3 November 2012: 140 young musicians playing Pirates in The Hague
One of my Year 11 students plays in a local youth orchestra and she is going through the hoops to arrange for my school to host a joint concert of her youth orchestra and a visiting school orchestra from Germany. Yes I would very much like to spend my Saturday evening at school and is there anything I can do to help, say I when invited to attend......
In the end the concert did take place, and it was a joy to hear the local young musicians from the Vereniging Hofstads Jeugd Orkest of The Hague and their guests from the Orchester der Friedrich-von Bodelschwingh -Schulen Bethel. The host group is part of a musical association with a history which dates back to 1923 and they played a well rehearsed set of light music with great enthusiasm. They are a boisterous group who enjoy their music with an informal approach. The German visitors were more formal in their attitude and they played a selection of orchestra pieces and chamber music to feature their woodwind and string sections.
It was clear that this is a mature group in every sense, and I was able to talk to the school´s Headteacher who confirmed that the orchestra was founded over 20 years ago. The teacher responsible for the orchestra’s growth is still at the school and unfortunately was not able to take part in this trip. I was impressed by the way a number of students played their solo parts with skill and musicality and by the 14 year old student who shared the duties of conductor.
It was a very enjoyable concert and the highlight was a performance by both groups, some 140 players, of an excellent arrangement of Zimmer´s music for Pirates of the Caribbean. The prodigious percussion section included rattling chains to set the tone, together with a boy singer intoning a pirate song. We all shared a sense of sheer exhilaration of seeing and hearing 140 performers playing together: young musicians from two countries inspired to raise their game by a well written and well arranged piece which is part of their shared experience.
The concert organizers have posted a a video on youtube of the combined orchestras.
Thank you to our students for your all your efforts to make this event happen, and thanks to the teachers and players of both orchestras for the music.