Brass and singers are perfect combination

Swingle Singers and Derwent Brass.
Swingle Singers and Derwent Brass.

LIKE pineapple on a pizza and a Scottish James Bond, a multi Grammy Award-winning a capella group and a brass band playing Stevie Wonder shouldn’t work.

But it certainly did work when Belper-based Derwent Brass combined with the internationally-acclaimed Swingle Singers to deliver a bespoke arrangement of ‘Superstition’.

The rendition, penned by the band’s MD, took place at Derwent Brass’ annual concert at the Derby Assembly Rooms.

Mike Richardson, who is patron of the world-famous Black Dyke Band and also a trustee of the Friends of Derby Salvation Army, said: “The event was fantastic – a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

“The standard of playing was high, but in particular Adam Rutter’s virtuosic playing in Bravura and Benedictus, supported wonderfully by Pam Davis on Flugel, was a highlight for me.”

He continued: “For me it clearly shows that Derwent Brass is the best band in Derbyshire and, as a supporter of several bands in the area, it delights me that I will be inviting them to perform alongside the Derby Salvation Army, and others, in a late-summer 2012 event, again within the Great Hall of the Derby Assembly Rooms.”

The concert was slotted into Derwent Brass’s already packed schedule.

At each one, the band always tries to invite a top class guest — this year it was the Swingle Singers.

Last year it was the famous Treorchy Male Choir.

Oliver Griffiths, one of the Swingle Singers, said: “We loved being back in Derby again, it was such a wonderful and warm reception, and truly a pleasure to share the stage with such gifted musicians as Derwent Brass.

“The joint finale, Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’, was a blast, and we loved the arrangement by their director Keith Leonard — such a party feel!”

Among the Derwent Brass repertoire for the evening was Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, Ol’ Man River featuring Lee Gilbert on the drums, a big band style Beatles set and the euphonium solo Bravura, which was performed by Adam Rutter.

The evening was compered by the brass band’s patron and resident celebrity, Steven Blakeley, who is perhaps most recognised from his role on ITV’s ‘Heartbeat’.

A spokesman for the brass band added: “We would like to formally thank the programme sponsors and also Derbyshire Scouts for their support.”