Perth Fortress Band November 2010 by Mike Willett

Friday  5 November

Perth Fortress Band in Concert, Bandmaster Chris Goff and with Soloist Brett Baker

330 William St, Northbridge, Perth

The final leg of Brett's visit to Perth, Western Australia saw him team up with the Salvation Army's Perth Fortress Band under the leadership of Bandmaster Chris Goff.  The band opened with a strong performance of William Gordon's ‘Heavenward'.  Brett was then welcomed to the stage by the 300 strong audience to perform the first of his solo items, Arthur Pryor's ‘Blue Bells of Scotland'. Brett's composure, professionalism and panache enthralled the sell-out audience judging by the rapturous and excited applause. A colourful interlude then followed in the shape of a lively performance by the ladies of Perth Harmony Chorus whose energy captivated the audience.

Back on stage, Brett continued to impress with a performance of ‘Word of Grace' by Norman Bearcroft before teaming up with Josh Davies, Bruce Thompson (both members of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra) and Peter Younghusband to form the 'Northbridge Trombone Quartet'. After very limited rehearsal time, the tremendously polished performance that ensued of the classic Leslie Condon march 'Celebration' added to the enjoyment of the already enthusiastic audience. It was a real crowd pleaser for sure. During the interval many of the audience took the opportunity to catch up with Brett and talk about his week-long stay in Perth as well as to purchase some of the Brett Baker CD's that were available.

The second half commenced with the' Fortress' performing Martin Cordner's ‘Round-Up'  before once again making way for Perth Harmony Chorus to again infuse their sparkle to the proceedings. Brett returned to the stage taking a few moments to set the scene for his next solo item, Ray Steadman- Allen's arrangement of Alexandre Guilmant's 'Concert Piece for Trombone' . After yet another masterful performance by Brett, the members of the 'Northbridge Trombone Quartet' returned and were joined this time by bandmaster Chris Goff (Tuba) to form the 'Northbridge Brass Quintet'.  In a very pleasing performance of a Robert Hughes arrangement of ‘Fly me to the Moon', the ensemble again proved to be very popular with the audience.

Remaining on stage, Brett continued  with a silky smooth performance of Kenneth Downie's  'Abide with Me' before taking up the baton to lead the band in the March 'The Red Shield'. The closing number saw the band being joined by the massed trombones of the 'NTQ' for a rousing performance of the Army classic 'Montreal Citadel', bringing the evening to a close. A fantastic evening's entertainment brought a close to Brett's time in Perth, Western Australia.

Mike Willet



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