It was local talent who last week entertained the members of the Shipston Music Society. Tim and Helen Porter and their daughter Hannah, are just three members of a musical family (the others were performing elsewhere!) Tim is a self-taught harmonica player, Helen is well known in the area as a piano teacher and Hannah plays the piano, flute and violin.

They produced a varied programme with many pieces easily recognised by the audience interspersed with others, new to many, some arranged by the family during “jamming sessions”.For instance, the lively ”The Entertainer” by Scot Joplin was followed by the slower, slightly wistful opening of “Desperado” by Frey and Henley. The interaction between harmonica and, firstly flute then violin, swapping the melody and countermelody with perfect balance was well executed. “My Baby just cares for me” sung and self- accompanied by Hannah was a delight; she has an intuitive sense of style within the jazz idiom. Other highlights were “Ashokan Farewell” by Jay Ungar where the harmonica really became the principal performer. The piece had a rather sad “folk tune” type theme in a minor key and was performed with expertise and feeling by Tim. In contrast, “What a wonderful world” also highlighting the harmonica, was full of sunshine and joy. “Summertime” (George Gershwin) began with an introduction consisting of snatches of the main theme being passed around the players, before the flute finally took the melody into the higher range for a complete rendition which, as usual, was achieved effortlessly by Hannah. Two contrasting piano rags by Scott Joplin, “Maple Leaf Rag” and “Solace” were played with great attention to detail by Helen, and the evening ended with “The Man I Love” by Gershwin where Hannah’s flawless top notes again filled the high ceiling of the Shipston Methodist Church.

With a programme featuring pieces by composers ranging from Telemann,  Debussy and Rachmaninov to John Barry, Ronnie Hazelhurst and Paul McCartney, this was an evening of contrasting styles executed with skill and obvious enjoyment and was suitably rewarded with enthusiastic applause.

The September meeting was an evening of music performed by CHIMERA – a quartet of flute (Clare Preston), bass (Anese Cullington), drums (Robin Payne) and piano (Helen Porter).

The programme consisted of classical pieces by Debussy (d.1918) and Faure (d.1924) and works for flute and jazz trio by Claude Bolling and Jacques Loussier (both present day composers).There were several movements from Bolling’s Suites Nos. 1 and 2 providing contrast in style and instrumentation with two solos by Debussy. The first “Dr. Gradus” for piano from his Children’s Corner Suite played with real style and very nimble finger work by Helen. Then later we heard “Syrinx” for unaccompanied flute. Clare’s beautiful tone and fantastic breath control were evident throughout.

“Play Bach – Prelude No. 1” provided us with a clear contrast between an opening section in true Baroque Bach style followed by a jazz interpretation – quite fascinating.

The evening ended with three more movements from Bolling. ”Pastorale”, gentle and lyrical, then “Affectueuse” in which Clare played her alto flute. Members were delighted by the deeper tone quality of this instrument and afterwards she was very happy to chat to them and answer their questions. The third piece, “Veloce” as the name suggests was a fast and very rhythmic piece which had everyone tapping their feet. This was a fitting finale for the quartet: their ensemble playing was excellent throughout and their genuine pleasure in performing together delighted the audience. We hope that they will perform for us again in the future.

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