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Maestro set to play in Blackwood Rhapsody concert

Karen HuntManjimup-Bridgetown Times

Violin virtuoso and showman Ashley Arbuckle will perform in Bridgetown as part of the Blackwood Rhapsody concert this month, to the joy of music fans.

Few are anticipating the February 24 concert as keenly as David Bardsley, who will perform with Arbuckle and his off-sider, harmonica player James Harwood.

“I sit here playing and practising with a big stupid grin on my face,” Mr Bardsley said on Friday.

For fans of the classical genre, Mr Arbuckle needs no introduction –he is a former WA Symphony Orchestra concertmaster and co-leader of the London Symphony.

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He has also recorded music for Hollywood movies and worked with legends from Leonard Bernstein to Frank Zappa and Andrew Lloyd-Webber during his long and successful career.

Mr Bardsley was invited to perform on February 24 after meeting and jamming with James Harwood – and the new trio has just had its first rehearsal.

“We got together for the first time yesterday and Ashley was absolutely amazing,” Mr Bardsley said on Friday.

“What he’s playing now – he’s playing a fusion of jazz and classical.”

The tunes they are preparing include Lloyd Webber’s take on a Paganini theme and the trio’s own interpretation of the well-loved Gershwin classic Summertime.

Another is a gypsy jazz-flavoured tune entitled Tchavolo Swing.

Other artists on the Blackwood Rhapsody bill are ARIA award winner Deborah Conway with her band Conway Zygier & the Beggars, Blues at Bridgetown favourites the Ten Cent Shooters, the WA Police Pipe Band, musical theatre star Justin Freind and Deb ‘Spoons’ Perry.

Mr Bardsley will be busy on February 24 – he is accompanying the Jubilee Singers in Beth Carlessi’s perfor-mance of a tune penned by her sister Emily Barker. He is also rehearsing a junior choir which will be the first act on stage on February 24.

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