THE Royal British Legion was packed last Friday and Saturday (December 10 and 11) for the première performances of the MpH (Music Project Hebrides) Rat Pack Night – and what a night it was!
Following an opening set of 1940s swing numbers from the Brat Pack – the training division of the Big Band – the Rat Pack Night kicked off with a stunning double: ‘Ain’t That a Kick in the Head’ sung by Alan Fish, and ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’ with MpH singing star Cath Fish at the mike.
Those two rip-roaring numbers paved the way for a string of classics immortalised by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and Bobby Darin, and delivered with great style and talent by a crop of locally cultivated singing stars.
The Big Band, playing a long set of mostly new material, was joined by two veteran guest trombone players – Rick Taylor, who is based in Skye, and Dave Chambers, from Lincoln, performing his third tour of duty for MpH.
Distinguished flute players Carol Miller, from the West Coast, also brought her expertise to the band.
Young singers being blooded with the Big Band included Josie Duncan and Emily Connor, well known for their folk and Gaelic singing, who branched out into swing with confidence and flair.
During their Brat Pack set, Josie sang ‘We’ll Meet Again’ and Emily ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ – and both were joined by Jenny MacTaggart and Eilidh Macleod for a splendid arrangement of ‘Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree’ backed by the Big Band.
Cath Fish, on top form, closed the first act with ‘New York New York’, and took the climax of the show with ‘My Way’ – the power of her voice prompted a standing ovation from the enthusiastic audience on both nights.
For a full Rat Pack review, see this week’s Stornoway Gazette, out Thursday, December 16.