Shelley Coulter -Smith - Mezzo-soprano, Darren Jeffery - Bass-Baritone, & Anthony
Seddon - piano
Over 100 people filled the Minstrels Music Centre for the Bude Music Society concert
on Sunday 21st January. On a truly miserable afternoon, 'A Winter Gala' of light-hearted
songs was presented by international, South Petherwin-based opera singers Shelley
Coulter-Smith (Mezzo-Soprano), her husband, Darren Jeffery (Bass-Baritone) and Anthony
Seddon, accompanist. The wide variety of music performed really lifted our spirits
and enthralled the capacity audience from beginning to the end.
Part one of the diverse programme included music from Mozart and Handel to Wagner
and Tchaikovsky; the second half brought a lighter note from John Ireland, Michael
Head, 'Les Misérables', Ol’ Man River and Spamalot! The works were introduced by
the soloists in a way that was often amusing, apt and particularly relevant for songs
that were less well-known. The soloists' rapport with the audience was excellent
and this made the performances exciting and, in some cases, very moving.
The singing was miraculous from the outset, with amazing florid runs, soft reflective
passages, sensitive phrasings and crystal-clear diction. There was a truly wonderful
variety of moods, thoughtfully chosen and contrasted, in four languages and all sung
from memory. Each song and phrase was acted out; this brought the performances alive
and one almost forgot the challenges that the singers faced with dynamics, phrasings,
ensemble, balance, and breathing.
None of this would have been possible without the sensitive accompaniment provided
by Anthony Seddon. He appeared at ease throughout, embracing the very wide range
of styles and and so prompt in tempi and dynamics. The ensemble and balance were
responsive throughout the concert.
As part of Bude Music Society’s commitment to encourage young, local performers,
Jodie Desousa sang three songs accompanied by Penny Barclay. Here is a real talent:
Jodie has a natural flair for performance and such an exciting Soprano voice. She
combined with Shelley in a Handel duet as her final piece, responding musically throughout. Well
Our thanks must go to Bude Music Society for arranging this amazing concert and of
course to all the performers! How lucky we are to have such distinguished soloists
living in North Cornwall and contributing to our local music groups and musicians.