Dancing into Penrith
The Westmorland Youth Orchestra conquered new territory for its autumn concert, winning over a large audience at the Ullswater Community College in Penrith with some exhilarating solos and a lot of dance music. Our ever reliable Leader Alistair Burton and trumpeter Solomon Russell-Cohen shone in the Sibelius and Pakhmutova concertos respectively, clarinettists Emma Ward and Jenny Hucknall took turns with the baton and Fredrik Holm injected his usual energy into the whole team. There was a lot of interest from potential members from the school, as well as praise from the audience. “I must have spoken to at least 30 people, and every one was full of praise,” said one steward. “Absolutely well done,” wrote Simon Yeo, head of the Cumbria County Music Service. “It was a challenging programme which the young people tackled with enthusiasm; even when things were going a bit awry they were confident enough to follow Fredrik to pull it back together.”
And it was indeed a tremendously tough programme with dance music ranging from classical and modern ballet, through Scottish and Latin American dance music and the Parisian 19th century music hall to ABBA. There was plenty of rhythm and plenty of pace, especially after the interval. Arturo Marquez’ ever more popular Danzon No. 2 featured solos for clarinet, trumpet, flute, piccolo, piano and violin. These days no WYO concert is without its innovation and this time it was programme notes on the pieces written by Fredrik, the soloists and player-conductors, who also spoke to introduce each piece to the audience.
The audience were put in the mood with Welcome Music on piano and harp performed by Charlotte Salisbury snf others. The mulled wine, mince pies and cakes served at the school’s Fred’s Bar before the concert also helped, as well as raising £90 for the Community College’s music department.