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(U) 1 out of 66
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Page number refers to the Fringe programme



Usworth Youth Orchestra song & dance (page 99)
Drams
Performers
Connor McClain (clarinet); Philip Wilkinson (guitar); Sarah Kirtley (flute); Rebecca Scott (ballerina); James, Jacob and John Carr (Irish step dancers); Diane Scott-McGrath (piano); Rupert Hanson (baritone)
Venue St Mark's Unitarian Church (Venue 125)
Address Castle Terrace
Reviewer Charlie Napier

Usworth is a suburb of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear. This Youth Orchestra, for children aged 8 to 15, was started as a community project by Rupert Hanson, a retired professional singer and native of Sunderland, at the request of the headmaster of the local comprehensive school. It was only started in March 2001. The members of the orchestra meet every Saturday morning in the school, both for individual section (strings, brass and woodwind) and ensemble practice. The instruments are provided to the children and were paid for initially by Government grant and fundraising. The children continue to raise funds by all sorts of projects and are also raising funds to assist a school in Afghanistan.

This was the first time that the Orchestra had played away from home, so it was quite an experience for its members. The evening was more a musical entertainment than a concert, being a mixture of ensemble playing, instrumental solos, singing and dance. The children were ably accompanied throughout by Diane Scott-McGrath on the piano and tonight she gave us Chopin's E flat major Nocturne. The Orchestra started with Beethoven's Ode to Joy, which they also sang, in German, and a little later they sang a Spiritual Guiding Light. They also gave us enthusiastic renderings of Rossini's William Tell Galop, Vivaldi's Autumn from The four seasons, Kalinka - a Russian folk tune - and When the Saints go marching in to finish the programme. These items were interspersed with solos from Connor McClain (clarinet); Philip Wilkinson (guitar); Sarah Kirtley (flute). Rebecca Scott danced a solo from The Nutcracker Suite. Thunder, an Irish step dance was performed by 10-year-old triplets James, Jacob and John Carr, and two nursery rhymes were sung by Rupert Hanson in the style of Handel.

At this level one has to suspend the critical faculties and just admire the enthusiasm of the young people and the obvious enjoyment which the players, and Rupert Hanson (who introduced and directed all the items) were getting out of performing. The experience will stand them all in good stead and perhaps we will see them back in Edinburgh next year.
© Charlie Napier. 23 August 2002. Published on EdinburghGuide.com

(U) 1 out of 66
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