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Huish Episcopi Concert: one of our best to round off 2016
Photos from Annette White and David Street
The Brue Boys concert held in St Mary's Church on Friday 11th November was one of our most memorable. There was a packed audience in the lovely Church who all seemed to enjoy the evening; we all enjoyed singing our varied repertoire; we welcomed an outstanding local mezzo-soprano to complement more familiar, but excellent acts; we were treated to splendid interval refreshments; and we helped raise £820 for the Church in what was the very first Benefice fund-raiser.
John Callaghan was compère for the night, and he added a lively and amusing flavour to the successful evening. The Brue Boys choir sang our current varied repertoire ranging from the Fantasia of Sea Songs, through to Bridge Over Troubled Water and the Italian love song Caro Mio Ben. Hopefully there was something for everyone.
We had got to know mezzo-soprano Liberty Bishop (photo right) as she had sung the first verse and last verse descant of 'Rule Britannia' with Gail Cornish in rehearsal and at Kingsbury Episcopi. But this was a modest prelude to a quite brilliant trio of songs which delighted the Huish Episcopi audience. Starting with the lyrical Se Tu M'ami, continuing by climbing to the pulpit to deliver Pie Jesu from Requiem Faure's Requiem, her voice resounding around the ancient Church to bring it alive, and finishing with Kurt Weill's 'Apple Jack' sung in a bluesy style, which would have found acclaim on the professional musical stage. Quite magnificent.

Earlier William Salmon and Gail Cornish (photo below) sang excellent solos, A Winter's Tale and Le Temps des cerises respectively, before combining with the charming 'Laird of Cockpen' which was much enjoyed.

In the second half our resident folk group (photo below right), tonight featuring guitarists David Hislop and Nick Llewellyn accompanied Roger White with chorus songs Bread and Fishes and Pleasant and Delightful after the poignant 'The Band played Waltzing Matilda' which was a fitting choice on Armistice Day to remind us all of the enormous sacrifice made by so many in the First World War.

The concert was also special as we welcomed back to the rostrum our Conductor Jennifer Westcott. Jennifer kept us on our toes as usual, especially when creating a new format for the Round 'The Orchestra' without a rehearsal - and it worked! Welcome back Jennifer.

Our accompanist Hilde Senior (photo right) not only provided a high standard of piano playing, but played the organ for Liberty to sing Faure's Requiem, and her husband Bob (photo right) provided a concertina accompaniment to Gail's Le temps des cerises. Bravo the Seniors!

Maybe what will also be remembered were the dubious collection of cowboy hats donned by the boys to sing Ghost Riders in the Sky (see photos below). The song was further livened up with Dick Warman's coconut shell horse hoof background sound effects and rounded off by John Mulliner's perfect 'neigh' as we 'rode off into the sunset!. Yippie yi yay! No doubt performances of this song will continue to develop as we get into the spirit of our 10th Anniversary Year in 2017. Yippie yi ooh!
The Huish Concert rounds off our 2016 programme. Why not make a date to see us in 2017 - see the next concerts page to find out where we will be performing.
Successful Kingsbury Episcopi Concert
Report and photos from Malcolm Allen

It may have been close to Halloween but this didn’t deter the good people of Kingsbury Episcopi from turning out for a Brue Boys Concert on the 29th October at St Martin’s Church.

The first half included the Brue Boys performing two new pieces from their expanding repertoire. The first was ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’ which was well received and benefited from a solo from David Chambers and Trevor Ryder on the Harmonica .

The second new piece was ‘Caro Mio Ben’ ,an Italian song about love (aren’t they all!).I am sure it touched the emotional heartstrings of our audience even if they didn’t understand the words.It probably goes without saying that an Italian audience wouldn’t have understood the words either!

The first half was punctuated by a slot given by William Salmon and Gail Cornish and then later in the half, a session by The Silver Strands. Both of these were enthusiastically acclaimed by the audience and the performers are to be congratulated.

The Brue Boys Folk Group performing:
Left: Trevor Ryder on the Appalachian Dulcimer
Above: Roger White singing accompanied by Nick Llewellyn on guitar and Trevor Ryder on harmonica.

The second half kicked off with the The Brue Boys Folk Group. Was there anywhere else in the UK last night where one could hear an Appalachian Dulcimer? Trevor Ryder gave us that privilege as part of the folk session.

Could The Brue Boys follow what had gone before –We rose to the challenge with our rendition with Henry Wood’s Fantasia on British Sea songs. Pathos and exuberance in good measure! Jack’s the Lad (Sailors Hornpipe) is a piece which accelerates and last night speeds were achieved which must qualify The BB’s for some choral gold medal .The Fantasia finishes with Rule Britannia and we are indebted to Gail Cornish and Liberty Bishop for being brilliant soloists in this rousing finale.

Thanks to Hilde Senior, helped by husband Bob,.for her wonderful accompaniment and of course our birthday boy, Dick Warman, who stepped in to the conducting role and did such a great job.

We were pleased to hear that the evening raised just over £500 for St. Martin’s.

Summer 'Last Night of the Proms' Concert Success
Photos from Malcolm Allen

Our summer concert in Baltonsborough Village Hall featured the full 'Fantasia on British Sea Songs' by Henry Wood, famous for regular inclusion in The Last Night of the Proms. Therefore the room was decked with patriotic bunting, our audience waved flags and the boys donned Union Jack 'waistcoats'. The fantasia included words for all the songs (at the 'Last Night' only Rule Britannia is sung and all other tunes are played by the orchestra) and we were supported by a talented quintet of musicians, led by Hilde Senior on piano, with Stephanie Smith on horn, Bob Steele on trumpet, Jean Heal on flute and piccolo and Catherine Greenwell, adorned in a union flag, providing a stirring soprano solo to begin and top off the last verse of the finale Rule Britannia to end an enjoyable summer concert.

The Brue Valley Handbell Ringers in nautical mode
The Brue Boys Folk Group

To begin the evening we all enjoyed a three course supper, (provided by caterers led by Beverley Sessions,and helped by Sue McNamee, Dot Tinker and Joan Anderton) and drinks from the bar manned by Derek Sessions and Christopher Hyldon. In between sets of songs from the Brue Boys, there were solos from a trio of boys (John Studley, William Salmon and David Chambers), four tunes from the Brue Valley Handbell Ringers (Louise Clapp, Sarah Hare, Jane Heal, Sheila Johnson, Jane Horton, Robert Peto, Jennifer Westcott and introduced in inimitable style by Sue Peto) who donned an assortment of hats in an entertaining set to start the second half. The concert has raised money to help the ringers buy more bells, and to support Brue Boys efforts to assist local music education in schools. The Brue Boys Folk Group (Nick Llewellyn on guitar, Trevor Ryder on mandolin, guitar and harmonica, Bob Senior of concertina and vocals from Roger White) sang a haunting Welsh love song and the Sailor's Alphabet with a rousing chorus to warm up the audience for the finale.

Master of Ceremonies was Chairman Robert Peto who introduced and thanked our accompanist Hilde Senior and Conductor Jennifer Westcott who must also be congratulated here, for orchestrating what was probably our most ambitious concert programme, so well and in such style.

Fourth Appearance at the Royal Bath and West Show

Brue Boys at The Royal Bath & West Show on Saturday 4th June 2016
Report from Malcolm Allen

A warm, albeit cloudy, day at The Royal Bath & West Show.

Thirty of The Brue Boys, accompanied by Hilde Senior and conducted by Jennifer Westcott gave two half-hour programmes on Saturday 4th June.

A new and improved performance site on the bandstand – less fairground noise than previous years!

Our first set followed a brass band, our second a steel band –not quite heavy metal but a great warm up for The Brue Boys to follow.

We and the audience enjoyed ourselves and we even had some audience participation (clapping) in our rendition of Jack’s the Lad –Sailors Hornpipe, which we actually managed to finish in unison!

Ditcheat Concert Success - Report from Malcolm Allen

£1,264 raised for Rotarian charities and an audience departing into the night humming the ‘Soldiers Chorus ’- not a bad way of spending a Saturday evening!

The Brue Boys (33 in total) tested the acoustic of Ditcheat Village Hall with some notable solo contributions:

John Studley brought tears to the eye (in a good way!) with his emotional rendition of ‘Music of the Night’ from Phantom of the Opera and Grayson Pattemore entertained with his particular brand of comedy;

The Brue Valley Handbell Ringers rang their way through a selection of nautical tunes to great acclaim.

Special mention must go to conductor Jennifer Westcott and to Hilde Senior, her accompaniment was terrific.

Our own MC John Callaghan provided lively and often tongue-in-cheek announcements and it was wonderful to again have a large audience in the packed hall for our fourth performance in this local village. We look forward to another sell-out event here before long.

Street Concert Success
We returned to Street Parish Church to give a concert to support the fund raising of Avalon and Yeovil Rotary Clubs. We delivered an almost identical programme to that at Croscombe on 19th March. We enjoyed the evening, buoyed by a good audience and much refreshed by a buffet and drinks during the interval thanks to fellow Brue Boy and Rotarian Bob Burns and no doubt other 'Burns the Bread' staff.

Concert in Croscombe Village Hall on Saturday 19th March
Photos from Jackie Gingell

Our second 2016 concert was a first visit to Croscombe where the Brue Boys provided a varied programme in, and to raise funds for, the village hall. After our usual rendition of The Brue Boys Song, Master of Ceremonies John Callaghan, taking the lead for this first time in fine style, introduced Accompanist Hilde Senior and Conductor Jennifer Westcott before announcing fourteen songs sung by the choir during the evening.

These ranged from an arrangement for male voices of Gershwin's 'Summertime' to the 'Soldiers' Chorus' from Faust with spirituals, more show songs and popular songs in between. We extended our repertoire to include 'The Anchor's Weighed' and 'Tom Bowling', with in between the already performed 'The saucy Arethusa' in a trio of songs from the Fantasia on British Sea Songs by Henry Wood in an arrangement for male voices, but more familiar in its orchestral version at The Last Night of The Proms. We will tackle the Sailor's Hornpipe 'Jack the Lad' next, and in due course aim to sing the entire medley. Two tenors provided solo parts for two of our songs: William Salmon sang part of the popular Charles Aznavour song 'She'; and David Chambers provided a convincing introduction to 'September Song' which includes the line made famous by Frank Sinatra 'I plied her with tears in lieu of pearls' which no doubt Old Blue Eyes did!

Hilde Senior at the grand piano
with husband Bob alongside, as always in concerts.
Bob and Hilde also combined to play us a Gavotte - see below.

The Brue Boys were strongly supported by three acts:
Hilde Senior accompanied accomplished tenor William Salmon who sang two contrasting songs, starting with Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Love changes everything' and finishing with the traditional song from his native Scotland, 'caller herrin'';
Hilde also accompanied her husband Bob, (who always helps turn and organise her music) who delighted us on his rare clarinet concertina (one of only four known to exist) by playing William Boyce's 'Gavotte in D Major' and telling us about the concertina, which is only genuine musical instrument invented by an Englishman;
In the second half our resident folk group of David Hislop and Nick Llewellyn on guitars, Trevor Ryder on banjo and harmonica and led by singer Roger White entertained us with two chorus songs and played a lively reel to finish off their set.

We look forward to performing similar concerts in the next month, in Street on 9th April and in Ditcheat on 23rd April. We hope to see you in the audience!

Concert in Wells Town Hall on Saturday 23rd January
in aid of STAR (Somerset Trust for Arts and Recreation)
Photos from Andrew Gingell and report from David Marshall

We kicked off the new year with our second performance in Wells (we sang in the Bishop's Palace Gardens in July 2011) where the banqueting room of the Town Hall was filled by a responsive and generous audience for a concert in support of STAR, the Somerset charity providing mentoring services for young people. In accordance with this vital role, we were delighted to be able to include a set from the Cathedral School Jazz Combo in the programme - and were stunned by their virtuosity (and youth)!

The Brue Boys' contribution included debut performances of 'Can't Help Falling in Love', 'The Saucy Arethusa', an a capella version of Rev. Jenkins' prayer from 'Under Milk Wood' and a challenging arrangement of 'Summertime' complete with ravishing piano accompaniment by Hilde Senior. Solo parts in other pieces were ably performed by Dick Warman and David Hislop.

The other 'cabaret' slots were expertly filled by Gail Cornish, with Carolyn Young on harp; and the Brue Boys' folk group, who had the audience enthusiastically joining in with 'The Wild Mountain Thyme' and also sang the very apposite 'Castles in the Air', written by a social worker about some of the pleasures that we often take for granted in life, but which are sadly out of reach for the less fortunate amongst us. Illustrations of the range of problems faced by STAR's clients - and the remarkable progress made by many of them - were touchingly provided by Rod Salter.

With the aid of an auction of cheeses after supper, a full house, and donations of food, a total of nearly £2000 was raised for STAR, a wonderful outcome for an extremely deserving cause.

Rod Salter explaining the work of STAR
Accompanist Hilde Senior
Musical Director Jennifer Westcott

The Brue Boys were strongly supported
by four supporting acts:

Above left: The Wells Cathedral School Jazz Combo
who performed a lively set;

Above: The Silver Strands group of four Brue Boys who perform as a separate group at various venues:

Left: Gail Cornish who sang two songs accompanied by Carolyn Young on the harp;

and (not pictured) The Village Folk Group
comprising four members of the Brue Boys
who also perform at many local functions.

Published by The Brue Boys Choir for Men Copyright © 2016 and all Rights Reserved.