Coventry’s oldest orchestra set to perform ‘music from the movies’ - The Coventry Observer

Coventry’s oldest orchestra set to perform ‘music from the movies’

Coventry Editorial 14th Mar, 2022   0

COVENTRY’S oldest orchestra has been busy tuning its instruments ready to the stage at the city’s Central Hall at 3pm next Saturday, March 19.

The 105-year-old Heart of England Co-operative Concert Orchestra performance will be only the second one by the group since the first lockdown in March 2020, although members have continued to entertain online.

All the music on the night has a film connection and music lovers will be treated to a diverse range, including pieces from some of the most popular blockbusters, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Titanic, The Dark Knight and Mama Mia.

Meg Birch, semi-finalist on The Voice 2021, will perform alongside the orchestra and guests, including St Barbara’s Church and Community Choir, which represents the Coventry Festival of Hope, and a choir made up from children from six local schools. They are working together towards an Arts Award from Trinity College London and the Arts Council of England.

The schools involved are Blue Coat Church of England School and Music College, St Anne’s Catholic Primary, St Peter and Paul Catholic Primary, Keresley Newland Primary Academy, Keresley Grange Primary Academy and Earlsdon Primary.

The choir has been put together by city music teachers Katherine Owen and Annette Ball.

Katherine said: “The children are very excited to be part of such a big project, and are working hard in their schools to make a great concert.”

Conductor Mark Wooton added: “This concert is an exciting opportunity for our orchestra to work with the community and young people after such a long time of isolation.

“We maintained our performing during the lockdown online, but this coming live performance allows us to reach out and perform good music with the community which is one of our favourite things to do as an orchestra.”

First established as the Centaur Road Boys’ School Orchestra in Earlsdon in 1917, the orchestra was founded by school headmaster Alfred Petty – a co-operative member and music enthusiast who led the group sessions.

It later changed its name to Coventry Co-operative Orchestra and in 1925 allowed adult members for the first time.

Lockdown marked the first time in the orchestra’s extensive history that members were unable to meet.

Even during the war players rehearsed in the daytime to avoid the blackout and delighted crowds with concerts in parks, hostels, clubs, hospitals and the American Army base at Stoneleigh. Rehearsals also continued during the Blitz.

Tickets for next Saturday’s concert – at £8, £6 (concessions) or £1 for children – can be booked in advance by emailing [email protected] or on the door.


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