Family Matters

Philip Young, PMF musical director, enjoyed a royal celebration at this year’s Family Concert. He writes:

There was a royal theme to the Family Concert presented by Basingstoke Symphony Orchestra and their conductor, Stephen Scotchmer, on Sunday 17th March. Children were invited to come dressed as their favourite king or queen, prince or princess, and there were some splendid costumes among the capacity audience of parents, grandparents and children. The image of King Charles III was there to greet them at the door; there was a card for the children to send ‘get well soon’ messages, and a crown for each to wear during the concert. The 55-strong orchestra, too, wore crowns for the occasion, and delighted all ages in the audience with a programme that presented royalty in many forms.

‘Queen Camilla’ – a. k. a. Sarah Scotchmer – introduced the items, starting, of course, with the National Anthem. We were then introduced to the members of the woodwind section of the orchestra, which featured prominently in Sullivan’s exuberant Overture to Yeoman of the Guard. Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, was prefaced by an introduction to the different string instruments.

Jumping from history to fiction, next up was a brief resumé of the story of The Lion King and a medley of its favourite numbers, featuring the percussion.

It was back to history with movements from Handel’s Water Music, and then the children practised marching before listening to William Walton’s march Crown Imperial, resplendent with the grand sounds of the brass. All those who had come in costume were invited to stand up before the last item, which brought us up to date again with a medley from Frozen.

In just an hour, the children had been introduced to all the instruments of a full symphony orchestra, and had listened to an excellently chosen programme of short pieces. It was a music lesson, a history lesson and – most importantly – an inspiration for the next generation of musicians and music-lovers.