Round-up of events across the borough

Dennis Rollins
Dennis Rollins


TWO of Doncaster’s most treasured music legends scooped two highly-coveted accolades at this year’s Yorkshire Jazz Awards.

Dennis Rollins’ Velocity Trio was named as band of the year at the annual awards at a ceremony at the Dean Clough Mills in Halifax.

The Doncaster-born trombonist, a former pupil of the Doncaster Youth Jazz Association (DYJA), is returning to his home town later this month.

Another winner at the awards was Dennis’ former teacher, John Ellis MBE, who has spent nearly four decades dedicated to the Yorkshire jazz scene.

He was recognised for services to jazz. He said: “It was a really lovely evening. It was fantastic to see Dennis’ work recognised. He’s one of the greats of Doncaster. There’s a lot of live music in the town and it’s brilliant when people don’t forget their roots.

“Dennis regularly comes back to the DYJA and helps out. He’s always willing to give something back.”

In a dedication at the awards ceremony, the audience heard how John decided to open up his classroom on Wednesday nights for any kids who wanted to come and learn to play jazz and blues.

Those Wednesdays nights went on to transform thousands of peoples’ lives, and create successive generations of the best UK musicians.

Dennis Rollins’ Velocity Trio - which also features organ virtuoso Ross Stanley and drummer Pedro Segundo - is coming to the Doncaster Civic Theatre on April 25 at 8pm. Tickets £14 and £12 concessions, with under 18s for £6.


Priory Church

THE main ingredient of Doncaster Choral Society’s March concert on March 24, conducted as usual by Simon Lindley, was a rare performance of Handel’s The Passion of Christ of 1716, an intense and powerful setting of the Easter story underlined by Dr Lindley’s committed interpretation directed either from conductor’s desk or harpsichord. The impact of the sometimes bite-sized Handelian choral morsels ranging from crowd interjections to chorale hymns, came over very well indeed.

There were a dozen solo singers with varying amounts to do. John Dunford (tenor) was a sensitive Evangelist, with admirably clear diction. Philip Wilcox (bass) was a sturdy Christus and Anita Wiencelewski (soprano), as Mary, showed anger and resignation in a few bars. Kristina James (also soprano) was the Daughter of Zion, combining both narrative and comment in lyrical singing of much beauty. Among the smaller parts, Peter (Toby Ward), Caiaphas (Charlie Calver) and Pilate (James Stark) contributed much.

Instrumental support came from organist David Houlder, whose contribution was invaluable as ever, and principals of the stylish National Festival Orchestra (leader, Sally Robinson), comprising just an oboe and string quintet. The whole performance comprised a thoroughly fresh experience as well as a rarity.

The shorter first half featured, imaginatively, three chorales from Bach cantatas including Jesu Joy of man’s desiring from Cantata 147 and also Albinoni’s superb D Minor Oboe Concerto from the admirable oboist Jonathan Tobutt, who decorated his melodic lines exquisitely in the best baroque tradition. A splendid evening.


The Academy Theatre, Birdwell

A RAUCOUS insight into life in a nightclub promises to have audiences in stitches at the Academy Theatre next week.

Bouncers, by Yorkshire playwright John Godber, is set in a northern nightclub with the action focused on the exploits of the four doormen and their customers.

The play is being brought to the stage by LS Theatre Productions between April 10 and Saturday, April 14 at the Birdwell venue, nearly Barnsley.

Director Lee Semley said: “It’s certainly our tightest schedule and toughest production yet but after the success of our last production Kes I feel it’s time for another challenge.

“Over a two hour period the lads play and bring to life around 40 different characters from flirty drunken ladies on a girls night out to burly brutish rugby players.

“It’s certainly been a challenge getting the lads to dance and recreate these iconic routines.” Tickets £9 and £10. Show begins at 7.30pm. Call 01226 744442.