“…a chance to show the orchestra at its best and clearly enjoying every moment of their music making.”

Following last Saturday’s concert in Giggleswick, here is what our reviewer had to say about the performance:
From its inception, Settle Orchestra has aimed to ensure that it encouraged young people and to provide an opportunity for local young musicians to gain experience of playing alongside more mature and confident players. This was a founding principle fifty years ago and, as the evening amply demonstrated, it is one which still holds true with the orchestra ensuring that it always recognises the value of making music accessible to young people. However, it must not be overlooked that in order to do this the other members of the orchestra must undertake the vital role of mentoring and encouraging newcomers and it is they who also provide the continuity as the backbone of the orchestra. It was therefore very heartening to find that amongst those visionaries who first played fifty years ago there is one who still continues as a regular member and many others who have performed, or served in other capacities, for considerable periods of time. The evening’s performance paid tribute to this by starting the programme with Boieldieu’s “Caliph of Baghdad”, the same piece that was played at the first ever concert by the Orchestra. It was conducted by Howard Rogerson, vice president and former conductor, and this rousing piece with plenty of opportunities for lively percussion to inspire members got the programme off to a splendid start. It was followed by two world premieres of pieces commissioned for the orchestra from former members. Edward Percival’s piece, “The Emergence”, was based on his recollections of driving to Giggleswick and watching the village emerge through the morning mists. It was an unconventional piece but extremely atmospheric with an almost eerie lingering beauty. By contrast, “A Little Fantasy” by Vahan Salorian was along more traditional lines but had an almost cinematographic feel to it. With big tunes, fine detail, playful touches and an emphasis on brass, it was a bold picture painted on a large canvas with huge amounts of confidence. Confidence was also the trademark of the young soloist, Owain Smith, who performed a heart-stopping recital of movements from Elgar’s Cello Concerto. The beauty of the music and the dexterity of his work combined with the intensity of his concentration while playing to hold the audience spellbound throughout. This was an amazing demonstration of skill and also a very clear example of how the orchestra’s policy of encouraging young players can lead to such great rewards for all concerned. It was quite simply, breathtaking. The second half of the programme featured work of local composers and was a chance to show the orchestra at its best and clearly enjoying every moment of their music making. Butterworth’s “Grey Moorland” conjured up the bleakness and majesty of the moors above Embsay while showcasing the talents of both brass and percussion sections. This was followed by 3 movements from Tomlinson’s 2nd Suite of English Dances: the spritely march, “Kettledrum”, the stately dance “Newcastle” whose elegance bears little resemblance to my own memories of Newcastle on a weekend evening, and the joyous chase “Catch me if you can” which proved a wonderful opportunity for the orchestra as a whole to really show their enthusiasm. This was followed by a lively performance of Coates’ “London Suite” – a piece selected as a special request by one member but along with an hugely popular encore it proved to be the perfect way to conclude an evening of celebration. Congratulations Settle Orchestra – here’s to the next 50 years!