Holroyd Band Sydney October 2010 by Fiona Strykowski

Brett Baker steals hearts in Sydney

Sydneysiders were treated to a rare display of spectacular trombone magic when Brett Baker, principal trombone with Black Dyke Band, came to town.

Supported by the Holroyd Brass, an A grade band based in Western Sydney, Baker wowed a very appreciative audience with his unique talent, and his friendly, gracious manner.  Following a morning workshop with eager local musicians, Baker featured a varied and crowd pleasing range of pieces in an afternoon concert.

This concert was the second in the Virtuosity series performed by Holroyd Brass, where the band showcases an exceptional overseas performer complemented with solo performances from their own talented team.  The first concert in the Virtuosity series featured the mellifluous Riki McDonnell on Euphonium and left few dry eyes in the audience.

This concert surpassed audience expectations as Baker featured the Australian premiere of ‘Tango', a fiery and passionate arrangement of a traditional motif, by Gavin Higgins.  “To hear the sheer athletic skill and dexterity of Brett performing such a piece on trombone was astonishing” said Mark Strykowski, Musical Director of Holroyd Brass. 

Balancing this flaming introduction, Baker followed Tango with a new  arrangement of ‘By the Time I get to Phoenix' by Matthew Routley.  Yet another premiere followed with an innovative version of Atlantic Zephyrs arranged by Keith Wilkinson.  A delightful variation on another old favourite, Baker's light-hearted approach gave the program a bubbly interlude.

A very gracious guest, Brett Baker happily chatted to audience and trombone enthusiasts through the interval, going home with much lighter luggage as the audience took advantage of purchasing many of his CD recordings.

In the second half of the concert Baker again impressed by his nimble slide skill on the classic Herbert Clarke  work, Bride of the Waves, arranged by Darren Cole.  Such a favourite among band fanatics, Baker didn't disappoint as his stretched his instrument to the limits with a fast and furious Presto finish.

Abide With Me, such a beautiful and favourite hymn tune of Australians, was glorious in the new Australian premiere of this sensitive and moving arrangement by Peter Graham.  Baker's insightful and gentle rendition received resounding applause and brought the audience to their feet.

He ended bracket with the delicious classic, ‘Smile'.  Reaching the upper limits of the instrument's range, the delivery was sweet and lyrical as Brett caressed the melody and melted his way into hearts in the audience.

A very satisfied and appreciative audience farewelled Baker as he left Sydney to continue on the Australian leg of his tour.  Holroyd Brass is happy to be in discussions already with Baker to return to the band for another workshop and concert in 2011.



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