WYO plays Pop!
Appleby Public Hall
Saturday 12 March 2022
Westmorland Youth Orchestra gave a concert of Pop classics and some specially written works to a packed and highly appreciative audience in the Public Hall at Appleby. Fredrik Holm, the orchestra’s conductor had made arrangements of the music which were tailored to the orchestra’s players whom he clearly knows very well. There was also a very carefully written arrangement of John Powell’s How, exactly, do you train a dragon by orchestra member Ellian Ozanne. What was particularly striking about this and indeed all the performances was the sheer enthusiasm and enjoyment the players showed, and we were fortunate to be able to see, and appreciate, the dedication to making music that was so obvious in these performances.
In his introduction the conductor told the audience that he had hoped that schools might be involved in the performance, and unfortunately that didn’t happen, but it did not matter because members of the orchestra, including one of the tutors, stepped up and performed as singers to the obvious delight of the audience.
Pop music classics such as Bohemian Rhapsody and Thriller need a good solid and rhythmic beat and the percussion section was excellent in providing that – and all credit to Gabriel Weber whose kit drumming was always strong and supportive. Also important to the textures were the keyboard players who swapped around for different numbers and the excellent bass playing of Nuala Sankey.
The orchestra also gave the first public performance of Poem No. 2, a work by Jan Harris, a young composer who had written a piece which relied for its effect on musical ideas which were repeated and varied in different ways. The string players made a lovely warm sound and there was a particularly attractive section featuring the flutes and harp. Fredrik Holm was careful to control the expression and the dynamic in this work to achieve an effective climax while keeping the rhythmic impetus constant.
This was followed by MacCartney’s Because in which the vocal soloist was Debby Howrie, violin tutor. Here the accompaniment was gentle and effective, and it was followed by the upbeat Thriller with Ben Tonkin and the orchestra giving a performance full of verve and energy. Clean Bandit’s Rather Be was well executed by Amos Rand (who previously did a sterling job on Bohemian Rhapsody) and Lydia Harris to a strong rhythmic accompaniment from the orchestra, while Alex Morris, one of Fredrik Holm’s students rounded off the first half with a confident version of Dance with me tonight.
The audience were welcomed to the evening by the ensemble Jazinfusion drawn from members of the orchestra, and in the interval members of the orchestra entertained with lively and energetic songs – encouraging the audience to join in. The acoustic qualities in Appleby Public Hall are not the most helpful to larger groups of performers and it is to the credit of all these young performers that they worked really hard to overcome this with their energy and commitment.
The second half began with Hans Zimmer’s Earth played with long well sustained lines by strings and wind equally. This performance and Daffodils by Toby Bradbury were dedicated to the memory of one of the tutors – Catherine Scott – who had died earlier in the year. Daffodils was the winner of a composition competition which the orchestra had established. The work began with a quiet solo from the leader of the orchestra Anna Roch, and featured some very effective wind writing, as well as a rather more jaunty middle section in which the orchestra was well balanced.
The arrangement of How, exactly, do you train a dragon? mentioned earlier was impressive for the fact that Ellian showed already how to achieve a good balance of orchestral parts and the piece demonstrated that the arranger clearly knew the players as different instruments were used carefully for effect.
The concert concluded with lively performances of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep played with real conviction and sung with gusto by Amos Rand, Ben Tonkin, Grace Bateman and Callie Popple, and Callie also sang the final number Viva la vida, a fitting climax to the concert where the orchestra showed how effective they could be in full ensemble.
At the end of the concert the orchestra was given a long standing ovation by the audience – well deserved – and were treated to an encore – Abba’s Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! played and sung with huge energy, engagement and commitment.
It is marvellous to see young musicians so involved with the performances and enjoying themselves so much. This shows just how important live music is. It is crucial that schools, in particular, continue to encourage young people to learn instruments and to perform, because everyone benefits. It is also vital that funding is available to encourage anyone to learn an instrument and to have the opportunity to play in an ensemble. Well done to Westmorland Youth Orchestra, conductor, tutors, but most of all, the members.
Youth Orchestra defies Covid
Ambleside Parish Church,
Saturday 4 December 2021
“We’re back!,” shouted Fredrik, raising his arms in triumph. And we were. For the first time in two years the Westmorland Youth Orchestra was back to something like a full performance. Its Christmas Concert in Ambleside’s St Mary’s Church on December 4th was fizzing with the talent, the enterprise and the joy of playing together we have come to expect under the baton of Musical Director Fredrik Holm. The audience of 70 who had braved the foul winter weather loved it.
Sophie Hall’s solo trumpet in Gordon Langford’s tricky Concertino was a delight, demonstrating sophistication as well as skill. We almost take it for granted that some of our players will come up with compositions of their own, but it is a remarkable achievement in itself simply to write for a large musical ensemble. Ellian Ozanne and Callie Popple did not disappoint, producing works showing lyricism as well as maturity in structuring and writing.
The main course came after the interval and Fredrik could barely hide his excitement at having one of the pillars of the traditional classical repertoire to conduct, for the first time since the pandemic struck. Few could fail to feel their pulses quicken as the first notes of Schubert’s 8th “Unfinished” Symphony sounded through the church.
And we cannot forget JazInfusion, which launched the concert with a medley of rock and jazz pieces, culminating in with… inevitably … an enthusiastic rendition of Slade’s “Merry Christmas, Everybody”. The 10 members of the band mostly play in the orchestra proper – albeit sometimes on different instruments!
JazInfusion is the baby of Double Bass tutor Stuart Lewthwaite and the importance of the role of our professional musicians was marked by a small presentation to Pam Redman, who is leaving after four years guiding the 1st violins through some challenging material. Catherine Scott, who stepped down a few months ago after 20 years (!) coaching a range of woodwind, was in the audience and her enormous contribution was also recognised.
The pandemic has been hard for WYO. Eighteen months without proper rehearsals, the lockdowns, precautions, sectional sessions and general fear have taken their toll. The audience was – deliberately – modest by our standards; there are still too many gaps in the line-up and some sections could do with more players; the playing too occasionally betrayed the lack of quality rehearsal time and cohesion.
But be in no doubt, this was a triumph. The WYO is indeed “back” and whatever the pandemic throws at us next, is not going anywhere.
Get off your Phone!
Video Game Music for Orchestra
Saturday 7 March 2020, 7.30pm
QES Kirkby Lonsdale
Playing the Game!
Review of Westmorland Youth Orchestra concert
We are so lucky to have this vibrant youth orchestra in our area, conducted by the charismatic and talented Fredrik Holm and led, this evening, by Imogen Banfield. Their “Get off Your Phone” concert at QES on Saturday 7th March was an ambitious and packed programme of music from video games, starting with a funny woodwind rendition of “Pong” and following that with a hugely exciting arrangement of music from Tetris, specially arranged for this orchestra by Fredrik. This really set the tone for what would be a superbly played programme.
Three stand-out soloists were featured: trumpeter Zoë Lovell, whose excellent control of all registers of the instrument made her rendition of Pakhmatova’s fantastically demanding concerto sound exciting, passionate and beautiful; trombonist Rosemary Kelly, who took the solo role in Rimsky-Korsakov’s famous concerto, carrying through the fanfare opening and the more lyrical lines with impressive clarity; and violinist Maciej Rzepczyk, whose performance of the most beautiful movement of any Bach violin concerto (the andante from BWV 1041) showed his superb tone, bowing control and musical maturity.
Every section of the orchestra was used to its full potential in this concert, with the most obvious fun being had by members of the percussion section, especially in the second half of the concert. The full array was there, including an assortment of hand-held percussion, very dramatic bass drum and gong, and marimba, played expertly by Paddy Davies. The string section made everything from Bach to the frightening pizzicato rhythms in the Super Mario music sound effortless, and it is wonderful to see so many young people filling this vital part of the orchestra. The woodwind section has an impressive number of players, and they all projected their parts well during the concert. The trombones, trumpets and horns were particularly impressive, with a lot of energetic and powerful playing.
The main vote of thanks goes to the inspiring conductor, dressed in his Super Mario t-shirt and offering the audience tips and facts about gaming. This orchestra is very lucky to have such a gifted and endlessly motivating and encouraging leader, and we all look forward to their next concert on June 20th!
Westmorland Youth Orchestra presents
A Seasonal Celebration
Saturday 23 November, 7.30pm at Dallam School
Welcome music from 7pm
Conductor Fredrik Holm
Youth Orchestra heralds the Festive Season
By Rebecca Clifford-Perkins
It’s official, Christmas is here…
On a cold, wet November evening, there was no better place to be than in the warmth of Dallam School Hall listening to the mighty sound of the Westmorland Youth Orchestra (WYO).
Under the baton of their enigmatic conductor, Fredrick Holm, the orchestra presented a humorous and well-prepared selection of Christmas music. I will admit to not being ready for Christmas, but after this wonderful programme I certainly feel less Scrooge-like!
We were treated to a diverse range of music and soloists. It was inspiring to hear two "world premieres", especially at a time when the demise of young musicianship is regularly reported.
Daniel Slater’s cheeky, comical anduplifting arrangement of ‘Never Do a Tango with an Eskimo’ by Tommy Connor was received with great enthusiasm, especially as the arranger himself was the soloiston, of all instruments, the viola. It is so good to see and hear young musicians who have such a great passion and skill for music.
The WYO has two excellent resident harpists but a search for two-harps-and-orchestra pieces drew a blank. Holm's solution was to compose one himself and ‘A Christmas Celebration’ was duly and delightfully performed by Charlotte Salisbury and Evie Tomlinson. A feeling of peace and tranquillity crept over the audience, with thoughts of stars and frosty nights.
In true antithesis to winter,Imogen Banfield put aside her violin to give a stunning rendition of George Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’. With a beautiful horn solo from Thomas Thorne, Imogen held the audience spellbound with her rich and velvety voice.
The overall programme was carefully selected with Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Prokofiev maintaining the twin themes of Christmas and having a good time. Malcolm Arnold’s little-known Toy Symphony, complete with various toy instruments, bells, whistles and kazoos was great fun.
Throughout the concert you could shut your eyes and forget that you were listening to a youth orchestra, such was the power and strength of the ensemble.
Linking it all together was John Julius Norwich's sardonic take on ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas (A Correspondence)' with members of the orchestra reading out one verse of the poem at a time between the pieces of music.
The evening began with a varied selection of "welcome music" from Joe Wilkinson on flute, Eleanor Cragg on violin and Debby Howrie, also on violin.
If you haven’t heard the Westmorland Youth Orchestra you are missing out! Their next concert is music based on Video Games on 7 March 2020 at Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale.
Saturday 29 June 2019, 7.30pm
A Musical Extravaganza
With Amabile Choir and Bellevue Youth Choir (from the USA)
Kendal Parish Church
Tickets on the door or from https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/amabilechoirs
Friday 5 July 2019, 6.30pm
One Small Bird
With local primary schools
Kendal Leisure Centre
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF FILM MUSIC
The Westmorland Youth Orchestra at St. Mary’s Church, Ambleside
Saturday 9 March 2019
To be fair they had me at The Adventures of Robin Hood, Korngold’s score embodying the romance and swashbuckling of the film, the young orchestra capturing the joyous melodies and atmosphere exactly. The Westmorland Youth Orchestra’s romp through 100 years of movie music magic had many, many highlights. From the unusual, and brave opening of Scott Joplin’s ragtime classic The Entertainer, played on the harps by Charlotte Salisbury and Evie Tomlinson, to the witty melodic crescendo of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, these talented young musicians treated the audience to a selection of both well-known movie themes and lesser known delights.
For many in the audience, a standout moment among many highlights was the beautiful and melancholy ‘Prelude’from 49th Parallel conducted by clarinettist, Emma Ward. An inspired choice, the music, from this 1941 British wartime propaganda film, composed by Vaughan Williams, not generally known for his film scores, was lovingly rendered by the orchestra to an audience held spellbound by its beauty; a beauty clearly appreciated by those playing it.
Other highlights were a medley from John Williams’ The Empire Strikes Back which was almost faultless and followed by the quirky, popular ‘Cantina Band’ from Star Wars (1977), a virtuoso performance by Eddie Davies on saxophone, Edward Cooke on piano and Josh Lucas on bass. A medley from Bernstein’s West Side Story evoked the changing emotions of the songs from this tragic story. Mancini’s Pink Panther theme had the audience clicking their fingers along with the orchestra and the theme from Mission Impossible swept all along. These were not easy pieces and among the most challenging was the Symphonic Suite from The Lord of the Rings; The Two Towers conducted by Lord of the Rings fan Jenny Hucknall but the young musicians pulled it off.
Reminding us that film makers regularly plunder classical music Robert Hucknall treated us to a confident and polished movement from Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 3 in E-Flat Major. Like many others in the orchestra, Robert introduced the piece and made a touching tribute to the skill of French Horn players of Mozart’s time.
We were welcomed by Jazz from Scratch with foot tapping tunes and the more delicate sounds of Eloise, Rachel and Florie, a flute/bassoon/guitar trio from Lancaster.
Mistakes ‘there were a few, but then again, too few to mention’ because what shone through this evening was the passion and joy these young people find in this music ably led and encouraged by their conductor, Frederick Holm and the section tutors.
Scott Joplin, The Entertainer
Soloists: Charlotte Salisbury and Evie Tomlinson
E.W. Korngold,The Adventures of Robin Hood
W.A. Mozart, Horn Concerto No. 3 in E-flat major, First movement
Soloist: Robert Hucknall
Vaughan Williams, ‘Prelude’ from 49th Parallel
Conducted by Emma Ward
Leonard Bernstein, West Side Story
Henry Manchini, Theme from Pink Panther
John Williams, Medley from The Empire Strikes Back
‘Cantina Band’ from Star Wars
Saxophone: Eddie Davies Piano: Edward Cooke Bass: Josh Lucas
Lalo Schifrin, Theme from Mission Impossible
Howard Shore, Symphonic Suite from The Lord of The Rings,:The Two Towers
Conducted by Jenny Hucknall
Klaus Badelt, A Medley from Pirates of the Caribbean:,The Curse of the Black Pearl
24 November 2018, Ullswater Community College
Dancing into Penrith
The Westmorland Youth Orchestra conquered new territory for its autumn concert, winning over a large audience at the Ullswater Community College in Penrith with some exhilarating solos and a lot of dance music. Our ever reliable Leader Alistair Burton and trumpeter Solomon Russell-Cohen shone in the Sibelius and Pakhmutova concertos respectively, clarinettists Emma Ward and Jenny Hucknall took turns with the baton and Fredrik Holm injected his usual energy into the whole team. There was a lot of interest from potential members from the school, as well as praise from the audience. “I must have spoken to at least 30 people, and every one was full of praise,” said one steward. “Absolutely well done,” wrote Simon Yeo, head of the Cumbria County Music Service. “It was a challenging programme which the young people tackled with enthusiasm; even when things were going a bit awry they were confident enough to follow Fredrik to pull it back together.”
And it was indeed a tremendously tough programme with dance music ranging from classical and modern ballet, through Scottish and Latin American dance music and the Parisian 19th century music hall to ABBA. There was plenty of rhythm and plenty of pace, especially after the interval. Arturo Marquez’ ever more popular Danzon No. 2 featured solos for clarinet, trumpet, flute, piccolo, piano and violin. These days no WYO concert is without its innovation and this time it was programme notes on the pieces written by Fredrik, the soloists and player-conductors, who also spoke to introduce each piece to the audience.
The audience were put in the mood with Welcome Music on piano and harp performed by Charlotte Salisbury snf others. The mulled wine, mince pies and cakes served at the school’s Fred’s Bar before the concert also helped, as well as raising £90 for the Community College’s music department.
Tchaikovsky, from the Nutcracker Suite:
Marche, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Russian Dance, Arabian Dance, Reed Flutes and Waltz of the Flowers
Sibelius, Violin Concerto 1st movement
Arnold, Four Scottish Dances
Offenbach, Can Can
Rodriguez, Danzon no 2
Pakhmotova, Trumpet Concerto
Stravinsky, Firebird Suite
Abba, Mamma mia, SOS, Dancing Queen
30 June 2018, Kendal Parish Church
On arrival the audience was greeted by a lovely sequence of short pieces played by the string ‘feeder’ group. Fredrik Holm’s light-hearted welcome was followed by the energetic Vaughan Williams ‘English Folk Song Suite’ with some lovely woodwind solos. In contrast to this very English music was Piazzola’s ‘Libertango’ in which the syncopated rhythms were no problem to these players!
At the heart of the WYO’s most enjoyable concert were three remarkable pieces which displayed a dazzling array of talents: ‘Africa’, ‘Caprice in D’ and ‘Primo Itinere’. The first, written by Marshall McDonald, is a substantial work full of African rhythms, which were played with vigour and accuracy by the young percussionists of the orchestra, and haunting mantra-like melodies delivered by all sections. For this the orchestra was joined by the Lancaster U3A singers, also trained by WYO’s energetic and imaginative conductor Fredrik Holm. This was a strikingly successful collaboration of young and old.
‘Caprice in D’ was written by Alistair Burton, WYO’s leader, and is a sleazy, tongue-in-cheek jazzy piece with a lovely feel for orchestral colour and texture. ‘Primo Itinere’, written by clarinettist Jenny Hucknall and conducted by trumpeter Sol Russell-Cohen, is an imaginative and atmospheric piece with very English modal harmonies.
This encouragement of young composers and conductors is a wonderful initiative by WYO. The reception accorded these performances, along with the award to Alistair Burton for the most outstanding contribution to the orchestra in the last year, is evidence of WYO’s continuing success.
R. Vaughan Williams English Folk Song Suite
A. Piazzolla Libertango
M. McDonald Africa
A. Burton Caprice in D
J Hucknall Primo Itinere
J. Barnes Variations on a Korean Folk Song
F. Mendelssohn Nocturne from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
A. Dvorak Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”, 1st movement
H. Alfvén The Prodigal Son, Finale
17 March 2018, Queen Elizabeth School Kirkby Lonsdale
Youth Orchestra paints a Picture
The Westmorland Youth Orchestra’s spring concert – “Linking Music and Art” – fizzed with innovation and inventiveness on March 17 as new Musical Director Fredrik Holm’s revolution rolled on.
Images to illustrate the music were projected onto a large screen behind the 50 players, who wore bright-coloured tops; musicians stepped up to introduce each piece in their own words, while two of them took turns with the conductor’s baton.
The programme ranged effortlessly over almost four centuries, from 17th century France to Japanese computer game music, via British rock and American Jazz-inspired Gershwin.
One of the highlights was Holm’s own Premiere Rhapsody accompanied by a rolling projection of art from Cartmel, Milnthorpe and Moorside primary schools; pupils had listened to the work and painted what it suggested to them – stars, pollarded trees or just abstract shapes.
Coldplay’s Viva la Vida was accompanied by Frida Kahlo’s eponymous painting and sung confidently by percussionist Zamira Young-Andrade.
The 170-strong sellout audience, who braved a late winter blizzard to reach Kirkby Lonsdale’s Queen Elizabeth School, also loved Laura Braithwaite’s assured performance of a movement of a Mozart flute concerto.
Holm’s first concert last year was in the form of a quiz; his next, on June 30, will be inspired by folk music from around the world. Whatever else it is, it certainly won’t be dull.
Charpentier – Te Deum
Saint-Saëns – Danse Macabre
F. Holm – Premiere Rhapsody
Mozart – Flute Concerto in D Major
Coldplay – Viva la Vida
Gershwin – An American in Paris
Koji Kondo & Toru Minegishi – The Wind Waker Symphonic Movement
Mussorgsky – Movements from Pictures at and Exhibition
25 November 2017, The Lakes School, Windermere
“The winner will receive a bag of my freshly baked Swedish cinnamon rolls,” the Westmorland Youth Orchestra’s innovative new musical director, Fredrik Holm, announced at the start of Classical Quiz Night concert. In this concert-with-a-difference, audience members were invited to guess the repertoire for the evening, with clues and anecdotes from the conductor.
A thunderous crash from the percussion heralded Copland’s majestic brass Fanfare for the Common Man, followed by the celebrated dance from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet.
Four violin soloists played a movement each of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons: an assured Winter from 10-year-old Martin Greaves, a passionate Summer from Maciet Rzepczyk, a well-polished Spring from Paddy Davies, and new leader Alistair Burton performed a sensitive and technically-proficient Autumn.
The WYO’s quality was on display with effortless tempo changes in Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No 5, beautiful phrasing in Bizet’s Prelude from L’Arlesienne Suite (with a heartfelt saxophone solo), and marked articulation in the Hornpipe from Handel’s Water Music.
Despite it being notoriously difficult to play such well-known pieces, soloist Ellie Moore performed the second movement from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with tenderness, and the orchestra did the first movement of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony justice.
Fredrik stood aside to let two young players conduct the orchestra, whilst he led the 250-strong audience in a rousing chorus of Bizet’s Toreador song.
Strauss’ Radetsky March brought the curtain down on a performance that showed that despite the departure of Roland Fudge in the summer, the Westmorland Youth Orchestra is still in excellent hands.
Copland Fanfare for the Common Man
Prokofiev Montagues and Capulets, Romeo and Juliet
Vivaldi Four Seasons (Soloists – Martin Greaves, Maciet Rzepczyk, Paddy Davies, Alistair Burton)
Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G minor
Verdi Triumph March
Handel Alla Hornpipe – Suite No. 2 in D major, Water Music
Mozart 2nd movement, Clarinet Concerto (Soloist – Ellie Moore)
Beethoven 1st movement, Symphony No. 5
Bizet Torreador, Carmen
J Strauss Radetzky March
1 April 2017, Coronation Hall, Ulverston
Youth Orchestra Bring Nordic Flavour to Ulverston
We were promised a royal welcome to Ulverston’s magnificent Coronation Hall and the Westmorland Youth Orchestra did not disappoint on April 1. Their Nordic-flavoured programme combined the energetic ensemble we have come to expect under Roland Fudge’s baton with some strong solo performances.
WYO started with Grieg’s Homage March to the medieval king Sigurd the Crusader, a noble piece with gently blended strings punctuated by well-articulated brass. This purposeful approach was evident later in two movements from SIbelius’ Karelia suite, in his Valse Triste and in Finlandia.
In between, Abigail Howie showed considerable technical prowess in the first movement of Haydn’s Trumpet concerto. And Alistair Burton showed in Norwegian Johan Svendsen’s Romance why his solo violin made him worthy winner of the Jim Noble Award at the 2017 Mary Wakefield Festival.
WYO loves the unusual, and having two tuba players in Jack Mayer and Rosie Toms, treated us to Old Man River. “It was nice to have a tune and be heard!,” said Rosie.
Strength in depth was also illustrated by the lyrical counterpoint between clarinet and flute in Delius’ Walk to the Paradise Garden, and Eddy Davies’ saxophone solo in the Karelia Suite.
Orchestra members in Jazz from Scratch gave us some entertaining Be-Bop, Hip Hop and Boogie for Welcome Music.
Grieg Homage March from Sigurd Jorsafar (1872)
Haydn Trumpet Concerto 1st Mvt. (1796) (Soloist – Abigail Howie)
Kern & Hammerstein Old Man River (1927) (featuring tubas Jack Mayer and Rosie Toms)
Delius Walk to The Paradise Garden
Svendsen Romance (1881) (Violin Solo – Alistair Burton)
Sibelius Kareila Suite, Mvts 2 and 3
Sibelius Valse Triste
26 November 2016, Ambleside Parish Church
Youth Orchestra brings box of chocolates to Ambleside
The Westmorland Youth Orchestra served up a sumptuous assortment of treats in its autumn concert on November 26th, in a classy performance of French, Russian and American delights.
More than 200 people packed Ambleside Parish Church to hear conductor Roland Fudge showcase the breadth and depth of his talented team.
“This programme is like a box of chocolates,” he said. “It’s made up of different pieces, but they all go together nicely.”
Nowadays the WYO’s strength includes two tubas, a harp, a saxophone, four violas and no fewer than 21 violins.
The lower instruments got to shine in Saint-Saens’ Elephant, brass and percussion in Bizet’s Farandole. The tricky cross-rhythms of Chabrier’s Espana put the whole 57-strong orchestra to the test, while Barber’s Adagio brought out their delicate side.
Leader Matthew Farren set the tone with a brave and polished movement from Barber’s Violin Concerto and Shostakovich’s waltz brought some saxophone solos from Flo Jones.
A boisterous selection from Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite rounded off a performance which showed the youth orchestra in fine form despite the departure of its most senior cohort in the summer.
The audience were played to their seats by Welcome Music from the Hawkshead Wind Band for the concert, which was hosted by Ambleside and Kirkstone Rotary Club.
Praise from Simon Yeo, Head of Cumbria Music Hub
“I just wanted to congratulate everyone on such a splendid concert. It’s clear to see that the young musicians enjoy performing in such a collaborative way.
Please pass on my congratulations to the young people, tutors, Roland and of course all the volunteers involved in supporting and running this”
Barber Violin Concerto, 1st Mvt. (solo violin Matthew Farren)
Shostakovich Waltz No. 2 for Jazz Suite
Bizet Farandole (from L’Arlesienne)
Saint-Saens The Elephant (from Carnival of the Animals)
Saint-Saens Bachanale (from Samson and Delilah)
Borodin In the Steppes of Central Asia
Stravinsky Firebird Suite (Danse Infernale, Berceuse, Finale)
2 July 2016, Kendal Parish Church
I had never been to a Westmorland Youth Orchestra concert before. It was both a revelation and a pleasure. Thank you to all the 60 musicians who took part, and for the hours of rehearsal and practice which precede such a fine result. And, thank you to their director Roland Fudge and to theteachers and organisers who provide such a wonderful opportunity for our young musicians.
There was much to enjoy. We had three soloists confidently tackling demanding concerti: Abby Counsell’s violin sung out sweetly; Oliver Heath gave an assured performance on the trumpet, and Frances Lovell on the oboe nicely captured the pastoral mood of Vaughan Williams. The orchestra supported ably throughout and on the whole achieved a good balance with the soloists. The start of the Trumpet Concerto was particularly memorable. Greig’s Peer Gynt Suite and Rossini’s ThievingMagpie Overture really tested the orchestra but they rose to the challenge well. There was some excellent playing, particularly in the Greig: delightful woodwind solos throughout; lovely muted strings in the Death of Ase, and a splendidly noisy Hall of the Mountain King!
This concert was the ‘swansong’ of David Boxford, retiring after more than 20 years in charge of the WYO. Saturday night’s performance was surely a fitting tribute to the hours of work he has put in. He was presented with an engraved decanter to mark the occasion. The annual Probus award for an outstanding contribution to WYO went to the talented Keir McGregor, leader of the cello section and one of eight senior players leaving the orchestra.
J. B. Accolay (Belgian) Violin Concerto in A Minor (1868) (soloist Abby Counsell)
A. Arutunian (Armenian) Trumpet concerto (1950) (soloist Oliver Heath)
R. Vaughan Williams (English) Oboe Concerto 1st mvt (1944) (soloist Frances Lovell)
Edvard Grieg (Norwegian)Peer Gynt Suites (1876)
Giacomo Rossini (Italian) Overture to The Thieving Magpie (1817)
12 March 2016, Westmorland Hall, Kendal Leisure Centre
Both the Westmorland Orchestra and Westmorland Youth Orchestra are enterprising societies and this was fully demonstrated when both orchestras combined to form what is probably the largest orchestra ever to have performed in Kendal’s Westmorland Hall. Around 120 players graced the stage and it was heart-warming to see youngsters in their teens sitting beside players of a much older vintage.
The concert arose out of an invitation from the senior orchestra to stage a joint concert and the commissioning of a new work for the two orchestras from local composer Roland Fudge, the conductor of the Westmorland Youth Orchestra. The result was one of the most exciting musical events (and there have been many) to be staged in Kendal in recent years. After separate performances, the two orchestras joined forces for Roland’s new piece and a selection of John Lanchbery’s ballet music written for the Beatrix Potter film of 1972.
There were many high points in this concert, one of which was the première of Roland’s new work, The Long Pursuit. Roland explained that the inspiration for this piece came from his preoccupation with a poem about a chase. The idea of predator and prey was transformed musically into antiphonal interchanges between the two orchestras and a reconciliation allowing the two groups to end together harmoniously. The work was imaginative and cleverly scored, setting players in both orchestras some rhythmic challenges but, at the same time, recognising that less experienced players have certain technical limitations. It is a work which should be taken up by other amateur societies; there are very few works of this kind which allow young and not so young players to work side by side.
The performance of the Beatrix Potter ballet music was a visual spectacle, as well as an exciting auditory experience and a fine ending to a most enterprising musical venture; a model of integration and collaboration across the age divide.
Grieg Anitra’s Dance from Peer Gynt
Khachaturian Sabre Dance, Embroidery of the Carpets
Gershwin Walking the Dog (solo flute – Lizzie Briggs)
Tchaikovsky Swan Lake Ballet Suite
Roland Fudge The Long Pursuit (Première)
Khachaturian Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia
Lanchbery Beatrix Potter Selection