Fab four more than folk fiddlers

Bottle Bank Band, St George’s United Reformed Church, Morpeth.

Saturday, 27th April 2019, 3:40 pm
The Bottle Bank Band from Gateshead, who performed at Morpeth St George's United Reformed Church Lunchtime Concert.
The Bottle Bank Band from Gateshead, who performed at Morpeth St George's United Reformed Church Lunchtime Concert.

A capacity audience at St George’s United Reformed Church in Morpeth welcomed back, for its second Lunchtime Concert appearance, the Bottle Bank Band from Gateshead.

It was just over a year ago that this extremely talented quartet of violinists treated the audience to a thrilling musical experience at the same venue.

And once again, Sophy Ball, Chloe Jones, David Jones and Stewart Hardy played their mixture of waltzes, jigs, reels and traditional melodies with great confidence and sublime skill.

All four musicians already have established reputations as outstanding players and their prowess can only be enhanced by their performance on this occasion.

For a full hour they combined their musical talents with total discipline and togetherness in a music programme that was intricate, complex and challenging.

However, it was made to appear easy, so superb were the musical skills.

The Bottle Bank Band’s programme consisted mainly of local compositions — the 300 March, Ian Scott jigs and the Blaydon Reels being typical examples.

The first few bars of the opening 300 March put the audience totally at ease, and the musicians then worked effortlessly through their programme.

It was soon apparent that the ‘Bottle Bank Four’ are more than folk fiddlers — at times they sounded more like a classical string quartet.

This was most apparent in their beautiful rendering of Mr Isaac’s Lang Awa, and more particularly in the piece Waking Moment. This slower, nostalgic melody sounded classical in nature and was a joy to the ear, with perfect harmonies.

Again in the waltz, Howl’s Moving Castle, a lovely lilting theme had a classical element in its movement and sound.

However, it was the more traditional jigs and reels which really set the audience tapping their feet to the rhythms of the music — fast moving and exciting, and perfectly controlled, with the group playing as one with total precision.

This concert, which was full of thrilling compositions, passed by much too quickly and left the audience wanting much more.

The Bottle Bank Band, once again, enhanced its already high reputation in a concert of outstanding quality.


The final Lunchtime Concert of the current series takes place at St George’s on Wednesday, May 15.

It will feature artists from Royal Northern Sinfonia — Eilidh Gillespie (flute), Iona Brown (violin) and Nick Byrne (cello) in a concert of trios, duets and a solo, with music by Haydn, J.C. Bach, Gliére and others.

Tickets are £3 each at the door. Doors open at noon, with tea, coffee and biscuits available.

Concerts run from 12.30pm to 1.30pm.