Stephen Broad and community orchestra star in new BBC series
Announced today, Professor Stephen Broad, Head of Research and Knowledge Exchange at RCS, will be appearing with his community orchestra, Stirling Orchestra, on the new BBC series: All Together Now: The Great Orchestra Challenge.
This four-part series is based on a UK-wide search for the orchestra that best captures the spirit of great British amateur music-making. It will begin on BBC Four at the end of August, with the final episode to be broadcast on BBC Two.
Stirling Orchestra was formed in 1983 and consists of a group of amateur musicians largely from around the Stirling area and embraces a wide range of backgrounds and professions, with retirees and full-time parents as well as students from Stirling University. The orchestra performs mainly at Stirling’s historic Albert Halls, putting on three or four concerts a year.
The Stirling Orchestra is the only orchestra from Scotland to be selected for the series the four other orchestras featured will be: North Devon Sinfonia, London Gay Symphony Orchestra, Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra and The People’s Orchestra (based in Birmingham).
The Great Orchestra Challenge will be presented by BBC Radio 3 and BBC Proms presenter Katie Derham. The orchestras will be mentored by double-bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku, and judging the orchestras will be conductor Paul Daniel.
Stephen Broad, conductor of Stirling Orchestra, said: We are absolutely delighted to be taking part in this contest and are looking forward to the challenges ahead. Stirling Orchestra is a wonderful group of people, brought together by their love of orchestral music and playing it for others. We can’t quite believe we’ve been selected for this, but we’re going to do our very best!
Paul Daniel said: I’ll be looking for the orchestra that goes beyond technical excellence, they’ll have to capture the spirit and excitement of British amateur music, they have to really engage us musically and emotionally and connect with their audience. No matter where and how they start out, I want my ‘best’ orchestra to discover and really develop its potential.
The series will visit the orchestras in their home-towns, meeting the players in their homes and in rehearsal, taking part in masterclasses and staging their own concerts. It will follow them on their unique journeys, showcasing their development through exciting masterclasses and imaginative mentoring sessions as they work with Chi-chi and Paul and giving them unrivalled opportunities to perform at world-class venues including the BBC’s Maida Vale studios, Hallé St Peter’s in Manchester and London’s Royal Albert Hall. Each week’s episode will have a distinct musical theme, from the symphony to opera. The orchestras will present a performance based on the week’s theme in every episode, which will be judged by Paul.
The winning orchestra will be crowned the UK’s most inspirational amateur orchestra and will perform on stage at BBC Proms in the Park, in Hyde Park, filmed for broadcast in the final episode of the series.
All Together Now: The Great Orchestra Challenge is part of the BBC’s nationwide Get Playing campaign, which is encouraging everyone to play music together – from lapsed players who want to dust off their instruments and brush up their skills, to enthusiastic amateurs who play regularly. Partners of the project are ABRSM, Making Music and Music for All.