The BBC has reveals that the North Devon Sinfonia has been chosen to be part of All Together Now: The Great Orchestra Challenge – a nation-wide search for the orchestra that best captures the spirit of great British amateur music-making in the UK.
The four-part series, which will celebrate the breadth and quality of amateur orchestral playing across the nation, will follow five orchestras as they compete for a place in the Grand Final. It will begin on BBC Four at the end of August, with the final episode to be broadcast on BBC Two.
Bringing music to rural North Devon under the baton of dynamic conductor Emma Kent, the North Devon Sinfonia performs an eclectic repertoire of symphonic music spanning the Romantic era, twentieth century and the present day. Their line-up is rich and varied and includes a cheese maker, lupin grower, postman, and a number of doctors and teachers.
The four other orchestras featured in the series will be: London Gay Symphony Orchestra, Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra, Stirling Orchestra and The People’s Orchestra (based in Birmingham).
The Great Orchestra Challenge will be presented by BBC Radio 3 and BBC Proms presenter Katie Derham. The orchestras will be mentored by double-bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku, and judging the orchestras will be conductor Paul Daniel.
Paul Daniel said: I’ll be looking for the orchestra that goes beyond technical excellence, they’ll have to capture the spirit and excitement of British amateur music, they have to really engage us musically and emotionally and connect with their audience. No matter where and how they start out, I want my ‘best’ orchestra to discover and really develop its potential.
The series will visit the orchestras in their home-towns, meeting the players in their homes and in rehearsal, taking part in masterclasses and staging their own concerts.
It will follow them on their unique journeys, showcasing their development through exciting masterclasses and imaginative mentoring sessions as they work with Chi-chi and Paul and giving them unrivalled opportunities to perform at world-class venues including the BBC’s Maida Vale studios, the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Each week’s episode will have a distinct musical theme, from the symphony to opera. The orchestras will present a performance based on the week’s theme in every episode, which will be judged by Paul.
The winning orchestra will be crowned the UK’s most inspirational amateur orchestra and will perform on stage at BBC Proms in the Park, in Hyde Park, filmed for broadcast in the final episode of the series.
All Together Now: The Great Orchestra Challenge is part of the BBC’s nationwide Get Playing campaign, which is encouraging everyone to play music together – from lapsed players who want to dust off their instruments and brush up their skills, to enthusiastic amateurs who play regularly. Partners of the project are ABRSM, Making Music and Music for All.
Get Playing culminates in a huge celebration on the Last Night of the Proms on 10 September with the BBC’s first ever ‘virtual’ or digital orchestra.
To find out how to take part and to follow the easy instructions please visit the BBC Get Playing website www.bbc.co.uk/getplaying. Deadline is 27 August 2016. Groups as well as individuals are welcome!
(from a press release)