Review: Rochdale Youth Orchestra’s ‘Christmas Spectacular’
Date published: 18 December 2011
Rochdale Youth Orchestra’s ‘Christmas Spectacular’ concert at the Gracie Fields Theatre on Saturday 10 December was held in front of one of their largest ever audiences. The Mayor and Mayoress attended and the MC was Councillor James Gartside who ensured that all ran smoothly.
In addition to festive music from the Orchestra with musical director Sue Verity and RYO Jazz ensemble directed by Chris Jolly, Norden Community Primary School choir delighted the audience with their performance of Christmas songs.
Ben Whitehead, tuba player with RYO, is also a member of Norden school choir and he sang a moving rendition of ‘O Holy Night’ which brought in huge applause.
Singers and dancers from Norden School joined the Orchestra in a wonderful performance of ‘Walking in the Air’ from ‘The Snowman’. Thanks must go to their musical director Kate Mellors with music and dance co-ordinators Amy Hamilton-Lane and Fiona White for all their hard work.
Emily Hobhouse, talented violinist with RYO, celebrated her 15th birthday that evening and sacrificed partying to be with the Orchestra and also to perform Debussy’s Claire de Lune on the piano. This is a very challenging piece which Emily took in her stride and demonstrated what a competent pianist she is too.
Mrs Maureen Cooper MBE presented a cheque of £1,000 to Sue for Rochdale Youth Orchestra on behalf of Rochdale Childer. Rochdale Youth Orchestra had performed along with Rochdale Music Service in Rochdale Town Hall at a special anniversary concert in September in memory of Sir Cyril Smith who was a staunch supporter of youth music in Rochdale. Sir Cyril was instrumental in forming Rochdale Youth Orchestra 50 years ago and it was Childer’s wish that the donations received following his death should be used to further promote music for young people in the town.
The concert culminated in all children filling the stage to perform a selection of Christmas music including carols for the audience to participate in and a rousing rendition of ‘So Here it is Merry Christmas’ by Slade.
Future concerts this season are on Saturday 24 March 2012 at Riverside, Whitworth Civic Centre and on Saturday 7 July 2012 at Rochdale Town Hall.
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