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OMF kids get up close with the Northern Chamber Orchestra!

This term, 25 OMF families took part in an interactive workshop with the acclaimed Northern Chamber Orchestra – the first of four scheduled for NCO’s 2021-22 concert season. OMF’s Director, Jo, gives us the lowdown on this very special visit.



OMF has partnered with NCO to bring young musicians into four workshops with the NCO and enjoy the orchestra's Sunday Matinee concert at Stoller Hall. Led by OMF animateurs, Michelle Robinson and Alice Needham, the aim of the project is to bring children into contact with professional players, raise musical aspirations in the local community and provide free opportunities for families to attend concerts in one of Manchester’s most prestigious cultural venues.


On 26th September, 25 excited children and their parents waited in the atrium of the Chetham’s Music School, free tickets and programmes in hand, ready to get stuck in! At 1:30pm, we were welcomed by NCO General Manager, Charlie Rowley, who took us into Stoller Hall to meet the orchestra. Children sat in a horseshoe on the stage facing the orchestra, whilst parents sat in the stalls and listened.



Led by Michelle, the children were introduced to the different sections of the orchestra – upper strings; lower strings; woodwind; brass; and percussion – with each section taking their turn to show the children what their instruments sound like. As the NCO were performing Beethoven’s 4th Symphony, this was also an opportunity for the children to find out more about the music they were about to listen to. What do the fast sections make you feel like? Can you spot which section has the tune? Can you jump in time with the surprise chords?



The children also took turns conducting the NCO. As the orchestra don’t usually have a conductor (they are led by Artistic Director and Leader of the Orchestra, violinist, Nick Ward), this took some getting used to for both parties! Denzel, our brave OMF volunteer, did an outstanding job helping the NCO keep time – with lots of help from other children conducting from behind him too!


After the workshop, families were invited to stay for the Matinee concert, which featured special guest musician Steven Osbourne performing Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto and the NCO performing Beethoven’s 4th Symphony in the second half. The children were given notebooks and crayons and encouraged to draw what they could hear as the orchestra played. Here are some of the things they drew:




We are extremely grateful to the NCO for a wonderful first workshop and concert. We had a brilliant time, and can’t wait to come back again in December for the next workshop and concert!

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