Strike the right chord

PUBLISHED: 16:06 17 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 July 2010

FORMING a community orchestra from a large school band has struck the right chord with both students and residents of Gorleston - and it could be a musical opportuity chance for you.

FORMING a community orchestra from a large school band has struck the right chord with both students and residents of Gorleston - and it could be a musical opportuity chance for you.

For Lynn Grove High School's head of music Derek Mill it has been a four year project and now the orchestra has 30 members although the number varies as to the concert. He now wants to encourage more people to join.

As well as being the school's head of music, he is also an advanced skills teacher and can play a number of musical instruments himself.

Derek, 52, said: “I first came here 26 years ago after a spell at Claydon School. I taught music and decided it was time to form a school's orchestra or a large band. The idea has mushroomed to become the Lynn Grove Community Orchestra. It has been running for four years but now is the time we need to encourage new blood. Pupils also come from other schools in the area and in some cases, their parents and even grandparents play.

“At the moment, the ages range from 11 to 60! We ask which instruments they play and then see if we can fit them into the orchestra as we have specific requirements. For example, you will have more than two brass players but you wouldn't need two oboe players.”

He said that when people come along to join in, they have varying abilities and it is it essential to encourage them to develop. He said that although the orchestra does not take absolute beginners, he would advise them to seek some tuition and when they can play their instrument, or instruments, reasonably well, then to contact him.

Derek also composes and arranges music and occasionally if he needs to know what on orchestra piece may sound like without packing everyone in to hall for a practice, he uses a synthesiser. But adds this is to see what a piece may sound like, and says there is nothing like the proper instruments.

He also stresses that it is not only classical music the orchestra play. He said: “We do play a lot of classical music but then there is also show music, film soundtrack music and jazz. Most of the concerts we do are at the school, but more recently we have been undertaking more performances outside, notably the carol service at the Hippodrome for the first time and also our performances at St Andrew's Church in Gorleston.”

He added: “We rehearse at the school every Thursday evening between 7-8.30. It is somewhere for people to come and play and I welcome anyone who has a reasonable standard to come and join us. Usually at the end of rehearsals we ask for someone to select a piece of music we can all play. Again, it can be one of any number of music styles. People may be surprised to learn that as well as classical music, I love the classic rock of the 1960s and 70s as well as show music.

“As far as playing music at home is concerned, we are all musically inclined, my two grown-up sons and one daughter and my wife Jane, who is a piano teacher, so we quite often enjoy our own efforts. When playing CDs for relaxation, that will depend on the musical mood I am in.”

If you would like to know more about the Lynn Grove Community Orchestra, call this number 01493 661406 during school hours.


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