7:33pm Wednesday 27th March 2013
The Fairfield Halls was bursting at the seams on Friday 22nd March, as hundreds of children from Croydon took to the stage to demonstrate ‘The Spirit of the Orchestra’. This year, the annual Croydon Music and Arts Showcase focused on the role of the orchestra in the 21st century, drawing inspiration from both the vibrant Daniel Barenboim’s Arab-Israeli West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and the Simon Bolivar Orchestra!
The concert began with a bang, with over 200 hundred of Croydon’s youngest musicians performing Purcell’s Rondeau together, in a performance that thoroughly uplifted the audience. This performance of the famous Baroque piece was followed by each of the individual instrumental groups showcasing their talents by playing a range of iconic pieces, taking the audience on a journey through orchestral history, including ‘Spring’ from The Four Seasons, as well as ‘Bolero’! All of the musicians joined forces to conclude the diverse first half, with their own rendition of the final movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, which surely left the audience in a cheerful mood!
Exploring yet another area of the versatile orchestra’s repertoire, the second half began with spirited performances of folk songs from both Latin America and, of course, England! The Croydon Youth Fluteharmonic and Croydon Youth Guitar Ensemble began with a fast-paced performance of a Venezuelan Waltz. As a member of the Croydon Youth Guitar Ensemble myself, one of my favourite aspects of being in the group is always getting to work with other ensembles, and I thoroughly enjoyed joining with Croydon Youth Sinfonia for a performance of Piazzolla’s ‘Libertango’. However, the highlight for me had to be playing the set of English hornpipes with the other ensembles. As the audience clapped along and all of the instrumentalists stamped their feet in time to the music, it seemed extremely fitting that the concert was called ‘The Spirit of the Orchestra’, as all performers embodied this on stage.
The young musicians from the first half were undoubtedly inspired by the thrilling performance from the Croydon Youth Orchestra that performed next. Performing the overture from Gershwin’s ‘Strike up the Band!’ as Well as Danzón 2 by Márquez, they displayed a high level of musicianship, as well as thoroughly entertaining the audience!
All of the participants in the concert have benefited from specialist tuition, as well as the chance to participate in a wide range of ensembles, provided by Croydon Music and Arts. Having attended the centre since I was 11, I must say that this Croydon Music and Arts Showcase was my favourite yet, with its exciting repertoire and electric atmosphere. Whatever the ‘Spirit of the Orchestra’ is, it was certainly present in Croydon that night!
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group