A fam­ily-friendly con­cert which had it all

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

ACON and eggs and fish ‘n’ chips! Tasty, but not on of­fer to eat at Sun­day’s fam­i­lyfriendly orches­tral con­cert.

No, in­stead the nu­mer­ous chil­dren present with their fam­i­lies were in­vited to tap out the rhythm of these words with chop­sticks, pro­vided on en­try, as ac­com­pa­ni­ment to a stun­ning per­for­mance of Mars by Holst.

A great idea to in­volve the young peo­ple in live mu­sic­mak­ing and one of many on of­fer through­out a won­der­ful af­ter­noon’s en­ter­tain­ment com­pèred by Thom Mered­ith.

Talk about multi-task­ing! He was ei­ther ex­plain­ing about the in­stru­ments or teach­ing us rhythms or even singing.

His al­most spon­ta­neous per­for­mance of The Tore­ador’s Song brought the house down, helped by two au­di­ence mem­bers – par­ent as ‘bull’ (in cow cos­tume!) and child as ‘tore­ador’ – who chased each other around the hall.

We did the ac­tions dur­ing a Event: Venue: Re­view by: Rat­ing: spe­cially-ar­ranged ver­sion of YMCA. Mean­while, con­duc­tor Robert Guy and Thom headed a ‘dance off’ with the young­sters.

Thom’s team had more par­tic­i­pants, Rob’s lot showed qual­ity not quan­tity and fi­nally the Mayor Clr Chris­tine Iredale de­clared it to be an ‘honourable draw.’

For well over an hour ev­ery­one was en­gaged in some way with the live mu­sic, per­formed to an ex­cel­lent stan­dard by this fab­u­lous orches­tra un­der the lead­er­ship of up-and-com­ing con­duc­tor Rob.

As adults, we sat nod­ding ap­pre­cia­tively as we recog­nised well-known pieces such as Morn­ing by Grieg and Jupiter by Holst. We had a fore­taste of Stravin­sky’s rev­o­lu­tion­ary Fire­bird Suite, to be per­formed on April 28 by The Hud­der­s­field Phil­har­monic Orches­tra, in the shape of a fire-cracking In­fer­nal Dance. No­tably, Hud­der­s­field Cho­ral So­ci­ety will be singing Bels­haz­zar’s Feast at this con­cert too.

And the chil­dren were cap­ti­vated by the rhyth­mic drive and power that dom­i­nated much of the mu­sic. A su­perla­tive per­cus­sion sec­tion. And did I no­tice sev­eral new mem­bers in the vi­o­lins? En­cour­ag­ing to see new faces.

This con­cert was al­most a sell-out. Un­heard of for am­a­teur or­ches­tras these days I be­lieve. So what’s the se­cret? A Sun­day af­ter­noon? A crowd-pleas­ing reper­toire?

Well, in this case it was cer­tainly the win­ning com­bi­na­tion of Thom Mered­ith and Robert Guy, with The Hud­der­s­field Phil­har­monic Orches­tra, that made the event the suc­cess that it was. I’ll book my tick­ets for next year now! Pic­tured at the Hud­der­s­field Phil­har­monic Orches­tra’s fam­ily friendly con­cert are (from left) Mayor’s Con­sort Robert Iredale, orches­tra pres­i­dent Ruth Holmes and com­pere Thom Mered­ith

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