More than 200 youngsters from Sunderland schools to take part in Big Orchestra Day

Emma Mapplebeck who is leading some of the workshops
Emma Mapplebeck who is leading some of the workshops
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A series of orchestral workshops are hitting the right note to engage more youngsters in Sunderland with music.

Taking place in February and March across schools in the city, the workshops are being led by Sunderland Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and Sunderland Youth and Community Orchestra.

The workshops are a feature of SSO’s Coming of Age project, which celebrates the orchestra’s 18th year and is supported by Arts Council England and Sunderland Music Hub and will lead up to a Big Orchestra Day at Southwick Primary School on the morning of Saturday, March 9.

Emma Mapplebeck, who will lead the orchestral workshops at St Anthony’s Academy, Southmoor Academy, and JF Kennedy Primary School, said: “It’s all about playing in a big orchestra. We are expecting over 100 young musicians at each workshop from 12 schools altogether, and over 200 young musicians for the Big Orchestra Day itself.”

Big Orchestra Day will be conducted by Sunderland Symphony Orchestra musical director David Milner, with the orchestra playing music that tells stories from Grieg’s In The Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt and Mussorgsky’s Night On The Bare Mountain.

Emma, who is also musical director of the Sunderland Youth and Community Orchestra, and plays cello for the Sunderland Symphony Orchestra, added: “The Big Orchestra Day will be the first time we’ve worked with so many schools together.”

Sunderland Music Hub, which is funded by the Department for Education and Arts Council, and managed by Together for Children, works with a range of partners to deliver a programme of music education opportunities for children and young people across Wearside.

Rebecca Pedlow, Sunderland Music Hub manager at Together for Children, said: “We’re very pleased to be working with the two orchestras to improve the musical skills of children and young people.

“Opportunities like this spark the interest of young people to play instruments in an orchestra.”

•SSO is also rehearsing for its Spring into Jazz concert at West Park Church, Stockton Road, on Saturday, March 23.

•For more information on how to get involved with Sunderland Symphony Orchestra, orchestral workshops, the Big Orchestra Day and future events and concerts, visit