“An evening with the best of Lincolnshire’s young jazz rock and pop musicians with special guest Simon Bates at the iconic Gliderdrome.”
That was the wording on the front of the programme for the Lincolnshire Music Service Jazz and Rock Academy concert – what it didn’t say was that the audience should be prepared to be ‘blown away’ by the sheer professionalism of the young people presenting the show.
I have to admit to a little bias: organiser Lee Hextall paid me the honour of referring to my book about the Gliderdrome in preparing for the concert. But the reception, during and at the end of the show, confirmed just how good it was.
Young people in this area often come in for (sometimes justified) criticism of their attitude. Anyone present the other Saturday night would have seen another side – young adults enjoying themselves in presenting their concert, supporting each other and proving that not every young adult is out to cause trouble.
The show was split into five parts, the first paid tribute to the 1940s and featured guest tutor Simon Bates who took centre stage for the Black and Tan Fantasy and then accompanied several young ladies for Duke Ellington’s It Don’t Mean A Thing.
Let’s Get the Party Started showcased rock bands associated with the Academy, who presented songs from Free, Spencer Davis and Elton John, the latter’s Saturday Night’s Alright being a very competent version of a song often associated with Boston Gliderdrome.
Best of British saw songs from Jeff Beck, Supertramp and ELO and for me the highlights from these were Lulu Albelda and Becky Huggins’ version of People Get Ready from Jeff Beck, along with the group singers’ offerings of Supertramp’s Breakfast in America, and ELO’s Mr Blue Sky – that must have really been from my era!
Little Stevie was a tribute to Stevie Wonder and first up were the Boston Youth Pop Choir with As, under enthusiastic conductor Vanessa Adams, before a medley of seven more songs, competently sung by the young ladies, and ending with a very upbeat Sir Duke.
The Divas Finale featured songs from Carla Thomas, Dusty Springfield and two from Tina Turner, with River Deep Mountain High bringing the show to a close, and having to be sung as an encore to a full dancefloor.
All in all a show with which everyone involved, particularly Lee Hextall and the tutors, should be proud; the orchestra backing was superb from start to finish. As for the audience, there was no need to ask! The comments expressed afterwards just showed how much they enjoyed it.
Here’s to the next one and hopefully more Bostonians will turn out in support.