Schools from across Sunderland make music for Big Orchestra Day

Pupils from 13 schools across the city added another string to their bow when they took part in a Big Orchestra Day.

By Katy Wheeler
Wednesday, 20 March, 2019, 14:08
Alice Daly was so inspired by the event that she is now asking to attend Sunderland Youth & Community Orchestra.

Twenty-three schools took part in orchestral workshops over a fortnight, which culminated in the Big Orchestra Day at Southwick School.

The event is part of Sunderland Symphony Orchestra’s Coming of Age project, funded by Arts Council England and Sunderland Music Hub, which aims to increase engagement within the community through partnerships and music education outreach.

Around 270 pupils aged eight to 19 received expert tuition in small instrumental section groups, and the chance to perform as an orchestra, most for the first time, playing works by Edvard Grieg and Modest Mussorgsky.

Big Orchestra Day was the finale of the workshops and saw pupils joined by members of Sunderland Symphony Orchestra (SSO), Sunderland Youth and Community Orchestra (SYCO) and Houghton Area Youth Brass Band.

The rousing performance before an audience of parents and families included Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King and Mussorgsky’s A Night on the Bare Mountain.

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Joy Lowther, SSO secretary, said: “It’s all about playing in a big orchestra and we want to inspire more young people to progress into orchestral music and to explore their talents by facilitating creative, fun experiences, and sharing orchestral opportunities in and around Sunderland.”

Emma Mapplebeck, musical director of SYCO and cellist for SSO, who led the workshops, said: “I am delighted with the response from schools to this initiative and a big thank you goes to the schools and their music teachers who took up this opportunity for local young players from pre-Grade 1 right up to Grade 8 so they could experience orchestral playing in a supportive environment.”

Rebecca Pedlow, manager of Sunderland Music Hub, said: “Opportunities like this provide inclusivity and the chance for children to try something they might not ordinarily have had the option to.”

All young attendees were given free tickets to SSO’s next concert, Spring Into Jazz.

•SSO’s next concert, Spring into Jazz is this Saturday at 7.30pm at West Park Church, Stockton Road, Sunderland. Tickets are available online via SSO’s website at http://www.sunderlandso.org.uk – or at the door are £8 general admission, and £5 for under 16s and students.