This year’s Concert Series began in unusual and imaginative style with Cranleigh’s first ever Bavarian-style “Oktoberfest”, beating the start of the actual Munich celebrations by only a couple of days. The prize-winning “Oompah Brass” Ensemble hot-footed it from their superb afternoon concert at Cranleigh Prep School to entertain the assembled crowd of eager Europhiles in tremendous style. Brass playing in schools generally is sadly currently experiencing something of a national decline, a great shame given the enormous versatility of brass instruments. The visit from this exceptionally talented ensemble to both the Senior and Prep Schools is part of a concerted effort to introduce the instruments to the children and stimulate interest in this exciting instrumental family.
The Dining Hall was the obvious choice of venue for such an iconic event with the tables arranged in the traditional long lines. “Oompah Brass”, the award-winning quintet (two trumpets, French horn, trombone and tuba) were a class act in every respect, skilfully moving from the traditional musical fare their name suggests, to witty arrangements and reworkings of often the most unlikely pop songs. It was this unusual element of their performance that really captivated the audience of pupils, staff and members of the local community (with ages ranging for thirteen to over eighty). Bonnie Tyler, Mariah Carey and even Adele were all given the “Oompah” treatment to stunning effect, to say nothing of the brilliant “Bohemian Rhapsody” which rounded off the event. For many the highlight of the evening was Guy Waller’s characteristically sporting and hilarious attempt to try his hand playing the Posthorn in Hermann Koenig’s famous ‘Posthorn Gallop’, for others it may have been the excellent Bavarian buffet and enormous German sausages! It was, however, to the excellent ‘Oompah Brass’ that the evening really belonged and we do hope to enable a return visit from them at some point.