REVIEW: Children and adults get creative at inspiring Ten Pieces Festival Concert

The Ten Pieces Community Orchestra
The Ten Pieces Community Orchestra

Ten Pieces Festival Concert, King’s Church, Burgess Hill, November 26

The King’s Church was packed to the rafters for the Ten Pieces Festival Concert.

The event was an amalgam of different groups of adults and children inspired by the BBC Ten Pieces and masterminded by musical group Ensemble Reza.

The group’s manager Hannah Carter achieved an amazing feat of organisation, bringing together more than 300 performers from many different walks of life.

The concert opened with the Ten Pieces Community Orchestra’s performance of Grieg’s ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ under the dynamic baton of conductor Lee Reynolds. Lee had clearly worked wonders in rehearsals as he brought together musicians of all ages and abilities from across Mid Sussex and also pupils from Oathall Community College, teachers from West Sussex Music and musicians from Ensemble Reza and the Burgess Hill Symphony Orchestra to give an exciting performance. The Orchestra was ably led by Amy Lovejoy from Burgess Hill School for Girls.

The pupils of Blackthorns and St. Giles Primary Schools had been inspired in workshops run by Jason Rowland to compose a piece based on the Grieg, which they called ‘Hall of the Gremlock Prince’. This was great fun and the level of improvisation and musicianship was really impressive. This was followed by an equally imaginative piece based on Dvorak’s ‘New World Symphony’ given by the pupils of Bolnore and Holy Trinity Primary Schools.

There was an amazing array of instruments and voices on show here that combined to create a really beautiful piece.

The final item of the first half was Stravinsky’s ‘Firebird’. There was confident playing from all sections with Lee keeping the tricky rhythms together and building to an exciting climax with the brass section to the fore.

After the interval we were treated to a riveting performance of the first Movement of Beethoven’s ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata by Ensemble Reza.

The Students from Oathall College and Northlands Wood Primary School then combined in their composition ‘The Leaf Descending’, based on Vaughan Williams’ ‘Lark Ascending’. Again, this was a creative piece with some original playing and the choir combined from both schools.

This led into a performance of the original piece with the orchestra giving a most sensitive accompaniment to the expressive solo violin of Ensemble Reza Leader Lucy Jeal.

The children of Harlands Primary School had clearly been inspired in their workshop by Bizet’s opera Carmen and had composed a mini opera called ‘Mischief In His Eyes’, telling the story of King Ramsey and his beautiful daughter Lucia who is pursued by two suitors – Bonatias and Francesco (the bad guy) – seeking to kill his rival. Quite a complex love triangle!

This led us into a performance by the Orchestra of the ‘Habanera’ and ‘Toreador’ from Carmen and then finally the ‘Mambo’ from West Side Story, bringing the concert to an exhilarating conclusion complete with audience participation.

So a truly inspiring evening, giving much pleasure to all those lucky enough to have been in the audience and great pride, I’m sure, to all the parents of the talented children participating.

Music is well and truly alive in West Sussex.

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