a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree in music. Since graduating from University, Kevin has performed at many of the country's major musical venues, including the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Royal Festival Hall in London, as well as the Opera House and Tower Ballroom in Blackpool.
 
In 1997, he was appointed resident organist at the North Pier, Blackpool, where he entertained hundreds of thousands of holiday-makers until 2005, and during that period he was also one of the resident organists at the Tower Ballroom. One of his main interests is the history and construction of the theatre organ and he has been responsible for relocating and installing such instruments in the Penistone Paramount, near Barnsley, and in a steam and organ museum in Scarborough.
 
Appropriately enough, proceedings commenced with That’s Entertainment (from ‘Band Wagon’), followed by a Frank Sinatra recording, I’m a Fool to Want You, before a reminder of Andre Rieu was produced – by way of The Second Waltz (Shostakovich) and Red Rose Café. Next to feature was a delightful Michel Legrand composition, How Do You Keep the Music Playing (from the 1982 film, ‘Best Friends’), before Kevin introduced Royal Event – composed by Trevor Stanford (alias Russ Conway).  
 
This Heart of Mine (Harry Warren) preceded an item to challenge imaginations – Pie in the Face Polka from the 1965 comedy film titled ‘The Great Race’. As the interval approached, a trio of Glenn Miller tunes were played – Moonlight Serenade, Serenade in Blue and At Last – followed the Eric Coates composition, Calling All Workers (the theme music for the old radio programme, ‘Music While You Work’).
 
Suitably refreshed, the audience members returned to their seats to hear a timely tribute to the late Kenny Ball – Midnight in Moscow and I Wanna Be Like You (from Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’). The Jennifer Rush hit, The Power of Love, was next to feature before a series of marches were performed – Aces High, Old Comrades, Anchors Away and The Great Little Army. Tunes from the musical, ‘Les Miserables’ proved to be extremely popular with the Weyhill contingent – a selection that included Master of the House, Bring Him Home and On My Own.
 
Considering Kevin’s background, it was no surprise to hear a selection of typical ‘sing-a-long’ tunes, using the familiar Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer sound and this was followed by a George Shearing medley, comprising of I’m In the Mood for Love, Deep Purple and Laura. In complete contrast, Louis Clark’s ‘Hooked on Classics’ of the 80s was then performed – with the Tritsch Tratsch Polka, Thunder and Lightning Polka and Czardas. Time had simply flown by and it was time to bring the evening to a close. Kevin selected Can-Can (from ‘Orpheus in the Underworld’) and, responding to calls for an encore, Devil’s Gallop, the theme to the ‘Dick Barton’ radio series.
 
The evening provided excellent variation, including some pieces that were new to the audience, and the expressive music was accompanied by descriptive introductions throughout – a very professional performance from a master of his art.
 
21 FEBRUARY 2013
 

Despite the cold weather, supporters of the Weyhill Electronic Organ Society turned up in good numbers for the Club’s February concert – and the entertainment provided by guest artiste CHRIS POWELL, from Leicestershire, provided plenty of warmth!

 

By the time he was 18, Chris had successfully auditioned to join the team of organists playing for dancing at Blackpool’s famous Tower Ballroom and he soon became recognised for his musical talents, leading to a succession of invitations to perform at electronic and pipe organ venues.  Since then – and now at the age of 41 – he has not looked back and regularly undertakes tours of Australia and New Zealand where his popularity has been sustained.

 

From the very first tune – The Shadows’ Foot Tapper – the extensive range of music was well received.  The Demis Roussos song, Forever and Ever, was next to feature, followed by Save Your Love, a 1982 hit for Renée and Renato.  Thoughts of warmer climes were evoked with Una Paloma Blanca before a selection of Glenn Miller favourites produced the familiar sound; Pennsylvania 6-5000, Moonlight Serenade and In the Mood were the chosen items.

 

Chris then performed a selection from popular musicals – titles such as Cabaret, The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow and You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile (both from Annie), On My Own (Les Miserables), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and You’ll Never Walk Alone (Carousel).  The next section proved to very popular with the audience – a Buddy Holly medley comprising of Heartbeat, True Love Ways, Raining in My Heart, That’ll Be the Day and Oh Boy – whilst a rendition of Sing, the recent Gary Barlow/Andrew Lloyd Webber composition, was very well received.

 

Considering the artiste’s background, it was no surprise to hear the Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer sound for a brief selection including Congratulations (Cliff Richard), Around the World (Ronnie Hilton), Tammy (Debbie Reynolds) and the Black and White Rag (Winifred Attwell).  Then, leading up to the interval, the audience was transported across to Europe with Viva Espana, Under the Bridges of Paris, I Love Paris, O Sole Mio and Funniculi Funnicula. 

 

Jackie Wilson’s Reet Petite got the second half under way, followed by the Bette Midler hit, The Rose, with the audience humming along to the popular tune.  Chris then introduced a medley of hits from the 50s – featuring Blueberry Hill (Fats Domino), The Great Pretender (The Platters), Mister Sandman (The Chordettes), La Bamba (Ritchie Valens), Magic Moments (Perry Como) and At The Hop (Danny & The Juniors).  By way of contrast, a couple of Classical tunes in the style of James Last came next – Largo from Dvorak’s New World Symphony (the well known bread advertisement theme), Barcarolle from The Tales of Hoffmann (Offenbach) and Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

 

Film music was given an airing with the dramatic Conquest of Paradise (Vangelis) before a few songstresses were recalled ... You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me and I Only Want To Be With You (both hits for Dusty Springfield), Puppet On a String (Sandie Shaw), Alfie (Cilla Black) and Walking Back to Happiness (Helen Shapiro).  Chris then performed a medley of Elvis favourites, The Wonder of You, Can’t Help Falling In Love and, provoking the loudest acclaim of the evening, An American Trilogy.  To round off the evening, the audience joined in with the Pomp & Circumstance March (Elgar) and with an inevitable encore – the Radetsky March (Strauss Sr.).

 

This was the fifth occasion on which Chris had performed for the Club – on the basis of this concert further appearances must be assured.  The external temperature had certainly been forgotten for a few hours!
 
 
17 JANUARY 2013
 
If the forecast snow had arrived in the area just a few hours earlier it is unlikely that the Club’s first concert of the year could have gone ahead ... but, as it was, the hardy supporters who braved the cold were rewarded with some top class musical entertainment.  Guest artiste STEVE HUBBLE made the journey from his Dorset home to perform a well-received debut concert.
 

A striking opening, with a Barbra Streisand medley, provided a promising indication of the music in store.  The selection included such hits as People, EvergreenSecond Hand Rose, You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, The Way We Were, Happy Days Are Here Again and a reprise of People.  Steve continued with I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Frank Sinatra) and Hello Again (Neil Diamond).  By way of contrast, the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, with Girl from Ipanema, was introduced, after which a previously unheard piece was performed – namely Water Fountain, composed by David Foster for the 1987 film, The Secret of My Success, with the

piano sound featuring prominently. 

 

Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Taxi was next to feature, followed by a selection of songs from My Fair LadyOn The Street Where You Live, I Could Have Danced All Night, I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face and I’m Getting Married in the Morning.  Leroy Anderson’s Forgotten Dreams reintroduced the piano sound whilst the Andy Williams ballad, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, provided a further change of mood.

 

As the interval approached, Steve performed The Blue Danube (Strauss) and a mixture of piano and Spanish guitar for the Roger Webb theme from the 1970 film, One Brief Summer; the almost inevitable Dambusters March completed the first half.

 

Following the interval, Steve introduced a modern Classical piece titled Palladio (Karl Jenkins), after which he performed the Sammy Cahn/Jimmy van Heusen composition, The Second Time Around – a song recorded by several top vocalists including Tony Bennett and Shirley Bassey.  Selections from Mac and Mabel automatically revived memories of Torvill and Dean’s ice skating triumphs, whilst the trumpet sound was produced for Eddie Calvert’s Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White.  

 

Another Antonio Carlos Jobin item – Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars – was played before Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther, followed by David Foster’s arrangement of Somewhere (from West Side Story) – a truly excellent interpretation!  However, arguably the most popular section of the evening came next ... a selection from Les Miserables – consisting of At The End of the Day, I Dreamed a Dream, Master of the House, Bring Him Home, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, On My Own  and Do You Hear the People Sing?

 

Steve then introduced the ‘Welsh National Anthem’ (his words) in the form of Just Help Yourself – a Tom Jones hit – before taking A Walk in the Black Forest (Horst Jankowski 1965).  Then, as the concert reached a climax, Ennio Morricone’s theme for the film Once Upon a Time in the West and John Miles’ Music demonstrated the vast amount of preparation that had gone into the programme.  Duelling Banjos (from the film Deliverance) was selected as an encore to conclude an excellent evening and herald the beginning of the Club’s 2013 concert schedule.
 
 
20 DECEMBER 2012 
 
 

Club supporters welcomed DAVID THOMAS, from near Thetford in Norfolk, as guest artiste for their December concert – a concert with a distinctly festive atmosphere. 

 

Apart from being a very talented performer, David, who was making his third visit to Weyhill, also has considerable experience of creating screen graphics for shows and finds himself in demand at many events throughout the UK, both as a player and technician.

 

The concert opened with an Irving Berlin selection, including Let’s Face the Music and Dance and Top Hat, White Tie and Tails; then, by way of setting the atmosphere, David performed Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  A Latin American medley was introduced, beginning with Besame Mucho and including songs associated with such artistes as Demis Roussos (Forever and Ever), Buddy Holly (Raining in my Heart), Neil Sedaka (Laughter in the Rain) and Burt Bacharach (Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head).

 

The audience was certainly being kept entertained – not only with the excellent music but also by the screen images which David continually changed to fit the various themes.  Classical music was represented by Pachabel’s Canon in D, followed by Tamborin and Stranger on the Shore (Acker Bilk), plus a rapid Latin number titled Primero.  As the interval approached, Shirley Bassey’s Something was performed, followed by Bie Mir Bist Du Schoen (Al Bowlly) and Winifred Attwell’s Black and White Rag. 

 

After an extended interval, during which the audience enjoyed another great ‘hit’ – namely hot sausage rolls and mince pies! – David resumed proceedings with Sleigh Ride, followed by a number of traditional carols and a few well known Christmas songs – Jingle Bells, Silent Night, Ding Dong Merrily on High, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Walking in a Winter Wonderland – all heartily aided by the ‘WEOS Chorale’.   The popular Music Box Dancer was well received, as was The Christmas Song (Nat King Cole), whilst the James Bond Theme changed the mood once more.  A varied selection of dance music was then introduced – including such tunes as Hello Dolly, Cara Mia (a 1954 hit for David Whitfield), You’ll Never Know, Pasadena, Anything Goes, The Black Bottom and The Hustle (Van McCoy’s 1975 hit). 

 

To bring the show to a conclusion, David introduced his pièce de résistance’ – a duet with Bing Crosby!  With the aid of technology and excellent timing, he sang and spoke the part of Frank Sinatra with Well, Did You Evah, from the film, ‘High Society’ ... but the audience did not want to finish with that!  So for an encore ... and what better way to end than with White Christmas, although outside it was proving to be an extremely wet Christmas!  And so the Club’s 2012 programme was over, appropriately ending on a high note – with an excellent performance from a hugely talented player.    

 
 
 
22 NOVEMBER 2012
 

The audience braved the wind and rain to welcome guest artiste ALEX PAYLER, for the Club’s September concert.  Alex, from Sittingbourne in Kent, was making his third visit to Weyhill and, as previously, his performance did not disappoint.  A true pioneer of his craft, he impresses his audiences with his natural talent, imagination and musical interpretation.  In addition, he carefully selects his programme with the intention of satisfying as many tastes as possible.

 

The evening began in rousing fashion with the Superman Theme (John Williams), followed by Charlie Barnet’s Big Band number, Skyliner.  Alex then introduced a piece of Classical music with Edvard Grieg’s Morning and contrasted this with a Latin American song, titled Mas Que Nada (a Sérgio Mendes 60s recording), before returning to the Classical scene with Habanera from Bizet’s Carmen.   

 

Acknowledging the 50th anniversary of James Bond films, Alex performed the Theme from Golden Eye (recorded by Tina Turner) and then played Hello Dolly in Dixieland fashion.  The beautiful Nimrod (from Elgar’s Enigma Variations) was the next item to be performed, after which the atmosphere was lightened with Leroy Anderson’s novelty tune, The Typewriter. 

 

As the interval approached, Alex produced his own tribute to Walt Disney, including such songs as When You Wish Upon A Star and A Whole New World, followed by the flamenco rhythm of Firedance (from Riverdance), accompanied by appropriate flamelike lighting.

 

A rousing film theme opened the second half – namely Pirates Of The Caribbean (composed by Hans Zimmer) -  followed by an even more striking piece, the theme from Once Upon A Time In The West (Ennio Morricone).  Another John Williams composition was then introduced – the 1941 March, from the film titled 1941, relating to the bombing of Pearl Harbour.

 

Arguably, the most appreciated section of Alex’s concert was his excellent interpretation of Leonard Bernstein’s music from West Side Story – with such memorable songs as Tonight, Maria, America and Somewhere.  Then, with the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in mind, an Argentine Tango titled Libertango was performed, followed by a dedication to The Carpenters by way of Goodbye To Love, featuring a short electric guitar solo.

 

The Brass Band sound was then featured for Parade Of The Tin Soldiers, whilst the Big Band was reintroduced with Count Basie’s Splanky.  As the evening reached its conclusion, André Rieu’s arrangement of Bolero revived memories of Torvill and Dean at the 1984 Winter Olympics, but Alex had saved one more for the inevitable encore – his very own arrangement of Bach’s Solfeggietto. 

 

Whilst Alex must be complimented on his professional and varied display, the audience also deserves considerable praise for defying the elements to attend this enjoyable concert.

 
 
18 OCTOBER 2012
 
 
The Society decided to ‘push the boat out’ by engaging four artistes to perform for its October concert at The Lights Theatre in Andover ... and their initiative was well rewarded with a truly excellent show, in front of an audience of around 220.  
The show was brilliantly directed by MICHAEL WOOLDRIDGE, more than ably assisted by CHRIS STANBURY and percussionist, GARETH THOMPSON.  The foursome was completed by talented vocalist SUE STOCKLEY, making her debut appearance for an electronic organ society.

 

The stage was far from easy to set up, with cameras fixed on two keyboards as well as the Theatre’s grand piano, but the effort was certainly worthwhile.  The programme slotted together in an extremely smooth fashion, just as one would expect from a team of such consummate professionals.  With cameras focussed on two electronic keyboards as well as the Theatre’s grand piano, the entire audience had an uninterrupted view throughout of the individual skills.

 

Michael opened the show, performing That’s Entertainment on his electronic keyboard and was then joined by percussionist Gareth who was able to demonstrate his talents with Ravel’s Bolero.  Together they then combined to play a Glenn Miller Big Band selection – At Last, Little Brown Jug and, inevitably, Moonlight Serenade.  The set concluded with Benny Goodman’s Sing, Sing, Sing.

 

Vocalist Sue then came on stage to sing All That Jazz (from the show Chicago), followed by the Barbra Streisand hit, The Way We Were, and concluding with My Heart Will Go On (from Titanic).  It was then time for Chris to become involved with a couple of pieces performed solo on keyboard – Trumpet Blues and Cantabile (Harry James) and a bossa nova medley.  Michael and Gareth returned, and with Chris on piano, they played Johnny Pearson’s Sleepy Shores (the theme from the Seventies TV series, Owen M.D.) and upped the tempo with Sweet Georgia Brown.   

 

With Michael on piano and with Chris returning to his keyboard, the trio completed the first half with a Mexican Fiesta Medley and returned together after the interval to perform an up-beat version of Sway, together with a fabulous Russian classical style arrangement of the novelty tune, Chopsticks.  Sue returned briefly to sing George Gershwin’s Summertime before Chris had the stage to himself once again for a delightful rendition of As If We Never Said Goodbye (from Sunset Boulevard) and the finger-stretching, Brazilian number, Tico Tico.  It was then Michael’s turn to perform solo on keyboard with a selection of Theatre Organ tunes, after which he was joined by Gareth, who featured prominently with Love Me Or Leave Me.

 

Accompanied by Chris on keyboard and Gareth on drums, Sue came back to perform a couple of popular Sixties songs – I Only Wanna Be With You (Dusty Springfield) and I’ll Never Find Another You (Judith Durham & The Seekers).  For the finale section, Michael returned to the piano to play Liberace’s crowd-pleaser, the Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie.  The time had simply flown by – a sure sign of quality entertainment – and the trio ended the show with a Gershwin medley, naturally including Rhapsody in Blue.       

 

However, the audience decided differently – such was the volume and duration of the acclaim that an encore could not possibly be avoided ... and so the evening was wound up, appropriately aided by Sue, with the Pomp and Circumstance March No 1, Land of Hope and Glory being loudly sung by the entire audience.
 
The extremely positive exit feedback spoke volumes for just how much this enterprise and the artistes' brilliant performances had been appreciated.  This particular initiative had certainly proved to be an overwhelming success!