The organisers of the Brass in Concert weekend have worked hard to create an inclusive feel to all the attractions that make up their festival at Sage Gateshead.
Past concert events have sometimes felt as if they didn’t quite connect to what was to take place less than 24 hours later, so it was certainly a risk to team up the defending Welsh champion with the high profile all-male Welsh singing group for an evening that came with a tag line of ‘A Night at the Movies’.
It paid off though - splendidly so.
Entertainment is the name of the game at the BiC contest, and family friendly entertainment was also displayed in full at the concert - with Cory on excellent form under Philip Harper and Only Men Aloud showcasing their polished presentation and superb acapella talents in full.
The hall wasn’t packed to the rafters, but it was encouraging to see a wide age range of listeners (and not all you suspected, brass band aficionados). This was something fresh and engaging - with the familiar strains of classic film tracks such as 'Star Wars', 'James Bond', 'Singing in the Rain', 'Zulu' and 'Frozen', delivered with zest and precision.
This was something fresh and engaging - with the familiar strains of classic film tracks such as 'Star Wars', 'James Bond', 'Singing in the Rain', 'Zulu' and 'Frozen', delivered with zest and precision.
The joint items in particular were sensitively, as well as cleverly handled (from the haunting 'Hymn to the Fallen' from the ‘Saving Private Ryan’ to the fun of ‘Disney Fantasy’), with an undoubted highlight the brilliant presentation of 'Puttin' On the Ritz' by the singers.
The closing ABBA collection from 'Mamma Mia' came with the encore of 'Gonna Fly Now' from ‘Rocky’ to round off an evening that brought deserved plaudits not only for Cory, Philip Harper and Only Men Aloud for their excellent contributions, but to the organisers for taking a punt on putting on something just a little bit different.
Hopefully that fresh approach (a compact two hours long) will continue next year and beyond, as it was a tasty aperitif that left everyone with a spring in their step for the trek back to the same venue the next day.