I had never been to a Westmorland Youth Orchestra concert before. It was both a revelation and a pleasure. Thank you to all the 60 musicians who took part, and for the hours of rehearsal and practice which precede such a fine result. And, thank you to their director Roland Fudge and to theteachers and organisers who provide such a wonderful opportunity for our young musicians.
There was much to enjoy. We had three soloists confidently tackling demanding concerti: Abby Counsell’s violin sung out sweetly; Oliver Heath gave an assured performance on the trumpet, and Frances Lovell on the oboe nicely captured the pastoral mood of Vaughan Williams. The orchestra supported ably throughout and on the whole achieved a good balance with the soloists. The start of the Trumpet Concerto was particularly memorable. Greig’s Peer Gynt Suite and Rossini’s ThievingMagpie Overture really tested the orchestra but they rose to the challenge well. There was some excellent playing, particularly in the Greig: delightful woodwind solos throughout; lovely muted strings in the Death of Ase, and a splendidly noisy Hall of the Mountain King!
This concert was the ‘swansong’ of David Boxford, retiring after more than 20 years in charge of the WYO. Saturday night’s performance was surely a fitting tribute to the hours of work he has put in. He was presented with an engraved decanter to mark the occasion. The annual Probus award for an outstanding contribution to WYO went to the talented Keir McGregor, leader of the cello section and one of eight senior players leaving the orchestra.
J. B. Accolay (Belgian) Violin Concerto in A Minor (1868) (soloist Abby Counsell)
A. Arutunian (Armenian) Trumpet concerto (1950) (soloist Oliver Heath)
R. Vaughan Williams (English) Oboe Concerto 1st mvt (1944) (soloist Frances Lovell)
Edvard Grieg (Norwegian)Peer Gynt Suites (1876)
Giacomo Rossini (Italian) Overture to The Thieving Magpie (1817)
Kendal Parish Church