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Wednesday, 02 April 2014
The Bolton School Community Music Project brought together pupils from primary schools in the local area for a workshop day with the Northern Chamber Orchestra. The day was arranged in partnership with Bolton Music Service.
Pupils from Hesketh House Junior Girls’ School and Park Road Junior Boys’ School joined primary school children from the local area in the Boys’ Division. They brought their instruments and a lot of enthusiasm along with them for a full day of workshops, directed by the Northern Chamber Orchestra.
They spent the morning in sectional rehearsals, learning to play the individual brass, woodwind and string parts in preparation for the evening. Then in the afternoon the full orchestra came together to fit the separate pieces together. The students were quick to pick up the music and the style needed for each of the five sections of the suite, and their tutors were impressed with the level of ability on show.
After the day of rehearsal came the evening concert, where the pupils’ hard work was showcased in grand fashion in the Boys’ Division Great Hall. The Workshop Orchestra was conducted by Mr Phil Goodwin, and played the Dream Pictures Suite
Dream Pictures was written especially for the occasion by Michael Pain. The suite begins with a gentle ‘Lullaby’ scored for strings and woodwind only, and reminiscent of an old nursery rhyme. ‘Dragons!’ ushered in a very different tone, with a loud fanfare at the start, and this dramatic piece was filled with fear and violence. The dragons’ final roar was played by every member of the orchestra following the score’s instructions: “play any note as loudly as possible until the conductor finishes the piece”! The dragons were followed by ‘Toy Soldiers’ – a march for woodwind, brass and percussion. The children had a lot of fun while the imaginary soldiers paraded up and down. The trance-like mood of ‘Sweet Dreams’ conjures up musical images of travel through a varied landscape of picturesque settings. Finally, ‘Toytown March’ concluded the suite in a jolly fashion, with echoes of 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' recurring yet again!
The inventive score was brought to life by the primary school pupils, who thoroughly enjoyed getting to grips with the complexities of the music. They were a delight to listen to, and the packed hall thoroughly enjoyed the performance.
The primary school pupils were supported on the evening by a number of Senior School musicians. The Boys’ Division Brass Group played two very familiar tunes: ‘Somewhere In My Memory’ by John Williams, from Home Alone, and ABBA’s catchy hit ‘Super Trouper’. The Boys’ Division Trumpet Ensemble then changed the mood, performing another classic: ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square’ by Manning Sherman, made famous by Nat King Cole. Both groups were directed by Mrs Hughes-Williams.
The Girls’ Division String Quartet then took to the stage to perform the waltz ‘Ashokan Farewell’ by Jay Ungar. They also played ‘The Owl and The Cuckoo’ from Birds of a Feather Suite by Anita Hewitt-Jones. Miss Simpson then directed the Girls’ Division Wind Quartet in playing Tchaikovsky’s ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’.
The Bolton School Joint Senior Orchestra, directed by Miss Deady, finished the evening’s entertainment with a further two pieces. They played ‘Intermezzo’ and ‘Les Toreadors’ from Carmen Suite No.1 by Georges Bizet. The evening closed with ‘Themes from 007’, arranged by Calvin Custer: a spectacular medley of familiar Bond tunes that moves seamlessly from the iconic ‘James Bond Theme’ (Monty Norman) to ‘For Your Eyes Only’ (Bill Conti), ‘Live and Let Die’(George Martin), and ‘Goldfinger’ (John Barry).
Overall it was a brilliant evening of entertainment, from the opening by the Workshop Orchestra to the close by the Joint Senior Orchestra, and the audience thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Afterwards, one of the girls from Hesketh House, commenting on the day said:"Many different schools joined us and we had a brilliant time. We did a concert that night. It was an amazing experience!"
You can listen to the performance at the school's Soundcloud page: NCO Evening Concert.
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