Making Music: BBC premieres new symphony written in memory of Worthing man

A new symphony written in memory of a Worthing man has premiered on the BBC.

Seafaring Folk was performed live in concert in aid of Olly’s Future and aired on BBC Radio 3 on Monday.

Jonathan Brigg was inspired to write the symphony after hearing about Oliver Hare, who tragically took his own life at home in Worthing two days before his 23rd birthday.

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He also wanted to support the Worthing-based suicide prevention charity founded by Oliver’s mum, Ann Feloy.

Seafaring Folk composer Jonathan Brigg rehearsing with Sussex Folk Orchestra

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Ann said: “There are five movements and the final one is called Sea of Solitude and it made me cry when I heard it.”

The concert was performed at Sullington Tithe Barn on October 10 and the BBC recording made on the day was played on national radio for the first time on January 17.

Ann said: “The concert raised £700 for Olly’s Future. Jonathan said he was partly inspired to write the piece after hearing about Oliver. He will upload the music to his Soundcloud.

Celebrating Seafaring Folk, Sussex Folk Orchestra leader Eileen Sephton, left, and composer Jonathan Brigg, far right, with Oliver Hare's parents, social historian Chris Hare and Olly's Future founder Ann Feloy

“Jonathan and the Sussex Folk Orchestra were brought together to create a new composition as part of Making Music’s annual scheme, called Adopt a Composer, which puts young composers alongside amateur orchestras.

“Out of hundreds of orchestras across the country, Eileen Sephton and the Sussex Folk Orchestra were selected to work with Jonathan. Six other young composers were paired with other amateur orchestras and their works will also be aired throughout the week on Radio 3.”

Eileen said the concert had been part of the orchestra’s big plans for its 20th anniversary but this fell on the first day of lockdown in March 2020, effectively disbanding the group.

The composer fell ill, then there was the rule of six, but finally in January 2021, Jonathan was able to send the orchestra the piece.

Eileen said: “Then we had the lockdown that went on forever. But we managed to mess about on computers and practise with a computer track on Zoom.

“Jonathan did a couple of workshops with us before lockdown and he stayed right by the sea in Worthing, and the piece evolved into a piece with a sea theme.

“We have a slightly unusual sound for an orchestra. We have accordions, guitars and flutes, and we have gained a fabulous bass section. We have quite a different texture to an ordinary orchestra. Anybody is welcome whose instrument blends in with the orchestra.”

If you are interested in history, you may like to find out about Lancing Carriage Works. CLICK HERE to read an interesting article about the day its closure was announced