Music centre’s grand finale caps a fine year

Whitby Music Centre's grand finale concert.
Whitby Music Centre's grand finale concert.

The students and staff of the Whitby Music Centre crowned a successful year with a grand finale concert at Whitby Pavilion.

Parents, friends and music lovers who made up the audience were treated to a spectacular and varied night of music from seven of the ensembles who practise every week on Saturday mornings during term time.

The theme of this year’s concert was Music through the Ages, which gave each group a chance to explore repertoire from the baroque to the modern.

Each group also chose a costume to reflect one of the pieces they were performing.

The youngest group, Wider Opportunities Whitby, chose the Beach Boys, and had fun, fun, fun with their director, Sarah Hydes, performing four of their favourite pieces. These children have progressed from the WOPs groups in their schools, and have gone from the basics of playing a few notes to being able to read music and play in a group.

Several of these developing musicians will be moving to a new group in September.

Miss Hydes is also the director of Whitby Area Youth Strings, comprising violins, viola, cellos and double bass. The age range goes from primary school to adults, so care is always taken to include music in the repertoire that will appeal to all and develop technique. For their costume the group had chosen to reflect their final piece, Danse Macabre, also known as the theme for Jonathan Creek, so skulls and skeletons were much in evidence.

The Whitby Area Vocal Ensemble is the music centre’s choir. Directed by Sue Rowland, the boys and girls gave a spirited performance The Complete History of Western Music (abridged) which included 17 pieces, with every style from plainsong to 12 tone modern music.

Do-re- mi followed, with Do you hear the people sing? complete with red revolutionary sashes completing the programme. Students who have improved from the basics but have yet to pass their grade 3 examination practise in the Whitby Area Concert Band, directed by Gillian Edwards.

These young musicians are already skilled and artistic performers, with music often specially arranged for them by Miss Edwards so that it is always within the capabilities of each player but is enough of a challenge to aid their development. Handel’s Halleluyah Chorus began their programme, with Stravinsky’s The Firebird enhanced by the feathers worn as costume, and completed by ELO’s Mister Blue Sky.

Three of the advanced ensembles, all directed by the Centre Manager, Bob Butterfield, showed what can be achieved from the small beginnings of a few notes at primary school, as they thrilled audiences with Greek Dances from the wind group Sirocco, excellent big band music from the new ensemble, the Esk Valley Big Band, and a nod to Glenn Miller from the Esk Valley Concert Band.

As a finale, the senior band played ‘Happy’ as the rest of the centre sang.