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.

Heather Lowthian

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

Folk Evening

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.

Ian Jones

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.

Oliver Wates

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.

Laura Howorth

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.

Sarah Davies

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
Sibelius Finlandia

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.

Oliver Wates

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
Barber Adagio
Bizet Farandole (from L’Arlesienne)
Saint-Saens The Elephant (from Carnival of the Animals)
Saint-Saens Bachanale (from Samson and Delilah)
Chabrier Espana
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.

Oliver Wates

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.

Clive Walkley

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

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