A very happy bash for light music and its president’s 90th

Ernest with conductor Gavin Sutherland and mayor Coun Chris Parkinson.
Ernest with conductor Gavin Sutherland and mayor Coun Chris Parkinson.
Share this article

Unabashedly happy – those words describing a piece of music, plus its title Revelry Overture, perfectly describe the celebration concert in Longridge on Sunday evening.

Even though Montagu Phillips’ overture began the second half of the light music evening in a packed Civic Hall, the unabashed revelry of everyone present was evident from the very beginning.

Particularly so for, as well as marking the appearance of the 40-plus strong Light Music Society orchestra and its ebullient conductor Gavin Sutherland, the evening was also celebrating the 90th birthday of society founder, president and esteemed Longridge composer, Ernest Tomlinson.

Esconced in an easy chair and surrounded by his family, he expressed great pleasure at being there, listening to a programme of music supplied from his Light Music Library, including pieces composed and arranged by him, like his well-known Little Serenade.

His friend and nationally known conductor Gavin Sutherland opened the evening in his imitable style, leading in to every suite or waltz with lovely wit and humour. He reminded a responsive audience of many familiar songs, tunes, from film, television and radio, bringing to mind well-known ditties,lyrics – even nursery rhymes in Roger Quilter’s A Children’s Overture – putting memories to the test.

Gavin was the pianist himself on two occasions, Chris Perry played a lively jig on the dulcimer, Ronnie Hunt was trumpeter for Lancashire Blues and during the interval – keeping a chilly foyer warm! – lead cello Bob Buller and non-orchestra violinist Andrew Hall kept concert-goers happy with more lively music.

The start to almost three hours of light music was Haydn Wood’s Montmartre from his Paris Suite, the two final pieces being Ernest Tomlinson’s evocative Kielder Water and then a rousing selection from Show Boat, plus three encores, all concluding a memorable evening.