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Busman’s holiday for top conductor in Lyme
A FAMOUS conductor helped bring music to the ears of Lyme Regis as he stepped up to take the baton for a special surprise performance with the town band.
Mark Peacock is the associate conductor of the world’s eighth best band, The Fairey Band, and a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Mr Peacock was holidaying in the area with his family, and was watching the band’s performance on the Marine Parade, when he stepped up from the crowd for a guest appearance.
He was a surprise addition to the band’s performance last week, August 15, which had been organised at the last minute by Valerie Mahoney, bookings secretary for the band.
Mrs Mahoney said: “The musical conductor, John Powell, and I went to watch a performance in Beaminster when we were told that Mark was in the area on holiday.
“We phoned him up and invited him to watch, and the next thing you know oh my God, Mark is there conducting us.
“It really is momentous for this band and we are so pleased it happened.”
Mr Peacock conducted the band for the march ‘Punchinello’ and later joined in playing percussion in a group recital of Abba’s hit ‘Ring Ring’.
Paul Snowball, chairman of the Lyme Regis Town Band, said: “It was absolutely brilliant.
“We are all big fans of his work, and it was such an honour to play for someone as well renowned and as respected as Mark. He was a brilliant conductor and a fantastic person.
“I have to say he inspired us greatly.
“The band gave a performance that was befitting of being conducted by such a man and the crowd really enjoyed it.”
In a letter to them, Mr Peacock thanked the band ‘for giving me the opportunity to meet, conduct and play percussion’ during his recent visit.
He added: “It was a lovely evening and so good to hear a brass band playing in such a fantastic venue to such an appreciative audience.”
Mr Peacock will be returning to St Mary’s Church in Beaminster on Sunday, September 22 with his own band, The Fairey Band, and will also perform a Christmas concert in December.
The Lyme band’s season, described as one of the best ever by Mr Snowball, is drawing to a close with two performances left. One will take place this coming Sunday, August 25, at 2.30pm on Marine Parade, with the final one of the season the following Tuesday, starting at its usual time of 8pm.