In 2008, ESO presented Fantasia at Gloucester Cathedral. This was an education project, the original aim of which was, in Michael Bochmann’s words, to “fill Gloucester Cathedral with kids” in a celebration of the work of Vaughan Williams. It certainly achieved that – 140 members of the various music centres in the county played alongside ESO in a performance of the composer’s Concerto Grosso, and 200 children from local primary schools sang Stephen Roberts Canticum Novum, written especially for the occasion. The top young musicians from the Gloucester Academy of Music played alongside ESO during the Fantastia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis and accompanied Michael Bochmann in a performance of The Lark Ascending.
It was a fabulous occasion and has set the tone for much of the educational work that ESO has pioneered since. We now actively look for opportunities to include young people in our standard concert programme; often it is just for one piece in the programme. We rarely advertise this in advance, but the audience has yet to complain of feeling cheated; far from it. We did have one disappointed customer who was upset at the involvement of children in Noyes Fludde…
Here are some of the highlights since Fantasia:
Malvern – a performance of the Tallis Fantasia by members of the Worcestershire Youth String Orchestra alongside the English String Orchestra during ESO’s concert of English music for string orchestra on Mrch 4th;. A truly inspiring occasion
Gloucester ad Worcester – Noyes Fludde, involving the beginners and intermediate orchestra course and seven local primary schools playing the animals
Coventry – local youth orchestra accompanies ESO and Michael Bochmann in Bruch violin concerto
Worcester – intermediate orchestra joins The Film Orchestra for its debut concert
Worcester – Worcestershire Youth Music Strings play Warlock Capriol Suite with the English String Orchestra
Elgar Festival – WYM Strings perform Elgar Serenade in ESO concert at the Cathedral
Malvern – ESO beginners play with ESO at the Priory
Bromsgrove – ESO are joined by Penelope’s Dance Studio for the Christmas Concert
Hereford – the Hereford Fantasia, featuring students from Hereford 6th Form College, local primary schools and county music centres
Bromsgrove – ESO joined by the Intermediate orchestra course for The Nutcracker
Shrewsbury – ESO joined by Shropshire Youth Orchestra during concert at Theatre Severn
Gloucester – ESO joined by GAM Prima Corde for performance of Holst St Paul’s Suite
There are many more, less formal examples. The picture shows some of our intermediate orchestra playing during a presentation by Michael Bochmann of his “History of the Violin” at Hallow Church in 2011.
We want to get to a position that will give every child aged 8-18 in our area (starting with Worcestershire) the opportunity to take part in or attend a live concert, or rehearsal at least.