THERE were faces young and old packed into The Anvil on Friday night (May 3) as the venue celebrated 25 years.

Whether this was someone’s first visit or the 100th there was a sense of excitement in the air as the Philharmonia Orchestra had prepared a special programme to make the milestone birthday of The Anvil.

There was a warm round of applause as conductor Martyn Brabbins stepped on to the stage to begin proceedings.

Before a single note was played Brabbins exclaimed what an honour it was to be part of the special occasion and that the Philharmonia always enjoyed coming to The Anvil to perform.

Opening the night was a piece of work by Samantha Fernando, which had been specially commissioned for the night titled, Breathing Space.

The piece was full of energy and frantic in the string section. And as the title suggests there was breathing space to allow instruments to shine, in particular the violins.

After Fernando took her applause it was the turn of Sheku Kanneh-Mason to take the spotlight.

The cellist made headlines with this performance at the royal wedding, and it is easy to see why as he commanded his instrument, and despite the great supporting cast surround him, all eyes were fixed on Kanneh-Mason through the Orchestra’s rendition of Sir Edward Elgar’s cello concerto.

After three rounds of applause for the cellist returned to perform a solo which received a gasp of “wow” from behind me.

Admittedly I am not the target audience for an evening of orchestral music, and may have missed some of the nuances of a trained ear, but the appreciation of the talent on display throughout the night was plan to see.