THE audience at Holy Cross Church in Crediton were well and truly entertained by the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Concert Band on Saturday, March 18.

Their enthusiasm was infectious and the two stand-in conductors, Michael Owen and Steve Herbert regaled us with stories and the odd joke whilst giving the band a rest between pieces.

It’s hard work blowing all those brass and wind instruments, which were enhanced by the wonderful acoustics of Holy Cross; perfect for the 30 strong Concert Band.

The event was organised to raise funds for the Crediton Parish Church Music Endowment Fund, which supports Crediton Parish Church Choristers' music lesson fund.

The Chairman of the Endowment Fund, Robin Thomas welcomed everyone and opened proceedings.

He said: “The Devon and Somerset Fire Service do a splendid job in often dangerous situations and I know that there have been some nasty fires here in Crediton in recent years.

"Attending fires is only part of their work and attending other emergencies on the roads, on the railways and in the countryside is now a large part of their work.

"I’m sure the Devon and Somerset Fire Brigade are proud of their Band.

"At a time when the Arts Council is making cuts to their budget affecting English National Opera and the BBC Singers, we are trying to keep music alive in Crediton.

“The Music Endowment Fund exists to promote and continue the fine tradition of music in this church.  We are pleased to support the stipends of the Choir Master and Assistant Organist and especially to give grants to youngsters keen to learn musical instruments or have singing lessons.”

Penny Pearkes, Honorary Secretary of the Endowment Fund, said: "We were delighted to have a good attendance considering there was a big concert of the Monteverdi Vespers in competition with us.

"That would have been a very serious affair compared with the clapping along to a well-known tune from 'Titanic' - Irish Party in Third Class.

"We enjoyed music from Mozart to Henry Mancini and a rendition of ‘Jerusalem’ by our very own Treasurer and chorister, Karen Reed.

"She not only sang with gusto, but played flute in the Concert Band too.  A truly Herculean effort on top of organising the visit in the first place.

"We raised over £300 for the Crediton Church Music Endowment Fund.”

Penny added: "Our next concert is an Organ Recital by Mark Brafield, who is not only an accomplished organist, but also a Solicitor and now a Judge.

"He started piano lessons at the age of four and singing in his Church choir at six!

"He held an Organ Scholarship at Trinity College, Oxford, whilst reading English, but after careful thought decided that he wanted to keep music as a passion – albeit one pursued to a professional standard – whilst following a career in the law.

"He knows how important it is to have music lessons and has very kindly offered his services to help promote our Endowment Fund."

The Organ Recital will be played on the Harrison and Harrison Organ at Holy Cross Church, Crediton will take place from 2.30pm on Saturday, April 22.

It will include a selection of popular classics.

Tickets, priced at £8 on the door, will include tea and cake.