Musicians’ capital treat!

Youngsters from Wigan Youth Orchestra during their big day in London

Youngsters from Wigan Youth Orchestra during their big day in London

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YOUNG Wigan musicians have been given the honour of playing with one of the world’s top orchestras.

The violins, violas, cellos and double-basses of the Wigan Youth Orchestra were on stage at a packed Royal Festival Hall this week performing alongside the London Philharmonic.

It was part of a prize awarded to the Wigan String Orchestra (as it calls itself when detached from the other instrumentalists) after taking part in regional and national rounds of a Music for Youth festival/competition.

They clinched the National Partnership Award for their performance of music by Elgar, Telemann and Sibelius at the Birmingham Conservatoire last July. They had already won a North West heat to get there.

With the LPO as one of Music for Youth’s partners, part of the prize (as well as a certificate) awarded at the Royal Albert Hall in September, was to give them the honour of a joint concert.

The afternoon programme at Monday’s schools event saw the Wigan players interspersed with the LPO professionals on stage for a performance of the first movement of Mozart’s 40th Symphony. The instrumentalists then sat in the auditorium with hundreds of other schoolchildren to watch the rest of the concert which was conducted by Stuart Stratford.

Louise Peacock, a senior manager at Wigan Council music service, joined the orchestra on its London trip. She said: “We came down the day before because there was a morning rehearsal at the Royal Festival Hall at 8.15am.

“It was a wonderful occasion and the players were buzzing as they came off stage.”

The council’s head of music service Dave Little added: “In music education we are always looking to create life-changing opportunities and life-long memories and they don’t come much bigger than this.

“Not only has this group of children won a wonderful award, it has also won the opportunity to play with a world-class orchestra at a top class concert hall on the same day. We as a music service are very proud of them and it is also a good endorsement for our work.”