THE WPO AT 70
The orchestra's distinguished history is documented in the About Us section of this site. This was celebrated in a large-scale 70th Anniversary Concert on Saturday 23rd March 2019, featuring Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, alongside music by Finzi and by our then Composer-in-Residence, James Olsen.
BEETHOVEN: SYMPHONY NO. 9 (Ending and Applause)
Performed on Sunday 23rd March 2019 (70th Anniversary Gala)
Video Recording by Black Swan Film and Video Ltd.
Sound Recording by Tony Faulkner
The WPO's 70th Anniversary Gala Concert — Saturday 23rd March, 2019
** A full report of this special event will be posted here soon! **
Dominic Grier WPO Anniversary Fanfare
Finzi For Saint Cecilia, A Ceremonial Ode, Op. 30
James Olsen The Line is Immaterial: A Worthing Oratorio (World Premiere, commissioned by the WPO)
Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in D minor 'Choral', Op.125
Elizabeth Karani, Soprano
Kasia Balejko, Mezzo Soprano
Thomas Atkins, Tenor
Nicholas Mogg, Baritone
Aedan Kerney MBE, Chorus Master & Narrator
Stephen Cranford (BBC Radio Sussex), Compère
Worthing Choral Society
The Boundstone Chorus
Sompting Village Primary School Choir
Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra
Rita French, Leader
Dominic Grier, Conductor
A Welcome from the WPO's Music Director
Welcome to this special gala concert, in celebration of the Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra’s 70th anniversary. The WPO has been at the very centre of the town’s immensely varied music scene since it was founded and we are all proud of the rich musical experience it has provided for musicians and audiences alike, from the middle of the last century to the present day — indeed, the articles published elsewhere in this programme booklet provide a fascinating snapshot of the WPO at significant moments in its distinguished history.
For me, the WPO represents the justly celebrated British amateur musical tradition at its very best — people of all ages with a passion for music coming together to play, plan and promote; both of, and for, their community. But I am firmly of the belief that an orchestra such as ours can be so much more than simply a concert-giving organisation. For instance, we have provided, over many years, a platform for talented young soloists and to perform and rehearse with us, as evidenced in our valued links with The Countess of Munster Musical Trust and the Worthing Music and Arts Festival. We have more recently established strong links with the University of Surrey’s Tonmeister course, affording the sound engineers of the future an opportunity to record a full symphony orchestra in the superb acoustics of Worthing’s Assembly Hall. Add to this conducting masterclasses, composition competitions, repertoire rehearsals, a chamber music series and outreach educational work in local schools, and the breadth of our activities is clear to see.
I am also very keen that the orchestra should play new music and this lies behind the introduction of a Composer-in-Residence post and our commission of a brand new oratorio from James Olsen, of which we give the world premiere this evening. The piece celebrates the town of Worthing and its musical heritage and was made possible by generous donations, including some from performers, audience members and local businesses. We are thrilled that James provided us with such a challenging and inventive work, which has been exciting to rehearse over the past few weeks.
Tonight’s concert also brings us together with the three local choirs with which we’ve collaborated frequently over recent years: Worthing Choral Society, The Boundstone Chorus and Sompting Village Primary School Choir. The new oratorio gives a prominent role to all of these forces, and the adult choirs also have a full chance to shine in Finzi’s For St. Cecilia tonight — an underperformed gem, in the finest traditions of the British choral repertoire. The WPO is grateful to Aedan Kerney, along with his assistant Jake Barlow, for preparing the two community choirs to the standard you hear tonight; and to Sarah Erratt-Rose and Sarah Butress for preparing the Sompting Primary School choir.
There is perhaps no more fitting work than Beethoven’s ‘Choral’ Symphony for a celebratory concert such as this, as its performance as a marker of significant occasions attests. We hope that the repeated cries of “Freude!” during the final movement are also a genuine expression of the joy that we all experience in making music together, and that you as our audience will share in that joy.
I am thrilled to be able to celebrate this milestone anniversary with the WPO, and that so many of the orchestra’s friends, including past members, soloists and conductors are here with us tonight.
70 years of memorable music-making is a glorious achievement — and long may it continue!
Dominic Grier, WPO Music Director — March 2019