Sunderland musicians invited to join virtual orchestra to show cross-country solidarity during coronavirus lockdown

Wearside musicians have been invited by Sunderland’s German twin city of Essen to join a virtual international orchestra in a five-nation effort to show solidarity during lockdown.
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At 5pm on Saturday, May 9, the orchestra will strike up online to perform Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the great German composer’s Symphony Number 9.

The aim, in addition to having fun, is to demonstrate international togetherness during the coronavirus pandemic, while paying tribute to the world’s efforts to beat it.

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The Sunderland Symphony Orchestra, members of Sunderland Youth and Community Orchestra, school children and musicians from across the city have been invited to take part.

Sunderland and Essen have been twinned since 1949.Sunderland and Essen have been twinned since 1949.
Sunderland and Essen have been twinned since 1949.

They will be joined by the Essen Philharmonic, orchestras, bands, professionals, amateurs and learners from Grenoble in France, Zabrze in Poland and Koriyama in Japan.

Sunderland and Essen were twinned in 1949.

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Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said the oline orchestra was a symbol of unity in the face of the biggest challenges the world has faced since wartime.

Musicians from twin cities Sunderland and Essen are to give a virtual performance of Beethoven's Ode to Joy.Musicians from twin cities Sunderland and Essen are to give a virtual performance of Beethoven's Ode to Joy.
Musicians from twin cities Sunderland and Essen are to give a virtual performance of Beethoven's Ode to Joy.

He said: “Music is a great unifier. As we all battle Covid-19, a disease that knows no boundaries or borders, our international friends and the relationships we share with them mean more than ever.

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“In taking part in this event, we will stand shoulder to shoulder with Essen and countries around the world, sharing music that will bring a smile to the faces of people the world over during this difficult time.

“It’s a fantastic symbol of solidarity and we’re pleased people across the city are taking part.”

Coun Miller added: “Whilst we are not able to cooperate with our partners and friends in Essen at the moment in the ways we normally would, we are delighted to have the opportunity to join together with them in solidarity at this time as we face this global challenge which continues to impact all corners of the world.”

Anyone who wants to take part is invited to play Ode to Joy at 5pm this Saturday, May 9 and post their clip to Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #EuropeansagainstCovid19 and tag @SunderlandUK.

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