Young musicians share stage with Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra

Young musicians share stage with Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra

MORE than 150 young musicians have worked alongside a group accustomed to performing at royal households.

The Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra (CWSO), a 24-member string band from the British Army’s Royal Corps of Army Music, visited five schools and worked with young string players from Dunbar Grammar School, Dunbar Primary School, Preston Lodge High School, North Berwick High School, Law Primary School, Musselburgh Grammar School, Knox Academy and Ross High School.

Each school visit consisted of a side-by-side rehearsal for the young people, a presentation and a concert performance.

The side-by-side session allowed the young musicians to work with and learn from professionals.

The presentation gave the young musicians an insight into what the orchestra normally did and offered them an opportunity to learn more about potential careers in British Army Music.

Finally, the concert performance offered the CWSO a platform to showcase their musical skills and offered the young people the chance to join the CWSO on stage to perform.

Jodie Hannan, headteacher at Musselburgh Grammar School, said: “I had the privilege of listening to the rehearsals and it was an absolute treat to hear such beautiful music fill the hall for hours.

“I am so incredibly proud of all our young musicians.”

The finale of the week was a joint concert in The Brunton in Musselburgh to a near-capacity crowd.

The CWSO performed a programme of classical music in the first half before being joined in the second half by the East Lothian Council Secondary School String Orchestra, with special guests from Law and Dunbar Primary Schools.

Jonathan Gawn, instrumental music service team manager, described the sound of the combined orchestra as “just incredible”.

He said: “It’s great that our young people have access to so much music online and through recordings but it’s not comparable to hearing musicians of this standard live.

“I was thrilled that our biggest concern of the week was fitting them all on stage.

“I’m sure this is an experience our young people won’t forget for a very long time.”

Staff Sergeant John Brown, band master, was “thrilled” to have worked with the young musicians.

He told the Courier: “This was a great opportunity for the CWSO to inform the young people of East Lothian about British Army Music and to assist the pupils in their musical development.

“The result was a sensational side-by-side performance in The Brunton, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all present.

“The pupils in East Lothian were an inspiration to the CWSO and I’d like to say a massive thank you to all involved for a great week of music.”

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East Lothian Courier
Cameron Ritchie

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