The Rotary Club of Ponteland holds its Annual Gala Concert at The Britannia (Airport) Hotel, Newcastle Airport in mid October with Graeme Danby and artistes from Covent Garden, Glyndebourne and English National Opera.
Tickets are usually available late August/early September from Mackley & Studdert Opticians, Main Street, Ponteland
Alternatively contact Rotarian Spenser Mullins 01661 820754 or Rotarian Les Danby 01661 823219
2015 concert was held on Sunday, 18th October, at 7.15pm at Britannia Airport Hotel, Newcastle Airport.
2015 Gala Concert Report
The 31st Gala Concert hosted by the Ponteland Rotary Club received its customary note of approval from an appreciative audience at the Airport Hotel.
This glittering event is organised by International Opera Star, Graeme Danby, the son of a Rotarian and Honorary member of Ponteland club.
Each year Graeme brings fellow artistes from the world of classical music to the north east often described as a cultural desert. He is the compere and introduces each item with humour and wit which sometimes can be a little cruel to his fellow artistes, but always in fun, designed to keep the evening happy and informal. His opening remarks included his delight that Newcastle had won 6-2 – At last!
Appearing with Graeme was his wife, the beautiful and mesmerising Mezzo Soprano, Valerie Reid who has sung leading operatic roles all over the world and starred in countless Concerts. Future engagements include Marriage of Figaro, La Traviata, G & S roles and Dream of Gerontius in Dunblane Cathedral. Her performance was faultless and she gave a spellbound audience a taste of Carmen, contrasted by an amusing rendition of Pillar to Post by Flanders & Swann.
The concert provided a variety of music to suit all tastes ably performed by Fae Evelyn a South African soprano, Austin Gunn, Tenor, Tristan Gurney Violin, The Dodici Voce choir and Brent March, the winner of the Rotary Young Musician of the Year. Brent is destined for stardom, having already featured in numerous Concerts and currently preparing to take a degree in music.
The ‘wow’ factor in the programme was violinist Tristan Gurney whose artistry was incredible as he switched from the haunting Meditation Theme by Massenet to the frantic music of Kreisler.
Also a revelation was Fae Evelyn whose clear high notes echoed around the hall. It was obvious why she is so busy on tour appearing in Figaro, Die Fledermaus and Peter Grimes.
Austin Gunn made a welcome return to Ponteland and his fantastic tenor voice rang like a bell as he sang his favourite composer Handel’s work “Where‘er you Walk”.
The quartet work included the Gala’s signature opening piece from La Traviata “Libiamo”. However “Domini Jesu” from Verdi’s Requiem was outstanding.
Dodici Voce is a choir of girls from Sunderland University who under the guidance of Prof Danby, led by Eleanor Turton gave a remarkable and versatile performance enjoyed immensely by the regulars of this Concert.
Lydia Newlands, Music Director was given a special mention as accompanist to Graeme for 34 years. Lydia, an accomplished freelance musician has played at the Albert Hall and other major venues.
The proceeds of the evening go to local charities and President Stephen Cox was quick to thank everyone involved especially the sponsors: Ballinger Charitable Trust, Cowells Garden Centre, Haveli Indian Restaurant, Newcastle Airport, Ponteland Print, Rialto Restaurant, Britannia Hotel, Waitrose and Geoff Steven & Son.
A great annual event supported well and ensuring the Gala continues into its 32nd year.