Titanic concert in Colne is a smash hit

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HUNDREDS of people went to a Titanic Centenary Commemoration Concert at The Muni, Colne, on Sunday.

Titanic bandmaster Wallace Hartley had been a member of Colne Orchestra before becoming a professional violinist and, at the concert, there was a superb performance by actor and violinist Jonathan Evans-Jones who played the role of Wallace in the 1997 film “Titanic”.

THE STAR: Actor and violinist Jonathan Evans-Jones plays at The Muni accompanied by Christopher Bevan.

THE STAR: Actor and violinist Jonathan Evans-Jones plays at The Muni accompanied by Christopher Bevan.

There was a complex new version of the hymn “Nearer, My God, to Thee” in the orchestra’s performance. It was composed by orchestra member Adrienne Fox, and Jonathan played the violin solo. Colne Orpheus Glee Union also took part.

Among the audience there was a relative of Wallace Hartley - his great nephew Kevin Nancarrow, who lives in Accrington. He suffers from cerebral palsy and is in a care home. He enjoyed the concert and meeting Jonathan. “It was a great night,” he said.

The orchestra, conducted by Judith David, opened the evening by playing the National Anthem and the hymn “O God, our Help in Ages Past”.

That was followed by the overture “Zampa” by Ferdinand Herold, which Wallace had played. And as a tribute to Wallace and his band they then played Franz Lehar’s “Gold and Silver Waltz”. They all went down well with the 450 people who packed The Muni.

COLNE'S CHOIR: The Orpheus on stage during the Titanic Centenary Concert.

COLNE'S CHOIR: The Orpheus on stage during the Titanic Centenary Concert.

Orchestra chairman Mr David Foulds welcomed guests including Kevin Nacarrow. He added: “It is 100 years to the day the world was devastated to hear one of the greatest tragedies of all times.”

A violin made in memory of Wallace Hartley was at the performance.

Jonathan and his accompanist Christopher Bevan were introduced by the conductor. Mrs David pointed out Jonathan had played with Colne Orchestra on the 90th anniversary of the Titanic sinking and added: “We are really pleased to have him here.”

The audience was delighted, too, for Jonathan played superbly, as did Christopher. There were pieces by Kriesler, Gluck, Schubert and Heuburger and they proved popular.

GREAT SOUND: Jonathan Evans-Jones takes the solo violin role in Adrienne Fox's new composition.

GREAT SOUND: Jonathan Evans-Jones takes the solo violin role in Adrienne Fox's new composition.

Before the interval, the orchestra played Luigini’s “Ballet Egyptien”, and as the programme pointed out, it was enough to remind people of Wilson, Keppel and Betty.

The second half opened with Rossini’s overturn “Italian Girl in Algiers”, and then Colne Orpheus - the oldest choir in England - performed a whole series of things. They, too, pleased the audience. It included things like “Going Home” and a song from the film Jonathan appeared in. They were conducted by Matt Leedam, and Eric Bearsdworth talked to the audience.

Jonathan and Christopher then played again Dvorak, Kreisler, two superb pieces of Elgar and a Brahms “Hungarian Dance” which Wallace had probably played. He concluded with a piece of music from his film, and he and Christopher were given a standing ovation by the audience.

The orchestra then briefly played “Dream of Autumn”, which many Titanic survivors said the band had played as the ship was sinking.

CONGRATUATED COMPOSER: Jonathan Evans-Jones gives his good wishes to Adrienne Fox who created a spectacular new version of "Nearer, My God, to Thee".

CONGRATUATED COMPOSER: Jonathan Evans-Jones gives his good wishes to Adrienne Fox who created a spectacular new version of "Nearer, My God, to Thee".

And then there was Adrienne Fox’s version of “Nearer, My God, to Thee” - Titanic 100 - which she conducted. It had smashing sounds, great work by Jonathan and the choir, and proved a big hit with the audience. It concluded with a Last Post. It was a memorable night.

WALLACE LINKS: Actor Jonathan Evans-Jones (left) meets Wallace Hartley's great-nephew Kevin Nancarrow.

WALLACE LINKS: Actor Jonathan Evans-Jones (left) meets Wallace Hartley's great-nephew Kevin Nancarrow.