Young musicians across the county have overcome some of the setbacks during lockdown by coming together as one to stream a live concert to inspire youngsters to get playing.
The County ensembles, who are brought together by the County Council’s Music Service, have performed a 30-minute concert which was live-streamed on the web to provide primary school children with an introduction to Symphony Orchestra.
The concert was part of a project called Guide to the Symphony Orchestra and the County Youth Orchestra worked on it with North Yorkshire-based music charity NYMAZ and music education specialists Ucan Play.
After the Covid-19 pandemic causing the cancellation of cancellation of their VE Day celebration concert at Harrogate Convention Centre and a residential course with a week of rehearsals that would have culminated in concerts over two evenings, it’s a welcome celebration of the county’s talent – along with hopefully inspiring more.
In the video, orchestra leader Susannah Morgan explains what being part of the orchestra means to her.
“I started playing the violin when I was four years old, because my older sister also played the violin and I wanted to be like her,” she says.
“One of my favourite things about being in the orchestra is that you can lose yourself in the music sometimes. When there is a really intense bit within the piece you can feel that every single person within the orchestra feels the exact same way as you do and you are all breathing and moving in time with each other. You can feel that the audience is clinging to every single note that you play, and it’s really exciting.
“You can make really good friends and I’ve met some of my best friends through orchestras.”
Speaking afterwards about the experience of playing alone and making the video, she says: “It's very weird playing an orchestral part without everyone else around as I am used to communicating with the players around me and making music all together in one space. We are also used to following our conductor, Simon Wright, who keeps us all in time with one another and shapes the piece musically.
“The finished video was fantastic! It was great seeing some friendly faces and hearing about their favourite parts of being in an orchestra. Hearing everyone together again was lovely because when we recorded our individual parts we were just playing along to the percussion part.
“I hope that the video will inspire younger children to pick up an instrument and start playing! Also that they will understand that music is fun and really is for everyone; you don't have to have a musical background or tonnes of money to start playing.
“I think that the Music Service has adapted to these difficult times extremely well. From creating these ensemble videos to having Skype instrumental lessons. Neither of these things are easy and they take hours of planning and putting together.
“Music is about interaction, be it with your teacher, your audience or your ensemble and so lockdown made this very difficult. Despite this, musicians have continued to make music together and do the best we can.”
Anyone inspired by the orchestra’s video to try an instrument can contact the County Music Service, which at the moment is delivering about 1,150 online music lessons every week to children at home.
Ian Bangay, Head of the Instrumental Music Service at North Yorkshire County Council, said: “It was fantastic to be able to organise this video for our orchestra. We would normally have been doing our annual residential and concert this week and to be able to provide an outlet for all these talented musicians has been important for us.
“It doesn’t replace the real thrill of working together in an orchestral setting but I think it captured the essence of what ensemble playing is all about as well as highlighting some of our most inspirational children and young people. Hopefully this time next year we will all meet again and create some memorable music.”
Find out more about the school music service.
The video can be viewed here