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National Children's Orchestra Project

Alice and Chloe, in Year 5, had a fantastic time at the second National Children's Orchestra weekend. Alice and Chloe have written about this wonderful opportunity.

"I went to the National Children’s Orchestra weekend in Birmingham on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June to play my cello. I was joined by Chloe on lever harp and Jessica from King’s High School on the pedal harp. I had a lot of fun, and the overall outcome of the pieces when we performed on Sunday afternoon was awesome!

It took a while for the whole orchestra to arrive from different parts of the country, and I enjoyed chatting with my cello partner whilst I waited. When everyone was seated, we began with a rhythm warm-up and then moved into our sectionals.

Our pieces were brilliant! They included a Mary Poppins mashup, ‘A Friend Like Me’ from Aladdin, the James Bond theme tune, ‘Habanera’ and ‘Toreador’ from Carmen, ‘Sophisticated Lady’ by Duke Ellington, and ‘Waltz’ from Sleeping Beauty by Tchaikovsky. In the sectionals, we practised the cello part and bass parts without the rest of the orchestra to get them really good and polished!

After lunch, we came together for full rehearsals as the whole orchestra. I was amazed at how wonderful the music sounded — a really high standard, but my arms ached after all the bowing on the first day!

On Sunday, we were joined by a guest artist Nikolaj Henriques, a famous bassoonist from Denmark. He sounded amazing, and I loved hearing the deep, magical and mellow sounds of his bassoon. We were able to ask him lots of questions, including, ‘what music meant to him’ through to ‘what he had for breakfast’!

The weekend ended with a sharing performance for all the families, which sounded fantastic! The audience joined in with a fun rhythm warm-up, which was led by 6 members of the orchestra.

As a cellist, I especially enjoyed playing the bass parts of the Carmen music. I also really liked it when Nikolaj joined in with some jazz bassoon accompaniments for ‘Sophisticated Lady’ and ‘Aladdin’."

Alice, in Year 5

"Our second NCO weekend was even more fun than the first and it was a weekend which Alice and I will remember forever. We made new friends and played alongside incredibly talented young musicians.

The pieces we played were all based on the theme 'Guess Who' and included a Mary Poppins medley; Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty Waltz, Sophisticated Lady, Friend Like Me from Aladdin; Habanera and Toreador from Carmen; and the finale of The James Bond theme. They sounded amazing when it all came together after hours of sectionals and full rehearsals. 

We had a guest artist join us on the second day who was Nikolaj Henriques, principal bassoonist in the CBSO. Nikolaj played two pieces with us and made an especially good Genie in the Aladdin piece!

Alice and I went out for dinner with our families together after the concert to celebrate. We were exhausted, had sore arms and fingers, but had another amazing musical experience. 

Now on to our Summer Concert at school with our Prep friends!"

Chloe, in Year 5