REVIEW: WORTHING SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA - CONCERT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

bass trombonist Sam Freeman and children from Bramber School - by Stephen Goodger
bass trombonist Sam Freeman and children from Bramber School - by Stephen Goodger
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On a steamy Monday morning, Worthing’s Assembly Hall was inundated with the excited sounds of about 700 local primary and secondary school pupils, ably chaperoned by their teachers and volunteers. Among them was also a contingent of Home-Educated young people.

Although several of the youngsters learn to play instruments (the front 3 rows all learn trombone!), many of them (and possibly some of the adults) had seemingly never witnessed a live classical music concert before, and it was touching to observe them all reacting so positively to the wonderful sounds produced by a fully professional orchestra

With their inspirational Musical Director John Gibbons, the practical aid of Richard Amey and John Gander and the backing of West Sussex Music, the Worthing Symphony Orchestra are committed to involve the young in high quality music education, freely extending their knowledge and appreciation, and hoping to encourage future performers and audiences. Today the stage was filled to capacity with some of the best professional musicians in the country, groups of whom John encouraged to hold up their instruments to show their audience!

Following a rehearsal for the evening concert, the music performed was specially chosen, introduced (and sometimes re-arranged) by John and the Orchestra to appeal to their young audience, including The Big Country, Haydn’s Surprise Symphony (with several surprises), Saint-Saens’ powerful Organ Symphony and Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag arranged for wind instruments. The Organ Symphony featured Worthing’s very own floodlit Wurlitzer organ which rose magically from the depths of the stage, with virtuoso organist Michael Wooldridge seated at the console. Other music included “Abject Terror” as heard on TV’s “SpongeBob Squarepants” (more familiar to the young!) and composed by Brighton’s own Paul Lewis.

Cheers and whoops from the audience greeted these and other works including Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” with its tremendous build-up, part of Beethoven’s well-known 5th Symphony, and Strauss’s graphic Thunder & Lightning Polka. There were also intriguing works by the British composer William Alwyn, to whose Foundation the Orchestra is indebted for its generous support of their concerts

This was the second of these experimental concerts, the brainchild of Richard Amey and his team, and plans are already afoot for a follow-up next Spring

More details can be found at www.worthingsymphony.co.uk and www.westsussexmusic.co.uk

The first concert of this type was given last autumn, and the next is due in February 2018.

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