on Saturday 14 May 2022
First Summer at Breinton 2022 recital on 14 May
The Octavian Singers
First Summer at Breinton 2022 recital on 14 May
Photographs courtesy of David Hogg of Horizon Imaging.
On the most glorious English day, we had the first Summer at Breinton event of 2022. This was the official ‘re-opening’ of our new season after two years of significantly reduced live music at Breinton.
We were incredibly fortunate with the weather – you couldn’t have asked more. But we were even more fortunate to hear Connaught Brass on top form. Their sounds were multi-dimensional; they had depth, height and volume that was so flexible, and layers and textures which blended freely. The rhythms flowed and melodies passed; they were an ensemble who manipulated the notes while creating the ambiance. These truly buzzing and emerging talents were able to produce a memorable performance – Florence Price’s Adoration was an adorable gem with the amazing harmony which could melt your heart; arranged beautifully by one of the members Robin Blair (seems like the group has a talented arranger too!). The traditional English Folksong Suite was at times funky, jazzy and fun, but the last piece Danny Boy no doubt had the strongest and silent impact on our audience.
We thank Connaught Brass for the fantastic programme they had handpicked for this occasion. We also thank enormously the Octavian Singers, who sang numerous madrigals and light jazz, all of which could not be more suitable for the occasion. How fortunate we are to be in Woking, surrounded by such music enthusiasts.
with musical director Laura Brown
- Now is the month of maying - Thomas Morley
- The silver swan - Orlando Gibbons
- April is in my mistress face - Thomas Morley
- Phyllis farewell - Thomas Bateson
- Fair Phyllis I saw sitting all alone - John Farmer
- Java Jive - arr Crookall
- Love is the sweetest thing - Al Bowlly arr Crookall
- Summertime -George Gershwin
- Lullaby of birdland - George Shearing
- Good night sweetheart - arr Crookall
Connaght Brass ensemble
Aaron Akugbo (trumpet), Harry Plant (trumpet), Robyn Blair (horn), Chris Brewster (trombone), Aled Meredith-Barrett (tuba)
- Giles Farnaby - Fancies, Toyes and Dreams
- Edward Elgar - Chanson de Matin
- Edward Elgar - Salut d’Amour
- Clara Schumann arr. Blair - Romance (Op. 22, Mvmt 2)
- Malcolm Arnold - Brass Quintet (Mvmts 1 & 3)
- Mogens Andresen - 3 Norwegian Dances
- Florence B. Price arr. Blair - Adoration
- Trad. arr. Every - Folk Suite
A “thrilling young ensemble at the start of what is sure to be a major international career” (Great Birmingham Brass Fest), Connaught Brass are quickly making a name for themselves as a fresh talent in the chamber music world. Already set to perform at London’s Wigmore Hall and in the Lucerne Festival Debut Series, the ensemble’s ability to manipulate and unify sound earned them 1st Prize in the Inaugural Philip Jones International Brass Ensemble Competition 2019. Vibrant, spirited and bold, Connaught Brass place emphasis on their friendship with one another to showcase their individual musical personalities within a unique collective sound.
Established in 1987, The Octavian Singers have gained a justifiable reputation for achieving high musical standards and producing ambitious and popular musical events in Woking, Surrey and the surrounding areas.
Our repertoire includes a wide variety of music from baroque to 21st Century, madrigals to major choral works.
Aaron Akugbo is a versatile and talented trumpet player who freelances with the UK’s leading orchestras as well as having a successful chamber and solo career. Having just finished his Bachelor of Music, with honours, at the Royal Academy of Music, Aaron is currently trialing as principal trumpet with the Philharmonia Orchestra and English National Opera, as co-principal trumpet of BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and as second trumpet with London Symphony Orchestra whilst also freelancing regularly as principal and tutti trumpet with BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Sinfonia of London and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
As a young hornist from Edinburgh, Robyn Blair has made her mark in chamber music through playing in the Connaught Brass quintet. She has recently gained funding towards a solo horn commission from the renowned trombonist and composer John Kenny, and aims to put on a trilogy concert of his solo brass works in Edinburgh alongside fellow ex-students of St Mary’s Music School. In February she will be performing and recording a premier of Hornpiece Solo by Luke Bedford.
Chris Brewster began playing the baritone aged 7, keen to eventually play the tuba. He quickly moved onto the euphonium and eventually started to play the trombone aged 12.
Having gained a first class honours degree at the Royal Academy of Music, he is now continuing his studies as a Post Graduate student and scholarship holder at the same institution. He studies trombone with Matt Gee, Ian Bousfield and Pete Moore, and euphonium/bass trumpet with James Maynard.
Aled Meredith-Barrett, originally from Pembrokeshire, is a tuba player and scholarship holder currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM), London, with Lee Tsarmaklis (London Philharmonic Orchestra). He recently graduated with BMus (Hons) from RAM in September 2020.
Aled started playing the tenor horn at the age of 7 and quickly joined the Goodwick Brass youth band. Aled progressed through the ranks and joined the senior band in 2009, winning the 1st section national title in 2015.
Harry Plant, born in Eastbourne East Sussex, graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2020 with a first-class honours degree studying classical trumpet performance. He started learning cornet at the age of 3, taught by his father, Marcus Plant. Throughout his childhood, he attended many of the local music service ensembles, as well as many of the local brass bands. As well as being classical trained as a trumpet player, Harry also has a vast amount of experience in the folk, jazz and pop genre, on trumpet and flugelhorn.