Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra concert celebrates 70 years

Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra offers its 70th-anniversary concert in the Assembly Hall on Saturday, March 23 at 7.30pm.

Dominic Grier
Dominic Grier

Marking his fifth year with the orchestra will be musical director Dominic Grier who is delighted with the progress he and they have made together.

“I started with them in the summer of 2014 and it doesn’t feel quite as long as that somehow. But then when you look back at the arrangements we have done, the things we have done, really complicated pieces that perhaps they might not have done, it really does feel like quite a significant repertoire that we have covered.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

“We have not had a massive turn-over of players and it is not like they have developed a different way of playing but I think they have become more aware of the need to listen to each other, and I think that has helped create a warmer, well-balanced sound. People were perhaps focused on their own parts, but now everyone is playing much more as a collective.

“Members are seeming to enjoy working together, and we have also managed to get some new players in because of the reputation of the orchestra.”

The major piece for the anniversary concert will be the world premiere of a piece commissioned by the orchestra from James Olsen who has become the orchestra’s composer in residence.

His celebratory Worthing Oratorio comes with the title The Line is Immaterial. It will be performed by the orchestra with Worthing Choral Society, The Boundstone Chorus and Sompting Village Primary School Choir, all regular live music-makers alongside the WPO.

“The idea was very much dependant on how much money we could raise, but the original idea was a piece for the orchestra to start with. I wanted something that would stretch them quite a lot but written with their abilities and capabilities in mind, so that it would be enjoyable, but then we started thinking about the school, and I was thinking about the way that Benjamin Britten wrote a lot for children’s choirs. I knew that James was keen.”

And things just expanded from there, with at some point the realisation dawning that the 70th anniversary was coming up: “It just kind of crept up on us! There has been an incredible motivation with all the volunteers. It has been a huge logistical undertaking.

“James wanted to celebrate music-making in Worthing in particular, by dint of actually writing it for Worthing but also he started looking into the social history of Worthing. And he has drawn on that. He has written pieces in distinct musical styles.”

Also included and opening the concert will be an anniversary fanfare written by Dominic himself.

Tickets: Worthing Theatres on 01903 206206 or at http://www.worthingtheatres.co.uk.