Review of Westmorland Youth Orchestra concert, 28th November 2009 


Westmorland Youth Orchestra’s 62nd season opened at The Lakes School, Windermere on November 28th under the baton of Roland Fudge, after a painful wrist operation had incapacitated MD Noel Bertram. The concert, sponsored by Windermere Rotary Club and in the presence of Bill Smith, Mayor of Windermere, opened with an entertaining set by the Brewery Youth Jazz group, BYJam, under Cath Sewell, while the orchestra had Handel, Haydn, Henry Purcell in their anniversary year separated by a Gustav Holst Orchestral Suite. Libby Gibson was the lyrical and accomplished flute soloist in the Beecham arranged Handel Suite from “Il Pastor Fido”, and there was appropriately robust playing notably by the weighty bottom brass and strings in Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks. Centrepiece of the evening’s programme was the daunting Haydn Trumpet Concert, in which Amy Redfern Pattison, the orchestra’s principal trumpet and member of the Halle Youth Orchestra, was the fleet fingered and fizzy-tongued soloist delighting all by her vivacious and spontaneous performance. WYO’s next concert will be in Kirkby Stephen GS in March 2010.



Review of Westmorland Youth Orchestra concert, 27th June 2009  - Westmorland Youth Orchestra mixes old and new


An appreciative Kendal Parish Church audience made the most of a balmy evening on Saturday at the Westmorland Youth Orchestra’s entertaining, if sometimes challenging, summer concert. Noel Bertram continued his crusade to broaden the musical horizons of both orchestra and audience by featuring contemporary German composer Detlev Glanert and a very modern-sounding Anton Webern.  As Bertram himself declared: after the Glanert,  extracts from Stravinsky’s Firebird felt like “a bit of light relief”. This saw the WYO playing at its customary best, though pieces by Purcell, Gabrieli and Bach  were also despatched with confidence. The mix was leavened by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and Aaron Copland’s famous Shaker melody.

A definite highlight was the revised tone poem Firestone and the Phoenix composed by principal cellist Matthew Bell.  The Kendal Probus Club’s annual award for outstanding contributions was shared by Heppy Deane and Charlotte Curwen, respectively principal Flute and Bassoon.

The mood was set by the Merang-a-tangs, a group of 7-9 year-olds from Levens CoE school who banged out some exuberant Welcome Music on drums. “It was our first gig,” said teacher Rachael Wadey. Now the WYO knows where to look for future percussionists.