Ponteland Rotary Club’s 30th Annual Gala Concert at the Britannia Hotel on Sunday, October 5, was a fantastic night of music and fun.
This long-standing popular event, which also celebrated the club’s 50th anniversary, was once again compered by Graeme Danby. It always brings good support from sponsors and attracts a large, appreciative audience.
International bass artiste Graeme, whose parents live in Ponteland, is a professor of music and, as part of the programme, he introduced a very talented group of students – Dodici Voce – who gave a fantastic performance.
Equally splendid was violinist Anthony Moffatt, leader of the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, who stood in at the last minute for Bradley Creswick. His rendition of Beethoven’s Spring Sonata brought gasps of disbelief at his brilliant virtuosity.
Graeme was also delighted to introduce newcomer Lisa Swayne, a wonderful soprano whose performance of Gershwin’s Summertime was outstanding.
Tenor Austin Gunn has a voice of clarity and tenderness so sweet to the ear. His aria from L’elisir d’Amore was well received as was the song The Lass of Castleside.
Graeme’s wife and singing partner, Valerie Reid, was beautifully expressive and she held the audience in her hands with Gluck’s Che Faro and Can’t Help Lovin Dat Man by Kern.
It wouldn’t be Ponteland gala night without a song by local composer Boswell. Graeme and Valerie produced tears of laughter from the audience with Ower Young to be Married, performed Geordie-style.
One has to mention accomplished pianist Lydia Newlands, whose accompaniment of the singers was superb.
Her skill at the piano is amazing and never misses a beat, which the artistes were quick to praise and appreciate.
Part of the finale was Dodici Voce, who delivered a six-part harmony medley of wartime favourites, superbly arranged by Eleanor Turton – a recent BA (Hons) graduate.
Finally, the audience were invited to sing along to We’ll Gather Lilacs in the Spring Again, ending a most fantastic evening’s entertainment.
Ponteland Rotary Club President Alan Hall thanked Graeme and the other artistes for a magnificent concert.
He recognised the sponsors of the event – Ballinger Trust, Cowell’s Garden Centre, Haveli (Indian restaurant), Newcastle Airport, Ponteland Print, Rialto (restaurant), Waitrose and the Britannia Hotel – and he also acknowledged the support of the audience and regular attenders of the concert.