Great on stage performance at ‘Summer in the City.’ The young English people were able to demonstrate their versatility due to the varied selection of different genres chosen. Be it Jazz standards such as Duke Ellington’s ‘In a Mellow Tone’, ‘Lady be Good’ from the George Gershwin musical of the same name, or the old favourite ‘Quando, Quando’ by Englebert Humpadinck, the 24 young musicians from Worcester , England, offered a genre-spanning program of music, with their ‘Summer in the City’ concert on Sunday afternoon, which was highly enjoyed by a large crowd. The organisers, Eupen’s Cultural Office, were lucky for two reasons: The Worcester Youth Jazz Orchestra turned out to be a real find, due to the abilities of the talented, budding musicians, besides, the heavens did not open. The concert was performed on stage in the dry, except during ‘Singing in the Rain,’ throughout which numerous umbrellas were opening, as if on command. The organisers could not have hoped for better. The young people (aged between 16 and 22) were able to demonstrate their versatility due to the varied selection of different genres chosen. Swing, Blues, Latin, Reggae and even Funk were played side-by-side with Jazz standards. With a steady, powerful groove, but also playing together with discipline, they really went to town on the Klotzerbahn. In the course of their performance, they showed off some of their multitalented members: the soon-to-be 18 year old Joe played alto saxophone and sang some Frank Sinatra; Trombonist Lydia interpreted hits from musicals and was convincingly sassy at the front of the stage, as a Rock’n’roll interlude. Stephen, the baritone saxophone player, tap-danced like there was no tomorrow and earned great applause by moon-walking in the style of Michael Jackson. Only the presentation by Jim McKeane in English had greater entertainment value: the young man had evidently prepared himself well for Eupen, and greeted the crowd in ‘the Capital of German in Belgium.’

Under the direction of Ian Hattersly, the Orchestra, is made up of music students and students alike, who are almost universally trying to make careers as working musicians. At present, the band finds itself on tour in the Netherlands and in Germany. Eupen was scheduled as a detour via a contact of the best known local musician, Harald Mathie. It was incidentally the leaving concert for half of the musicians, before they carry on with their careers.

What was most characteristic was the enthusiasm, so that you could tell that they were still having fun playing music, even after the encore, which lasted more than half an hour. The Big Band ended with ‘New York, New York,’ to an uncontrollably enthusiastic crowd.

The Grenz Echo
July 2009