Westmorland Youth Orchestra Concert - 27th June 2015

Kendal Parish Church


WYO hungry for musical challenge

What appetites these young players have!  No safe ground here; instead, for its end-of-year concert the Westmorland Youth Orchestra chose works peppered with virtuosic solos, wicked rhythmic challenges and rapid changes of tempo.  “Scheherazade” is a seriously long play and yet, even though its youngest players are still in primary school, the energy and accuracy of the orchestra seemed to build over time, as if the music was a food source in itself.  The solo violin part – the voice of the Sultana – was delivered by retiring orchestra leader Freya Rock with astonishingly mature technique, ending with repeated top-string harmonics in the dying phrases. She received the annual Probus Award for services to the orchestra.

Clarinettist Jack Horrocks took the limelight with complete conviction in Gershwin’s “Walking the Dog” – pure Benny Goodman. Conductor Roland Fudge confidently walked away after a few bars and simply left the orchestra to get on with it, without him.  Impressive.

Bassoonist Amy Thompson’s arrangement of Prokofiev’s Hebrew Themes cleverly shared the original haunting clarinet theme around the septet who performed in the round.  Conductorlessly. *

The impressively large audience were welcomed into their seats in Kendal Parish Church with real panache by the WYO brass group, showcasing the young blood feeding into this dynamic orchestra - Andrew Forsyth 




Spring Concert at Appleby Public Hall, 14th March 2015

A Classical Spring


A few moments of complete silence followed by rapturous applause and a standing ovation greeted the Westmorland Youth Orchestra's dramatic and emotional performance of Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony, The Pathetique, given on Saturday night at Appleby Public Hall. Conductor Roland Fudge steered these enthusiastic and talented young players with impressive clarity and control to give of their best in a work which is not at all straightforward, even for fully professional players. Along the way, there was some very warm and expressive playing from all sections of the orchestra, and especially the strings (led by Freya Rock) and clarinets.  The concert opened with the conductor's Brittenesque arrangement of Clarke's Prince of Denmark's March, lead off by the percussion with precise rhythmic playing and well judged dynamics which gave great power to the climaxes. Local student, Persia Babayan-Taylor was the soloist in the first movement of Mozart's G major violin Concerto K216. She gave an assured performance capturing the essence of the youthful composer's music. Her achievement was all the more creditable because not only was she within a metre of the audience, but the hall itself does no favours to higher instrument sound.  Not an easy programme, but with the obvious dedication of the players and the audience's enthusiastic support, a very enjoyable night's music-making by the orchestra ~ Richard McGregor