Cuckfield Music Fest 2021!
Despite covid, the Festival happened!
There was a very happy feel to the 2021 Music Festival, which was, in itself, a triumph given the conditions. The covid scare required a limit of 80 socially-distanced seats, and the wearing of masks for each event. Nor were intervals possible, therefore no bar! Yet there was, probably as a result, a feeling of joy and relief from beginning to end that at
last we could enjoy live music from flesh and blood musicians. And the performers reflected the same joy at being able to perform in public – in most cases for the first time since March 2020.
The sparkling saxophonist
Hannah Corcoran was so happy to be back on stage she could not resist adding the occasional dance steps to her brilliant modern saxophone playing, using different instruments, each exploring a different tone and pitch. By the end of her performance one could see clearly why she holds the woodwind chair for the Ignition Orchestra.
Local heroes return
Paul Gregory made an eagerly awaited return to his old home to give a flawless recital of mostly recent classical guitar music by Spanish, Irish and English composers, including a piece by Howard Blake, also a one-time local. Howard was in the audience, but not for long as he was urged up on stage to share the prolonged applause with Paul.
Summer (?) Jazz
Jazz on a Summer Evening almost inevitably resulted in a wet evening, but that simply emphasised the warmth of the playing by Michael Hinton (piano), Terry Pack (bass) in support of Julie Roberts’ remarkable and expressive voice. ‘A wonderful interpreter of ‘jazz standards’ one fellow musician has said. ‘Really sophisticated, a great singer’ said BBC South, and there can’t have been anyone in the audience who would disagree.
The inimitable Dominic
Dominic Ferris returned to the Cuckfield Music Festival by public demand, generously offering to give two performances on the same day for the price of one to offset the problem of restricted numbers. This time he brought Georgi Mottram with him to make guest performances, singing songs from Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story and Carmen.
Dominic is a superb showman, and he was on top form, but one can never overlook the fact that he is also an outstandingly gifted musician, a combination that earned standing ovations.
A brilliant finale
The last event, Heroines to Harlots (and everything in between) provided a superb wrap-up to the 2021 Festival. It was presented by, and starred, a trio of sopranos who can call Cuckfield home – Amanda Buckland, Jane Haughton and Rebecca Milford – with Howard Beach as accompanist. Semi-staged, with slick continuity and stage ‘business’, they gave us songs and arias from opera to musicals, ranging over three centuries from Purcell and Mozart to Sondheim and Irving Berlin. The reception was predictably enthusiastic!