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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA


Previews, reviews, interviews, and recommendations with Steve Cooke

The Kell Wind Trio – Nostalgia is not what it was – it is bettere!

Review by Dr Joe Dawson

The Kell Wind Trio belongs to a not very common genre which is also tricky to arrange music for. The players have to be very adept with their instruments to cover all the musical ground that larger groups can. Alastair Roberts flute, Geoffrey Smith clarinet and Ian Harvey on bassoon had all the skill to bring a wide variety of music to life.

The three musical muskateers took us on a swashbuckling ride from the elegance of Mozart to a lively folk dance by Grieg, a modern sonata by Poulenc and the timeless humour of Herold’s famous Clog Dance.

Warlock and Weber provided more great pieces which contained some familiar but half-identified tunes, culminating in Duncan’s March from Little Suite, a.k.a Dr Finlay’s Casebook, and

‘Puffing Billy’ a.k.a. Edward White’s BBC Children’s Favourites theme of the 1960s.

Some say that nostalgia is not what it used to be (joke) but strands of familiar tunes are immediately evocative and take you right back to the time and unlock memories as effectively as a colour or smell.

With excellent arrangements throughout, and informative introductions from Alastair, nostalgia quickly overcame déjà vu. The extended applause demanded an encore and a future return.

This was concert number 1,063 since taking over from the council in 2001. The Queen’s Award-winning Toad Lane Concerts are every Wednesday 12:30 – 13:30 at the Grade 1 listed St Mary in the Baum Church, Rochdale OL16 1DZ, admission £6.


Preview by Steve Cooke

In the new year the Octagon are presenting powerful re-telling of George Orwell’s chilling and timeless classic, Animal Farm

When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master and take over, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality for all. However, over time a cunning and brutal elite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, gradually take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they once thought and find themselves ensnared as one tyranny is replaced with another.

Orwell’s enduring and devastating satire about the corruption of power will be brought vividly to life on stage in a brand-new production of this compelling and iconic drama.

CAST: Samater Ahmed - Snowball, Sam Black – Boxer, Amy Drake – Mollie, Polly Lister - Old Major, Killian Macardle – Squealer, Ida Regan – Napoleon.

CREDITS: Ian Wooldridge – Writer, Iqbal Khan – Director, Ciaran Bagnall - Set & Lighting Designer, Shelley Eva Haden - Movement Director, Su Newell - Costume Designer & Supervisor, Jack Clearwater - Assistant Director, Dylan Towley – Composer.

From £15



The Octagon is in the heart of Bolton town centre, a five-minute walk from the bus interchange and train station. The nearest car park is the NCP Octagon Car Park situated on Great Moor Street (BL1 1SN).


A New Billboard by Burning Salt at EBOR

Review by Steve Cooke

EBOR have installed a new billboard display by Burning Salt, ‘I Became, Clumsy and Late and Joyful,’ a work created by using somatic [body-based] meditation techniques.

It is part of ‘Do you know the slope, the grain?’ a solo exhibition of somatic drawing, animation, poetry, and song that was open from 14 October to 05 November. Alongside the show, Burning Salt hosted a somatic drawing and writing workshop, and an evening performance of original music.

Burning Salt is artist and musician Hannah Hall who studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths College. The ancient practice of ‘burning salt’ is an act of expulsion, purification, or protection. Hannah uses song, poetry, drawing, animation, and film to these ends. After a decade of specialism in socially engaged art, Hannah is currently focused on exploring somatic practices and trauma. They are also a boat dweller, TEDx speaker, intersectional feminist, queer person and recovering addict.

Experience the show in Ebor’s Virtual Gallery

Cantare Ladies Choir meets the Northern Baroque Orchestra at St Aidan’s

Review by Dr Joe Dawson

It was great to see two Rochdale-based music groups share a platform in their first collaborative concert that turned out to be a celebration of live music, ancient and modern. The near capacity audience seemed to justify the 3 pm start on a Saturday afternoon and their sustained applause demonstrated their approval of the project.

The Northern Baroque Orchestra (founded 1985) is a chamber orchestra of both professional and amateur musicians, predominately string players, specialising in music from the Baroque and early Classical eras. Guided by conductor Alasdair Gordon they produced vigorous performances of the 18th century Concerto Grosso Op 6 no 8 by Handel and the 20th century St Paul’s Suite for Strings by Holst, with some outstanding solo work and earnest ensemble playing.

The popular and successful Cantare Ladies Choir was originally founded in 1982 as the Debrose Choir before they changed their name to Cantare in 2009. Under their current director, Adam Summers, their version of ancient and modern consisted of delightful performances of the 16th century ‘If ye love me’ by Tallis and the 21st century ‘Lux Aeterna’ by Sarah Quartel, both equally challenging works. The rich mix of vocal parts produced a wonderful tone which justifies the reputation they have gained over the years.

The second half was devoted to both groups combined in Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria in D’, which was nothing short of glorious. The ladies’ voices buoyed up with strings, oboes and organ brought this Baroque masterpiece to life.

St Aidan’s Church proved an admirable setting for their enthusiastic and joyful music-making. The logistics of gathering so many musicians together is itself impressive. An exercise that deserves to be seen again.

Help keep these local groups going, as audiences as well as performers: contact

· Cantare rehearse on Wednesday evenings from 7.30 to 9.30 at Norden Methodist Church, Edenfield Road, Rochdale, OL12 7QE. Contact: or just turn up and give it a try.

· Northern Baroque Orchestra visit


Sunday 03 December

Christmas Craft Fair

Unique hand-made gifts are being sold at the Christmas craft fair at the Star Tree Studio in Littleborough.

Free kids colouring activities, plus an appearance by Father Christmas at 1pm.


Phone: Elizabeth White 07801 433970

11am - 3pm

Star Tree Studio, Hare Hill Park, Littleborough Ol15 9HE

Monday 04 December

Reason To Sing (Gospel Choir)

A friendly group singing inspirational popular and gospel songs no auditions, no need to read music just the ability to have fun and join in.

£5 per person, per week

Phone: Louise Kay 07854 870167

2pm - 3.30pm

River Beal Café, Ladybarn Lane, Milnrow, Rochdale, OL16 4GQ

Wednesday 06 December

Toad Lane Concerts - Rochdale's Weekly Music at Lunchtime

This week we have Telemann Baroque Ensemble: Alfred Pollard oboe Kevin O’Sullivan bassoon Elaine da Costa & Sarah Snape violins John Goodstadt viola Roger Bisby cello Peter Collier harpsichord.

The concert series has been held at St Mary’s since 2001 and was granted the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2020… during the pandemic!

Running every Wednesday, Music at Lunchtime is a weekly live classical music concert series that has been going since the 1960s. The sessions were initially run at the old Rochdale Art Gallery by the local authority, but since May 2001 have been run by volunteer-enthusiasts and artistic director, Dr Joe Dawson.


Phone: Dr Joe Dawson 01706 648872

Doors open 12noon, concert starts 12.30pm - 1.30pm

St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane/St Mary's Gate, Rochdale OL16 1DZ

Wednesday 06

Rochdale Photographic Society

Tonight's session - Club auction evening.

We meet every Wednesday at Rochdale Unitarian Church, starting at 7.30pm prompt (doors open from 7.15pm). The door is kept locked so please ring the bell on arrival.

If you would like to see the club for yourself and meet our members, you are welcome to attend as our guest for up to 3 weeks before committing to membership. Annual subscription is £36 for single or £46 for joint membership.

Visit the link below for a full 2023 syllabus.

£2.50 for room fee


Doors open 7.15pm, 7.30pm start.

Rochdale Unitarian Church, Clover Street, Rochdale OL12 6TP

Wednesday 06 December

Rochdale Artists Group

New day time art group, very friendly, meeting every Wednesday.

All abilities are welcome.

Help offered and source materials available. All mediums covered.

Bring in your own work or join in with a weekly programme of events, talks, workshops, and demonstrations.


Phone: Veronica Swinden 01706 640567

10.45am - 12.45pm

Castleton Community Centre, Manchester Road, Castleton OL11 3AF

Celebrating creative arts and artists - an oasis of positivity supporting individual and community wellbeing.


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