THEY said it would never succeed. That staging the music of light orchestral maestro Mantovani was a waste of time.

Thankfully lifelong Mantovani fan Paul Barrett ignored the nay-sayers and last night he staged the latest in a long line of hugely successful concerts with his extraordinary hand-picked 48 piece Magic of Mantovani Orchestra featuring special guest singers Rossano Sal and Jemma Truss with virtuoso pianist Sam Hanson.

The audience reaction at the Pavilion proved beyond doubt that there is still plenty of appetite for the cascading strings that set hearts fluttering in the 1950s and 60s.

As the word ‘Strictly’ in the title suggested, the theme of the concert was dance and with top musicians led by Geoffrey Allan and wonderful conductor Timothy Henty, drafted in at the last moment to cover for illness, it proved an impressive showcase for some of Mantovani’s world-beating ballroom arrangements.

Soloists included trumpeter Mike Lovatt, pianist Sam Hanson and aforementioned violinist Mr Allan who performed Reverie, a piece specially written for him by Angela Morely. There were ballroom dancers too in the form of ballroom duo Nuno and and Rebecca Fernandes.

A special mention should go to the man who makes it all happen again and again - Paul Barrett who provided so much more than the percussion and the silly hats that are his trademark.

The music ranged from classic Mantovani to crowd-pleasers like Gold Finger with vocals by Jemma Truss, What Kind of Fool am I featuring trumpet of Mike Lovatt and a trio of numbers from My Fair lady.

There was Strauss, Brahms, Delibes and Cole Porter and a session from the excellent Budapest Cafe Orchestra. Quite an evening which ended with an encore featuring the inevitable and rapturously received Charmaine. But not before Mantovani’s grandson, Simon Mott, had taken to the stage to praise Paul Barrett for almost single handedly keeping his grandfather’s music alive.