More than 800 primary school students spent Thursday morning listening to a professional orchestra in full cry at Worthing Assembly Hall.
Worthing Symphony Orchestra performed their first concert for school children completely free of charge from 11.30am to 12.30pm.
The concert was attended by 888 students and teachers from 14 schools across West Sussex.
Sally Sanderson, Area leader for Worthing at West Sussex Music, said: “The idea of today was to bring live music to children in schools.
“The students all seemed to find the music exciting and today gave them the opportunity to listen to professional musicians live.
“The orchestra told me they were very impressed with how well behaved the students were and none of them looked bored.”
Worthing Symphony Orchestra performed a wide range of well-known orchestral music including the ET theme, The Pink Panther, The Teddy Bears Picnic, The Thunder and Lightning Polka, In The Hall of The Mountain King, plus some other items.
George Imbert, music teacher at Bohunt School, in Broadwater Road, Worthing, said: “The whole performance was fantastic.
“It is great for students to be given the opportunity to come and listen to this music and really appreciate its quality.
“We had 13 students here today and they all loved it.”
Another school in attendance was Lancing Preparatory school, from Worthing.
Head of music Carole Thomas said: “One student came up to me at the end and told me how he could see a picture in his head during each performance and the music helped to tell a story.
“It is very important to give these students the opportunity to listen to quality live music.
“Many of the students have spoken about how they would like to learn how to play an instrument after today.
“The trombone was very popular in particular.”
Cheswood Junior School, in West Worthing, said students took 100 students to the professional performance.
Head of music Claire Cossins said: “All of the children were chosen from the school’s Pupil Premium register. Many of these pupils may not have the same opportunities as other children and many may have or are currently facing challenging circumstances in their lives. As a school we are able to support these children to access instrumental tuition and we hope that by providing the children the opportunity to experience live orchestral music, we might be able to inspire them to pick up an instrument – and start their life long journey of musical wonder. It was visibly obvious the children were moved by the music and this was a joy to watch – they haven’t stopped talking about it back at school.”
Worthing Symphony Orchestra artistic director and conductor John Gibbons said the aim of the day was to give students the opportunity to hear quality live music for the first time.
He said: “Not many children have been given this privilege because they listen on little devices and through headphones. They are not the same as coming down to the Worthing Assembly Hall and listening to it first hand.
“The acoustics in here are famous for being fantastic so it was great to give them this concert for free.
“We have another concert tonight with 900 expected. It is a very exciting time for the orchestra.”
Students also heard a live performance of Paul Lewis’ ‘Abject Terror’ from children’s television programme Spongebob Squarepants.
Paul spoke to the Herald after the concert and said: “The children were getting really excited during the concert.
“There are so many different pieces of music throughout Spongebob that I am not sure the children would have recognised it right away.
“I wrote this piece in 1965 aged 22 when I decided I wanted to write some hammer horror pieces.
“I have always treated children’s music with the same amount of respect as music aimed at adults.
“I get a great deal of satisfaction from this type of work.”
West Sussex Music is looking to make this concert an annual event for schools from Worthing.
Sally Sanderson added: “We want to get people coming to these types of concerts and promote the orchestra as much as we can.
“We also have concerts and ensembles on Saturdays which are always great.”
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