After 12 weeks of rehearsals in a chilly church hall, our brand new orchestra came together to perform a concert that will be hard to forget!
To mark the second anniversary of the lockdown of March 2020, we wanted to hold an event to help people work through the emotions created by the pandemic and lockdowns. So we commissioned a new musical work from Llanelli-based composer Jacob Smith. This was based on the results of a survey asking for people's reflections on their experiences during the pandemic and lockdown. The result is a fantastic three movement concerto for orchestra and four soloists, called Reflections.
“Just to say how much I enjoyed the concert on Saturday. It was very emotional from the very beginning with the Ukrainian National Anthem, the Soloists, Bethan and Melody and ending up with Reflections"
Reflections is based on the themes of Reminiscence, Remembrance and Rebirth.
Reminiscence takes us back to a time before March 2020 and the onset of the pandemic and lockdowns. A time before face masks, social distancing, zoom and sanitising. This first movement has a festive feel and is reminiscent of happy, family times.
Remembrance brings us into the feelings of isolation and anxiety as we came to terms with the restrictions and Covid 19, and then leads into a beautiful soprano solo where we can remember those who we have lost during this time. It includes some ingenius instrumental techniques, such as random string plucking to represent the spread of the virus, and the wind and brass blowing through their instruments, representing laboured breathing.
Rebirth looks to the future with hope as we go forward changed but not defeated. The soprano revisits the tune from the second movement but now it’s in the bright major key representing our continuing hope for the future.
“It was a wonderful piece, I think it should be played by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.”
As well as Reflections, the concert also featured Time by Hans Zimmer, played by ChromaMusic Cello Club, The Robin written and performed by Melody Angelicus and Cassado's Cello Suite: 3rd Movement, played by James McBeth. We were supported by the Llanelli Wind Band, who played six short pieces.
We secured partial funding from Ty Cerdd and Llwchwr Town Council to put on a concert and develop a community training orchestra, where people could develop their skills under expert tuition. This was also an excellent opportunity for local young musicians to gain experience at the start of their careers. Jacob Smith is a film composer from Llanelli, James McBeth is a cellist from Pontarddulais, Cathryn Jenkins is a viola player from Pontardawe, and Bethan Evans is a soprano from Bishopston.
Onwards and upwards
We are delighted that people have come together to form our new orchestra, both those who are learning as young people or adults and those who haven't played for many years. People have come together from a wide area of South Wales and are having fun learning to play together. We have continued our rehearsals and are welcoming new members every week!
If you would like to join, get in touch with us - we would love to see you in our next rehearsal!
Watch the concert below.