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Festive premiere at King’s Lynn’s Springwood High School for new West Norfolk orchestra

West Norfolk musicians of all ages have joined together to create a new community orchestra which will have its debut festive concert ahead of Christmas.

The West Norfolk Wind Orchestra performed together for the first time at this year’s West Norfolk Academies Trust (WNAT) Community Music Week in the summer

Its success led members to form a more permanent group.

Robin Norman, Director of Music
Robin Norman, Director of Music

Robin Norman, director of music at WNAT, and musical director and conductor of the new ensemble, said the band was made up on the night of 32 local musicians.

Mr Norman said: “These ranged from more advanced school students to people who make their living from music and teach or play for an income.

“There were also many local amateur musicians, and we had some members from as far away as Norwich and Thetford.

“The youngest member was 14, and the age range went through to some who were beyond retirement.”

Featuring a full range of wind band instruments, including woodwind, brass, and percussion, the orchestra is open to all who play an appropriate instrument to at least grade 5 standard, including those from outside the West Norfolk area if they are willing to travel.

As part of the WNAT Community Music Initiative, it is supported by the trust in terms of rehearsal space, equipment, and music.

They will be rehearsing once a month, on a Sunday morning from 10am to 1pm in the Drama Studio at Springwood High School.

He added: “In today’s world, many adults find it difficult to commit to a weekly rehearsal, due to work and family commitment, so it was agreed that this group would rehearse less frequently, but for longer each time, with regular performances aiding local charities.”

Formally launched in September, the orchestra is expected to stage three performances a year, with the first on Sunday, December 17 with A Festive Overture at the Peter Hopkins Hall at Springwood High School from 2.30pm.

Tickets are £5 for adults, £3 for under-18s and tickets can be bought in advance on www.ticketsource.co.uk and searching ‘wind orchestra+springwood.’

Mr Norman said they consider themselves to be members of the local community across all their 11 schools and they already work closely with West Norfolk Music Centre and the West Norfolk Jubilee Youth Orchestra, and their Community Music Festival gives performance opportunities to all these groups on a professional stage.

He added: “Lynn is a thriving hot-bed of community music-making with choirs, bands and orchestra; however, it is important that we listen to the local community for areas that may not be served, and that is why this group has been organised.

“It allows more advanced wind, brass and percussion players to come together to perform high-quality wind band music in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

“The area is already lucky to have the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra, but this only allows for a limited number of wind, brass and percussion players.

“This ensemble is giving the same opportunities to these musicians – high-quality music-making and high-quality concerts. We have listened to local community musicians and are happy to help.”

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