Essex Symphony Orchestra Reg. Charity No. 1000732

Site last updated on 17 July 2018

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On 27th January 2017, Essex Symphony performed their annual Children’s concert to an enthusiastic audience of children for a number of local Primary Schools.  

The theme this year was Kings & Queens and the concert started with the Overture (The Globe Playhouse) from William Walton’s Henry V suite.  This then moved straight into a repeated drum beat that some of the children could join in with on drums and tambourines, followed by “Pastime with Good Company” played by the brass section.  The children were amazed to learn that this had actually been composed by a king.  King Henry VIII.

After introductions and a short “guess the king” interlude our Music Director Tom Hammond showed how an orchestra could represent all the sounds and excitement of a military battle.  He introduced the various sections of the orchestra in an extract from the 3rd movement of Walton’s Henry V suite (Charge and Battle). The percussion section giving the military feel, the woodwind making all the sounds of the armour and weapons clinking as they rode towards the enemy, the string section adding general background noise and confusion (sorry strings) and the brass sounding the bugle calls and signals and so on.

The next section saw some members of the orchestra well outside their comfort zone, having to sing Hughes’ Intermerdio from memory.  It was a brave effort, but no match at all for the children, who had also memorised all four parts and sang beautifully and with great enthusiasm.

After the orchestra had played the 5th movement of the Henry V suite (Agincourt song) it was time for those children who were learning to play instruments to join the orchestra in playing The Queen’s Almain.  The original score probably didn’t have this combination of musical instruments in mind, but there was no denying that it sounded magnificent.

The Queen’s Almain is a dance and so naturally this was not an opportunity to be missed and 3 brave members of the orchestra led the rest of the children in a very stately dance from the same period,

The event was brought to a close with a performance of Walton’s Crown Imperial, written for the coronation of our Queen Elizabeth II.

Our thanks of course, to our Music Director Tom Hammond, who created such a stimulating and fun programme, to the members of the orchestra who gave up their time and talent and in particular to Catherine Gunnett who was the main organiser and coordinator.  However, the event could not have happened at all without the generosity of M&G, who once again sponsored the concert giving a lot of Chelmsford children a new and engaging experience that we hope will help develop their interest in music  .  We are very grateful for their support

Children’s Concert 2017