Another wonderful concert was given in the Sidholme Hotel Music Room on Saturday 5th December by the Junction 25 Concertina Band. Historically there were hundreds of concertina bands across the country, with a repertoire to rival that of brass bands, a tradition kept alive today by this group of dedicated musicians. The band members travel from Kent, London, Bristol, Somerset and Devon to their practice hall and have taken their name from the M5 exit for Taunton nearby.
Junction 25 play English Concertinas in a range of sizes from the smallest piccolo, to trebles, baritones and the biggest basses which between them cover a range of 7 octaves, allowing the band to play complex arrangements providing great breadth and depth of musical interest. Under the skilful direction of their musical director Claire Wren this well balanced ensemble delivered a jolly seasonal programme of Christmas songs and carols using Salvation Army Band arrangements and pieces specially written by Claire Wren for Concertina ensemble. A game of pass the parcel for the audience provided jingle bells so that everyone could join in with the final numbers. To hear these familiar melodies delivered with such warmth and delicacy in such a glorious setting was a delightful experience.
This concert, realising £175 in donations, was one of a series organised by the Friends of Sidholme Music Room to raise funds to complete the restoration of the music room and the magnifIcent organ installed in 1855 by 6th Earl of Buckinghamshire. Carol Horner