WED 01 FEB 2017
Have you ever heard a full professional orchestra play live? More than 800 children did for the first time on a rainy Thursday 12th January. Worthing Symphony Orchestra gave a free Children’s Concert at their home venue of The Assembly Hall which was filled with children from a range of Worthing Schools.
Schools were invited by WSO and partners West Sussex Music, who provide instrumental and vocal tuition both in schools and in their local Area Music Centres. The 14 schools who responded included St Catherine’s RC Primary in Littlehampton, Jolesfield Primary at Partridge Green and Bohunt School. Students and staff braved the adverse weather for what was a very special event, some schools even walking to and from the event.
WSO artistic director, John Gibbons, conducted the 44-strong orchestra through an hour-long sequence of novel, fun, descriptive and serious music from the worlds of film, cartoon, TV, nursery and classical. From the breathless ‘Ruslan and Ludmilla’ Overture, to Haydn’s ‘Surprise’ Symphony extract, followed by The Teddy Bears’ Picnic, and there was even a Police Chase! After Hamish MacCunn’s Land of the Mountain and the Flood, there came Abject Terror from SpongeBob SquarePants (with Pevensey composer Paul Lewes present and getting a cheer), The Hall of the Mountain King, The Pink Panther, the Thunder and Lightning Polka and the Theme from E.T.
The WSO is celebrating its 90th year but Gibbons said: “We don’t think this orchestra has ever done anything like this before. It’s a bold and committed thing for a fully professional orchestra like us to attempt outside London."
The professionals of West Sussex Music played a key role and joined with the teachers in superbly marshalling the school parties in, around, and out of the Assembly Hall.
WSM arts co-ordinator Amy Duxbury said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for all who attended and it was very well received. Many had never seen a full orchestra, let alone witnessed a live performance. It was exciting, engaging, and provided a great introduction to orchestral music."
“The WSO musicians were very impressed by the high level of focus and attention shown by the children and students."
Worthing Area leader for WSN, Sally Sanderson added: “We hope that this wonderful experience, provided for free, will inspire a new wave of talented children to take up instrumental or singing lessons with us at school or at the Worthing Music Centre inside our new home at Bohunt School, in Worthing."
“We are grateful to John Gibbons for his creative vision and leadership, and John Gander and Richard Amey for all their hard work and dedication in realising this amazing opportunity – the young people of Worthing are so lucky to be able to benefit from a professional orchestra in a wonderful concert hall on their doorstep. “
A long day for the WSO began with a 10am run-through. After an afternoon rehearsal they played a sell-out orchestral concert in the evening with young world and TV celebrity violinist Nicola Benedetti as the Beethoven Concerto soloist. She met members of West Sussex Youth Orchestra string section at the rehearsal.
A pleasantly exhausted Gibbons said to his agreeing colleagues at the end: “This has been the greatest day in the history of the orchestra.”
Talks of another Children's Concert are currently underway...so watch this space!
West Sussex Music
The College of Richard Collyer
West Sussex, RH12 2EJ
A company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales
Company number: 8524556 | Charity number: 1152703
Tel: 08452 082 182