The Eskdale Festival, which normally fills the Spa Pavilion with music, drama and song in March every year, had to be cancelled, but the committee members were determined that talented musicians from the area should still have the opportunity to perform.
Local music teacher Bob Butterfield and former Eskdale School student Zak Parlby decided to organise a ‘virtual’ Jazz Lunch. The result is a tremendous line-up of more than 15 musicians, mostly from the Whitby area, ranging in age from 17 to 70. They include Tony Cross and Alastair Laurence as well as Bob and Zak, playing everything from jazz standards such as ‘Fly me to the Moon’ and ‘Blue Bossa’ to new pieces being performed for the first time. Instruments include saxophones, trumpet, trombone, flute, piano, guitar, bass and drums.
Every musician recorded their performance separately and sent it to Zak, who has then done tremendous work editing the separate pieces together to create a video. Zak has also supplied the arrangements for many of the numbers and composed as well. There are solo items as well as different combinations of instruments. The video lasts about 35 minutes.
Zak has been a student at Whitby Music Centre since primary school and has now recently been accepted to the jazz course at Leeds College of Music, to study the saxophone. He has been writing his own compositions for several years, some of which his teacher Bob will use at the Music Centre ensemble he leads.
Zak commented: ‘It’s a great pleasure to write all this music and have it played by so many talented players. I am thoroughly enjoying arranging and editing to create the finished product and look forward to the release in April.’
The video will be available on the website and facebook page of the Eskdale Festival of the Arts free of charge. However, those who wish to are asked to support the ISM (Incorporated Society of Musicians) via the just giving page that will be attached to the video. The ISM supports musicians who have been unable to earn money since the pandemic. The launch date is 11th April.
Future plans for the Festival include a recorded concert with contributions from local schools, which should be happening before the end of the summer term.