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BT ring in Xmas for the 14th time

Mike Fowles and his band welcome in the festive season with Carol Voderman — wonder how she had the time to fit it all in what with flogging her diet books and finance deals to people with CCJ's...

MIKE fOWLES

 

The BT Band have appeared for the 14th time at the Royal Albert hall in London for the annual BT Christmas concert conducted by their long standing MD Mike Fowles.

Performing to the 5000 strong audience this year was without doubt the best Christmas concert to date as the concert was compared by no other than the lovely star of Channel 4's popular "Countdown" show Carol Vorderman (minus Des Lynam).

Performing to the 5000 strong audience this year was without doubt the best Christmas concert to date as the concert was compared by no other than the lovely star of Channel 4's popular "Countdown" show Carol Vorderman (minus Des Lynam)BT Band

Also featuring in the concert were the BT Melodians steel drum orchestra, The London Royal Orchestra directed by Anthony Inglis, The Royal Choral Society, Finchley Children's Music Choir, and the soloist for the evening was Michael McCormick who is currently starring in many of the top west end shows this season. Finally not forgetting the surprise visit of the very busy Mr Santa Clause!!!!

Packed Albert Hall

To a very packed Royal Albert Hall the BT Band contributions to the first half of the concert started with Garry Westwood's 1997 arrangement of "At the sound of the swinging cymbals" followed by Ray Farr's arrangement of "River Dance" to which the BT Band received rapturous applause bringing down the cobwebs and leaving the audience very satisfied indeed!

In the second half the band performed their "Big Band Spot" which consisted of three pieces being played back to back all arranged for brass band by Mark Freeh. The first "Malaguena" racing off into an exciting piece featuring the cornet section led by Pete Shaw which left the audience breathless and in a lively mood just giving them a taster for what was in store in the final two pieces of the second half.

"Tonight" from the pen of Mark Freeh from "West Side Story" featuring the lovely tones of the horn section left the audience silent — which was quite something to experience in that huge hall. Finally "O'l Man River" which saw the 5000 strong shouting "More!

Breathtaking Finale

The rest of the concert the band were kept busy performing many joint items with the various combination of performers including the immense Royal Albert Hall pipe organ in a breathtaking finale of sound and popular carols.

The concert concluded with Carol Vorderman counting down to Christmas to the arrangement by Mike Fowles of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" incorporating a spectacular indoor festive firework display and 500 balloons being dropped from above onto a very moved and satisfied audience.



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Alan Widdop


Conductor, Brass teacher, Adjudicator (ABBA)