Sunday, 9 October 2016

orchestra+ Inaugural Concert St Sidwell's CoE Primary School Sunday 9 October 2016

orchestra+ co-ordinators
Anna Davis
, Tim Pithers & Ellen Stratton

Leader: Jenny Rogers

Gemma Edney
Sunday 9th October has been marked in the diary for some time now. For several months EMG Symphony Orchestra violinists Anna Davis & Ellen Stratton have been seeking out orchestral players to join a new and exciting musical venture. 'orchestra+' is the first LGBT+ orchestra in the South West, and only the third to be set up in the United Kingdom.

Tim Pithers, conductor of the Exeter University Symphony Orchestra, has been involved from the outset - and has become the orchestra's first Musical Director. Two former members of EUSO, now graduates, returned for the inaugural concert - Leader Jenny Rogers and Clarinettist Gemma Edney.

Despite not yet being fully up to strength (no French horns, tuba or oboes yet) the sound is already impressive, and Sunday's audience were royally entertained with a combination of classical and popular music perfectly suited to a sunny autumn afternoon.

Conductor Tim Pithers
"L'Arlesienne" by Georges Bizet
A lively programme opened with two movements from "L'Arlesienne" by Georges Bizet. The familiar theme of the overture introduced us all to Jenny's methodical leadership, the strings performing perfectly. The subdued sound of the wind section followed, deliciously enhanced by the Gemma's saxophone - a rare inclusion in a classical work. In The March of the Kings there was a chance for the audience to experience the full force of three mighty trombones and Tony Hindley's trumpet section - plus the triumphant tympani playing of Charlie Hindley.

A newcomer to the percussion section
Nigel Cheffers-Heard
Frédéri's Theme (final act) for strings only was a stunning contrast. A seductively sweet sound, and an opportunity to concentrate on the sounds of the individual instruments.

A selection from the Slavonic Dance Suite by Antonín Dvořák saw the debut of a new percussionist. EMG photographer Nigel Cheffers-Heard joined Charlie Hindley, playing triangle alongside his kettle drums and glockenspiel.

Special thanks to percussionist Michelle Hiley who loaned her tympani to the orchestra for the weekend. NB Michelle herself is in concert with Emma Welton's 'Lavolta' ensemble at Queen's Hall in Taunton this Friday evening (14 October). (Full details below.)

Triangle: Nigel Cheffers-Heard
Trumpet: Tony Hindley
From classical and folk themes the programme progressed to popular classics. Between the Bizet and Dvořák, Tim had cheekily interjected John Williams' theme to the 1982 movie "E.T. The Extraterrestrial" which most people instantly recognised - although one wag in the audience shouted out "Star Wars!" when it was finished.

To close the concert we had another film classic, always popular with orchestras and audiences alike. The theme to "Pirates of the Caribbean - At the World's End" by Klaus Badelt was a fabulously rousing finale to a very successful afternoon's entertainment - and featured ace percussionist Nigel Cheffers-Heard once again, playing glockenspiel and tambourine.

Many thanks to the managers of St Sidwell's Church of England Primary School for providing the use of their gymnasium for a weekend of rehearsals and this afternoon's concert.

Leader Jenny Rogers:
an appeal on behalf of 'Stonewall'
A capacity audience attended, some even having to stand, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the music. Admission was free of charge, but everyone contributed generally to the retiring collection, in support of the continued work of the orchestra, and "Stonewall - Acceptance without Exception" a charity devoted to LGBT rights, particularly defending individuals and groups against homophobic bullying.

Many, many thanks to Tim, Anna and Ellen for their tireless work which culminated in this splendid afternoon recital.

There are already plans to continue the work with similar weekend rehearsals and concerts at other venues in the South West. Meanwhile, Tony Hindley will conduct the EMG Symphony Orchestra at Exeter Cathedral on Saturday 12 November (details below) - before handing over the EMG baton to their new conductor Leo Geyer.


Jenny Rogers, Anna Davis,
Ellen Stratton, Simon Gosling
Violas & 'Cellos
Clarinets - Gemma Edney

Bass Trombone
Snare Drum - Charlie Hindley

Tambourine - Nigel Cheffers-Heard

Applause for orchestra+ and leader Jenny Rogers
Leader Jenny Rogers
shows the orchestra's appreciation for
Conductor Tim Pithers
I'll drink to that!

Still to come:

The Queen's Hall
Queen's College Taunton
Friday 14 October 7.30pm
Soprano: Sarah Owen
Narrator: Kate Westbrook
Violin: Emma Welton
Viola: Andrew Gillett
'Cello: Jane Pirie
Harp: Sally Jenkins
Flute: Susie Hodder Williams
Saxophone: Chris Caldwell
Clarinet: Victoria Loram
Trumpet: Brian Moore

Celeste: Chris Caldwell
Guitar: George Robinson*
 Sam Felton

    James Wycherley  Michelle Hiley
Luciano Berio: "Folk Songs"
William Walton: "Façade II"
(the poetry of Edith Sitwell)
plus music by
Judith Weir, *Kurt Weill
Franco Donatoni &
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Sarah Owen
Tickets: £15 (OAP £12.50 student £10)
Box Office: 01823 340880
Lavolta Facebook Page
Lavolta Website
Friday 21 October Pound Arts Centre Corsham
Friday 13 January Calstock Arts Centre
Saturday 21 January St Endellion
Sunday 22 January Dorchester Art Centre
Saturday 25 February Lyme Regis

EMG Symphony Orchestra
Exeter Cathedral
Saturday 12 November 7.30pm
Conductor: Tony Hindley
Leader: Clare Smith
Jean Sibelius: Karelia Suite
Carl Nielsen: Helios Overture
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No 1
Tickets: Front Nave £16
Mid Nave £13 (student/U16 £5)
Rear Nave £11 (student/U16 £5) 
Front Side £11 (student/U16 FREE)
Rear Side £9 (student/U16 £5)
Exeter TIC: 01392 665885
Online BookingTicketSource

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