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Foden's Band & Matthew Ford

Memories of Christmas
Conductor: Michael Fowles
Clonter Opera
Congleton
Saturday 15th December

Christmas is all about tradition - and one that may soon become as firmly established as mince pies and an afternoon showing of ‘The Great Escape’ could well be a Foden's festive concert with Matt Ford. 

The partnership joined forces a couple of years ago for a ‘one-off’ event, but such has been the success that they have since linked up for an increasing number of acclaimed performances - latterly with a 'Sinatra and the Swing Legends' set at Sage Gateshead as part of the Brass in Concert weekend. 

Classy easy listening

This return trip to Clonter Opera proved so popular that an afternoon matinee was added, enabling over 800 people to enjoy the classy easy-listening entertainment.

Matt Ford has an established musical following, whilst following their latest National Championship victory and their admirable proactive PR approach Foden’s have tapped into a much wider fan base.  On this evidence it should get bigger.

Excellent arrangements by their trombone star John Barber allied to Ford’s engaging musical charisma, a touch of variety with piano accompaniment and a few unexpected vocal additions, saw no fewer than 25 pieces dusted off with polished elan in just over two hours. The audience certainly had their money’s worth.  

From 'Once in Royal David's City' and 'Sleigh Ridge', to the sumptuous duet ‘The First Noel’ featuring Melanie Whyle and Ashley Jeffers, it was fine stuff.

Excellent arrangements by their trombone star John Barber allied to Ford’s engaging musical charisma, a touch of variety with piano accompaniment and a few unexpected vocal additions, saw no fewer than 25 pieces dusted off with polished elan in just over two hours.

By the time 'O Holy Night' and 'Holly Jolly Christmas' came around, little wonder there were was a queue at the CD stall. 

Plenty of festive stockings will see the traditional chocolate orange joined by the duos latest ‘Memories of Christmas’ release.

Generous

Matt Ford was a generous front man throughout – blending his voice superbly in 'The Most Wonderful Time of the Year', yet always remaining clear focal lead when required. He had the audience in the palm of his hand.

John Barber and Gary Curtin almost topped him with luscious solo offerings in the form of 'In the Blue Midwinter' and 'Silent Night', whilst 'What are you doing on New Year's Eve?' arranged for piano, vocals, tuba and kit was a jazzy treat.

A bit of fun with the ‘Fodenettes’ on ‘Jingle Bells’ was the prelude to 'I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas'  - which given the success of this venture may well still be worth betting on in Sandbach in a few days time.

Malcolm Wood

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