Duke Ellington-era inspired concert kicks off Royston Arts Festival 2014

Harmony in Harlem opened Royston Arts Festival on Friday night with a concert at Royston Methodist C

Harmony in Harlem opened Royston Arts Festival on Friday night with a concert at Royston Methodist Church - Credit: Archant

Royston Arts Festival got underway on Friday evening as the sounds of the Duke Ellington era were captured at a jazz concert.

A packed audience was taken back to the 1940s and the days of the Cotton Club in a concert given by the 17-piece jazz orchestra Harmony in Harlem at the Royston Methodist Church.

The concert, under the umbrella of the Royston Arts Festival, was organised by the Royston Methodist Church and the Rotary Club of Royston.

Ray Munden, last year’s Rotary Club of Royston president, said: “It was a marvellous evening with a marvellous band.”

The concert included such Ellington classics as Take the A Train to 12 pieces based on Shakespeare plays under the title Such Sweet Thunder, and an appearance by young violinist Johanna Bernard, who is a student at the Guildhall School of Music.

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Band leader Michael Kilpatrick said: “We really appreciated the support we received from the audience and hope to get the chance to play in Royston again.”

More than £1,000 was raised from the concert which will be donated to the Royston Methodist Church and the Garden House Hospice, the Rotary Club’s charity last year.

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Activities have been continuing throughout the week as part of the festival, which comes to climax on Sunday with the traditional Last Night of the Proms-style Festival Finale Concert at Royston parish church.

Before that, audiences can enjoy an array of events including a Question and Answer with international trumpet star Alison Balsom, and afternoon tea with best-selling author Sarah Harrison, who will talk about her life as an author.

Full details of the Royston Arts Festival programme are available at www.roystonartsfestival.org.

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