FROM THE ALBERT HALLS TO THE ALBERT HALL: Stirling Orchestra reaches the Grand Final of
ALL TOGETHER NOW: THE GREAT ORCHESTRA CHALLENGE
Stirling Orchestra has reached the Grand Final of All Together Now: The Great Orchestra Challenge and will swap the Albert Halls, Stirling, for the Royal Albert Hall, London.
In the culmination of the four-part series, which celebrates the breadth and quality of amateur orchestral playing across the UK, Stirling Orchestra will face the North Devon Sinfonia at the Royal Albert Hall, vying for the chance to play at the BBC’s Proms in the Park. The final will be broadcast on Saturday 17 September on BBC Two.
The series has seen the orchestra perform Dvorak at the BBC’s legendary Maida Vale Studios, accompany soprano Jennifer Davis of the Royal Opera House in Puccini’s One Fine Day, and raise the roof of Dunblane Cathedral with Peter Maxwell Davies’s An Orkney Wedding with Sunrise.
Formed in 1983 by a small group of amateur musicians, Stirling Orchestra draws it membership largely from the Stirling area, although several come from much further afield, and embraces a wide range of backgrounds and professions, with retirees and full time parents as well as students from Stirling University. The orchestra performs mainly at Stirling’s historic Albert Halls, putting on three or four concerts a year.
Stirling was the only orchestra from Scotland to be selected for the series – the four other orchestras featured are: North Devon Sinfonia, London Gay Symphony Orchestra, Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra and The People’s Orchestra (based in Birmingham).
The Great Orchestra Challenge is presented by BBC Radio 3 and BBC Proms presenter Katie Derham. The orchestras are mentored by double-bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku, and judging the orchestras is conductor Paul Daniel.
Paul Daniel said: I'll be looking for the orchestra that goes beyond technical excellence, they’ll have to capture the spirit and excitement of British amateur music, they have to really engage us musically and emotionally and connect with their audience. No matter where and how they start out, I want my 'best' orchestra to discover and really develop its potential.
Stephen Broad, conductor of Stirling Orchestra, said: The Great Orchestra Challenge has been huge fun, and I am full of admiration at the sheer hard work that each and every member of the orchestra has put in to make the most of this brilliant opportunity. To hear all that work come alive in one of the world’s most famous concert halls will be unforgettable.
Robin Kelsall, Chair of Orchestra, said: We are thrilled to have made it through to the final two in the Great Orchestra Challenge. Playing at the Royal Albert Hall is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the orchestra and will crown the succession of extraordinary experiences that the Great Orchestra Challenge has given us
Further quotes and information about the presenters can be found here.
The series has visited the orchestras in their home-towns, meeting the players in their homes and in rehearsal, taking part in masterclasses and staging their own concerts. It has followed them on their unique journeys, showcasing their development through exciting masterclasses and imaginative mentoring sessions as they work with Chi-chi and Paul, and has given them unrivalled opportunities to perform at world-class venues including the BBC’s Maida Vale studios, Hallé St Peter’s in Manchester and London’s Royal Albert Hall. Each week’s episode has had a distinct musical theme, from the symphony to opera. The orchestras have presented a performance based on the week’s theme in every episode, and been judged by Paul.
All Together Now: The Great Orchestra Challenge is part of the BBC’s nationwide Get Playing campaign, which is encouraging everyone to play music together - from lapsed players who want to dust off their instruments and brush up their skills, to enthusiastic amateurs who play regularly. Partners of the project are ABRSM, Making Music and Music for All.
For further information about The Great British Amateur Orchestra please contact Madeleine Castell – firstname.lastname@example.org / 0203 614 3888
Formed in 1983 by a small group of amateur musicians, Stirling Orchestra now numbers 65 to 70 players. The membership is drawn largely from the Stirling area, although several come from much further afield, and embraces a wide range of backgrounds and professions, with retirees and full time parents as well as students from Stirling University. Stirling Orchestra performs two or three concerts a year in Stirling’s Albert Halls and presents eclectic repertoire ranging from the ‘classics’ to 20th century, film scores and more. Recent performances include a musical expedition to the South Pole, in which images from Scott’s ill-fated expedition provided the backdrop for Vaughan Williams’s Sinfonia Antartica, and a double matinee for families in which young children danced round the orchestra, while their older siblings filmed the performance and tried their hand at playing the instruments. Stephen Broad has been the orchestra’s conductor for the past 12 years. He is married to Joëlle Broad, who is leader of the orchestra.