Worthing Philharmonic on a recruitment drive

Worthing Philharmonic, a community orchestra formed from non-professionals, is looking to reinforce its ranks as it continues to build on music director Dominic Grier's successes.

Wednesday, 15th February 2017, 8:47 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:19 pm
Worthing Phil: Dominic Grier
Worthing Phil: Dominic Grier

As spokesman Barry Cranford says, they are particularly keen to attract new string players, the string sections making up more than half their numbers.

Anyone joining would be coming in at a great time for the players.

“This must be Dominic’s third season,” Barry says, “and he is great to work with. He likes working with us because he will have more than one rehearsal. When he plays with us, we might not be as technically perfect as the professionals, but he will have four or five rehearsals and during that time he gets the benefits, as we do. He can get us to do what he wants, and I think our performances have been amazing. The standard has been going up enormously under Dominic.

“When we recruited, the word went around, and we had 22 applications from across Europe. Dominic comes across as a very amenable and pleasant personality, and he gets things done in the shortest time. He waves his arms and somehow after a few goes, it is happening. It is getting better and better, the standard of performance, the general ensemble, the tuning, the way the music comes out.”

But now it is important to bolster the strings, perhaps three or four more cellos, another couple of double basses, three or four more violins. And Barry is keen to stress that you absolutely don’t have to be from Worthing. They are very happy to welcome people from further afield.

“There are about 60 in the orchestra which was founded in 1948 as the Citizens’ Orchestra by the Borough of Worthing as an amenity for the residents. It was completely funded by the borough with a full-time director of music until 1997 when all funding stopped. It was renamed the Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra and set up as a registered charity with aims to promote, improve and develop public education in live orchestral music. We receive no funding from the council.

“We usually give five concerts a year. Rehearsals are on Monday evenings 7.15 to 9.30pm and generally follow school term times. All rehearsals and concerts are in the fine Assembly Hall. Many smaller amateur orchestras have to make do with school or church halls.

“We particularly try to encourage young players. Many soloists like Alexandra Lomeiko come via the Munster Trust. This organisation helps young professionals get started. We get a fine player at nominal cost and they get the experience. Many young people have also developed from school and youth orchestras. Rob Campkin played first violin and his brother Richard cello, both encouraged by their mother Margaret who plays in the second violin section. Rob went on to get a BMus and is now studying in Vienna. Richard lives in Cambridge and is principal cellist in the Cambridge Sinfonietta. I started at 11 and am still playing!

“We have quite a number of music teachers and our deputy conductor is Peter Lewis (principal horn) who was director of music at Lancing College. There is everything to be gained from listening to live music especially with such a large group as the WPO. I did read somewhere last week that more people attend classical concerts the go to cricket matches.

“Potential players must be proficient with some orchestral experience and able to play quite demanding parts!”

Full details about the orchestra and how to join can be found on the web site www.worthingphil.com

Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra begin their 2017 season under Dominic with the Nielsen 3rd Symphony, known as the Expansiva.

“This will be a rare chance to hear live this tremendous Danish symphony which needs a very large orchestra. The concert opens with the Brahms Tragic Overture and will then feature the talented young New Zealand violinist Alexandra in the Beethoven Violin Concerto. Alexandra was born in 1991 into a family of musicians and started playing at the age of five. She has won many awards worldwide and is now based in London.”

The concert is on Sunday, March 12 at 3pm in the Assembly Hall Worthing. Tickets on 01903 206206 or www.worthingtheatres.co.uk. To talk to the orchestra about joining, get in touch via www.worthingphil.com.

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