• Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra
  • February 13, 2018

Why this family friendly concert in Huddersfield had it all

Bacon and eggs and fish ‘n’ chips! Tasty, but not on offer to eat at Sunday’s family friendly orchestral concert, writes Suzanne Smelt.

No, instead the numerous children present with their families were invited to tap out the rhythm of these words with chopsticks, provided on entry, as accompaniment to a stunning performance of Mars by Holst

A great idea to involve the young people in live music-making and one of many on offer throughout a wonderful afternoon’s entertainment compèred by Thom Meredith.

Talk about multi-tasking! He was either explaining about the instruments or teaching us rhythms or even singing. His almost spontaneous performance of The Toreador’s Song brought the house down, helped by two audience members – parent as ‘bull’ (in cow costume!) and child as ‘toredor’- who chased each other around the hall.

We did the actions during a specially arranged version of YMCA. Meanwhile, Rob and Thom headed a ‘dance off’ with the youngsters. Thom’s team had more participants, Rob’s lot showed quality not quantity and finally the Mayor Clr Christine Iredale declared it to be an ‘honourable draw.’

For well over an hour everyone was engaged in some way with the live music, performed to an excellent standard by this fabulous orchestra under the leadership of up and coming conductor Robert Guy.

As adults we sat nodding appreciatively as we recognised well-known pieces such as Morning by Grieg and Jupiter by Holst. We had a foretaste of Stravinsky’s revolutionary Firebird Suite, to be performed on April 28 by The Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra, in the shape of a fire-cracking Infernal Dance. Notably, Huddersfield Choral Society will be singing Belshazzar’s Feast at this concert too.

And the children were captivated by the rhythmic drive and power that dominated much of the music. A superlative percussion section. And did I notice several new members in the violins? Encouraging to see new faces.

This concert was almost a sell-out. Unheard of for amateur orchestras these days I believe. So what’s the secret? A Sunday afternoon? A crowd-pleasing repertoire?

Well, in this case it was certainly the winning combination of Thom Meredith and Robert Guy, with The Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra, that made the event the success that it was. I’ll book my tickets for next year now!

Original Source

Photography by Mustard Seed Media