Standing ovation for Sunderland Symphony Orchestra's Proms at The Point
There was a standing ovation for Sunderland Symphony Orchestra’s Proms at The Point event in the city centre this month.
A capacity audience rose to applaud a spectacular night of both original and traditional orchestral, ensemble, and choral entertainment at The Point in Sunderland.
As we took to our seats, the atmosphere was set with a full-wall backdrop of black-and-white film, set to Sunderland Symphony Orchestra’s (SSO’s) own soundtrack, showing extracts of the orchestra’s achievements in performance over the last year.
This film demonstrated the creative and technical skills of Matthew Burge, development manager for SSO.
With no trepidation, SSO musical director David Milner launched the large orchestra - assembled for the first time at The Point - into Giuseppe Verdi’s The Force of Destiny Overture, a challengingly powerful piece, played with the imaginative skill and maturity we are learning to admire and respect from SSO players, led by Judith Thompson.
The stirring mood continued with a passionate yet concise performance of Johannes Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5.
Sunderland Symphony Orchestra has been celebrating its 18th birthday through its ‘Coming of Age’ project, funded by Arts Council England and supported by Sunderland Music Hub - and has certainly risen to the challenge over the last year, supporting the creativity of local schools in partnership with Sunderland Youth and Community Orchestra.
Emphasising the important role of the orchestra and its partners, SSO Chairman David Mills announced the presence at The Point of new young orchestral players, and introduced Andreas Poupazis, winner of SSO’s orchestral composition competition, held in partnership with Sunderland University.
David Milner continued the impressive programme with the orchestral première Wearmouth Stories, Andreas Poupazis’ winning entry.
The stirring finale was Sir Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1, with the audience on its feet, swaying to the powerfully smooth strings theme, flag-waving arms outstretched in passionate joy.
The standing ovation continued until David Milner returned to the podium for a final bow of thanks to all, and a fantastic night of orchestral and choral entertainment was complete.
By Mark Greenfield
*The orchestra will be performing traditional Christmas music and carols at Christmas by Candlelight at West Park Church, Sunderland, on December 14 at 4pm.