Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

TONY COOPER Hippodrome Circus, Great Yarmouth


Hippodrome Circus, Great Yarmouth

Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man heralded in a momentous occasion as

the RPO, under Paul Bailey, was the first professional symphony orchestra to be heard in Yarmouth for 25 years.

This is due to the efforts of

Orchestra Live and SeaChange Arts which - under the direction of Joe Mackintosh - holds the portfolio to generate artistic activity in the borough. Things are certainly looking up under his watch.

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The Hippo was packed (and that was a big surprise to many!) and the audience was responsive to everything they heard particularly the last piece, which featured some of their own.

Eighteen young musicians (some of the borough's most talented) spent a week being coached by members of the orchestra in a programme devised by Tim Steiner, a workshop leader, trainer, presenter and composer who specialises in devised and collaborative performance.

A Latin-flavoured piece, lasting about 15 minutes, it painted a wide canvas of Spanish life, opening with the young charges strategically placed round the auditorium slowly making their way to the stage to take up their position in front of the orchestra. It's an experience they'll never forget!

The work entered with long-drawn out chords from the woodwind, faint sounds from the violins interrupted by syncopated jazzy notes from the trumpets evoking a wide colourful Spanish canvas.

As it evolved, it got much busier, the playing became more urgent and the ending was colourful and blazing. The youngsters - who played extremely well and with conviction - were delighted.

The audience roared their approval. It was a great success all round.

Earlier in the evening we were treated to movements from Beethoven's fifth symphony and Dvorak's ninth symphony with a complete performance of Handel's Water Music.

And to celebrate Black History Month the strings played six Negro spirituals underlining the amazing

acoustics of the building.