The final lunchtime concert of the 2014 Winter Spring Series recently took place at St George’s United Reformed Church in Morpeth, with folk music featured for the very first time.
There were three main parts to the programme, which was performed by some of the leading artistes in the Northern folk circuit.
First to perform was harmonica player Ernie Gordon, who has played all over the world. He was joined by his friend Anita Jones.
Theirs was a varied programme alternating between harmonica and vocal with guitar accompaniment. The playing was most refreshing and skilful, particularly when, in the first piece, Happy Valley, the two friends played on a combination of no less than six harmonicas – not all at once it should be added.
Anita’s two solos, Northumberland and Rose of Allendale, were delightful, portraying her sweet and melodious voice to excellent effect.
Ernie and Anita concluded with a medley of traditional tunes, which showed the great skills and capabilities of their harmonica playing.
Second on stage was Bob Bolam, well known throughout Northumberland as a great raconteur and singer of folk songs – he has entertained in no less than 20 different venues in Morpeth.
Bob lived up to his reputation, delighting the audience with a succession of humorous songs and ditties, all with a background of Northern folk lore.
The most impressive feature was that all his songs and stories were delivered with a ‘dead pan’ expression, which made his performance something different and left the listener yearning for more.
The final part of the programme brought together two violinists and a pianist.
Rachael Hales is a very busy performer in the area because apart from her folk music, she plays in the Newcastle University Symphony Orchestra and the Newcastle Sinfonietta.
She was joined for the concert by violinist Robin Dunn and pianist Sue Morgan, with whom she regularly plays as part of the ceilidh band, Fiddler’s Elbow.
The trio brought the concert to a rousing finale, with folk music played in a spectacular style full of vigour and energy. The various short compositions were varied in both mood and tempo and there was lovely interplay between the two violins, with the piano playing its full part.
This introduction of folk music was a resounding success and the large audience echoed this with long and sustained applause.
The concerts take a rest for the summer, but will return in September for the first of the Autumn series.