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<<  -- 3 --  Patric Standford    CREATING 'THE EMPEROR'S ORCHESTRA'


22 March 2001

First performance in a school hall near Rotherham, very difficult to find, but we made it as the overture began. The main item in the first half is an item devised by a composer who has been resident in local schools for four weeks, and helped GCSE students to add sections to episodes already written for the orchestra. Graham Coatman was its director for this evening, a clever composer who was once (in the 1970s) a postgraduate student of mine at the Guildhall in London. The merriment of his ingenious production was much appreciated. Sadly, however, only a small number of the children involved stayed for the second half of the programme, reducing further an already quite small audience. Ian Lavender was excellent. The Emperor's Orchestra was given a splendid première.

The Emperor's Orchestra - A family concert - programme

23 March 2001

The second performance in Grimsby, to which unfamiliar Methodist Church Hall venue my son thankfully drove us, for I am not the best of navigators and would certainly have arrived even later for this. Had I done so, I would have missed a spectacular piece devised by Barry Russell, a former member of my staff at Bretton Hall and a composer with a strong, colourful imagination and exciting ways of persuading his army of GCSE and performing arts students into completing his outlines of a cartoon piece called That's All Folks. About 40 children were on stage, mingled with the full orchestra. There had been over 100 children during the day taking part in this residency, yet only 12 stayed to hear the second half of the programme, which was, like last night, The Emperor's Orchestra and Stravinsky's Pulcinella. Overall however, the audience was much bigger and equally as appreciative. Ian Lavender was even better, having by now thoroughly warmed to this little story. Afterwards conductor, narrator, management and others were all discussing future performances -- as they do! Some audience members came back to ask if there was a CD they could buy. Well, maybe one day. I certainly hope many more can hear John Pryce-Jones make the orchestra sound 'weary and bored' and 'inspired' when they have to, and hear Ian Lavender getting angry with woodwinds and brass that are unable to invent their own music. It was all an excellent team.

John Pryce-Jones

28 March 2001

Far better than saying 'the cheque is in the post' is its arrival this morning! An enjoyable and rewarding job done (I hope) well.

Copyright © 22 May 2001 Patric Standford, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, UK






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