Urban Orchestra in Dunstable

The following information is adapted from the Orchestras Live website:

Urban Orchestra is a large community musical project involving South Bedfordshire District Council, Orchestras Live and Bedfordshire Youth and Music Services, working together with the Orchestra of the Swan to deliver high quality community work in towns and villages in South Bedfordshire.

Although the programme of events is diverse, ranging from a full classical concert at the new Grove Theatre, Dunstable to workshops in primary schools, a major feature of the activity is the evolution of the Urban Orchestra. This was launched on 2 November 2008 at the Grove Theatre in a concert by Orchestra of the Swan.

The Urban Orchestra is made up of groups of young people who work together with the professional musicians to compose a piece of original music, culminating in them performing it alongside the Orchestra of the Swan at the Grove Theatre on 18th April 2009. These groups will include Gifted and Talented young musicians, students with Special Needs and local young people who are sometimes hard to reach or difficult to engage.

It is an exciting way for local young people to explore classical music, and a Youth Steering Group has been working hard to organise the project. You can follow their progress on www.myspace.com/urbanorchestra08

A parallel strand of activity, Rural Rhythms, will see small ensembles from Orchestra of the Swan perform in village venues across the district. Over 2,000 young people and rural residents will be involved in the project over the next six months.

Orchestras Live forged the Orchestra of the Swan residency in South Bedfordshire in 2007, and has supported its development throughout the detailed planning, delivery and evaluation process, as well as building a funding partnership and leading on the fundraising strategy.

On Saturday 21st March between 10am – 2pm at the Grove Theatre Dunstable, the Urban Orchestra have an Open House.

There is an invite to drop in and see local young people from the Urban Orchestra project rehearsing their music with The Orchestra of the Swan. Chat to the orchestra’s players, Artistic Director, and the young people taking part. Have a go at drumming and music workshops with Beds Music Service.
Two groups from the Dunstable Music Centre have been invited to play during the event. We have a slot between 1pm-1:15pm.

The two groups are handchimes and recorder consort, the later both Jo and I are involved in. We have been practising Scarbourgh Fair and When I’m Sixty Four for the music school concert the following weekend and will play these pieces at the Grove next weekend. I’m still getting the grips with the bass recorder and remembering the treble/bass fingering, but I’m sure it will all be fine on the day.

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