Music festival ends in triumph

ORWELL Park's summer music festival continued over the weekend.

ORWELL Park's summer music festival continued over the weekend.

After Supertramp's Roger Hodgson got the festival underway on Friday night, an evening of Motown and British soul classics brought out the fans on Saturday.

Fans got into the spirit of the event as they were determined to let their hair - or at least their sparkling wigs - down for an evening of some of the best-known classics of the last 40 years.

The weekend finished last night with a rousing classical spectacular featuring Haley Westenra and All Angels.

Classical Spectacular - Orwell Park Sunday 13th July

IT was a lovely evening, cloudy but warm enough and dry. The setting could not have been better than the beautiful grounds of Orwell Park School with the buildings lit up and views down to the river.

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A good sized crowd had turned up with their picnic blankets and hampers, their fold away chairs and bottles of wine; everyone in a jovial mood and looking forward to a cracking show, full of quality. And so it turned out to be.

First on stage were the 40 strong London Gala Orchestra with their conductor Simon Bell. The men looking smart in white tuxedos and the ladies in black dresses.

Their leader Daniel Bhattacharya taking us through the opening fanfare. We were then introduced to Charlotte, Daisy, Melanie and Laura collectively known as All Angels.

Dressed all in white they sang to us a mixed program of classical and contemporary tunes that included Flower Duet (the song from the British Airways advert) and Songbird, their first single.

Their last song of this first set was Singing You Through, a song written specially for them. They got a very warm reception. Next the orchestra played us the John Barry classic Out Of Africa and the Prelude from Bizet's Carmen before Simon Bell introduced us to the second special guest for the evening, Hayley Westenra.

Hayley, dressed in a lovely emerald green frock, opened her set with a Maori lovesong, Pokarekare Ana. Her set too was a real mixture with everything from the American river shanty Shenandoah to the Paul Simon song Scarborough Fair.

She has got a lovely voice and I am pleased to say that the production was absolutely crystal clear. The team behind the sound should be justifiably proud of their efforts.

All Angels were welcomed back and gave us stunning versions of Pie Jesu by John Brunning and also the requiem In Paradisum. But the favourite with the crowd was their a cappella version of the Simon & Garfunkle classic Sound Of Silence.

Hayley Westenra then came back on stage and treated us to some powerful ballads. Starting with the self penned Let Me Lie, we also heard Danny Boy and the Joni Mitchell song Both Sides Now. She finished with another Maori lullabye.

With the evening drawing to a close, all five ladies took the stage to join the band in a rousing chorus of the Edward Elgar classic Land of Hope and Glory.

The finale when it came was spectacular as promised. The orchestra belted out Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture while a wonderful fireworks display took place behind and above the stage. It was a shame those in the orchestra couldn't see it but they could certainly hear it; and it fitted the music perfectly.

The audience went away happy and they had definitely had value for money. All credit to the promotions team for getting such a great line up and we hope we can persuade you to put on a similar weekend of events next year.

Mark Westall