Manchester Camerata: Students prepare for January concert

On Friday 1st December, a group of students took part in their final workshop with one of the UK’s top orchestras.

Following the huge success of no less than five previous workshops and two public performances of a composition that has been refined throughout the year, musicians from the Manchester Camerata Orchestra were once again on-hand to work with our students as they developed a brand new piece which will be premiered in a special concert at Bridlington Spa in January 2018.

Using instruments ranging from saxophones to violins and keyboards, students set about creating melodies for the piece which will be performed alongside existing composition ‘We are Withernsea’ by a full 35 piece orchestra at the concert on Sunday 28th January.

Since the start of 2017, musicians from the Camerata have regularly visited the school to work with students as part of the ‘Classically Yours’ project – a Hull City of Culture inspired initiative which has seen East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Orchestra Live join forces to bring orchestral music to a whole new audience in rural communities.

At the first workshop in May, students used a range of instruments to create expressive pieces inspired by images of Withernsea. Students were shown silent footage from around the town and were asked to think about the sounds and styles that would match the visuals. They then worked in small groups, and collaboratively as a whole, to create, share and perform their ideas.

At a follow up session in early July, students refined their initial ideas from May’s workshop to create one combined percussive piece which they performed on stage in Valley Gardens as part of Withernsea’s Summer Carnival.

In September, members of the orchestra once again visited the school to further work on the piece by adding melodic elements over the percussive foundations laid down by the students. Students were encouraged to think of melodies which the musicians incorporated in to the score in preparation for the next performance.
On the afternoon of Thursday 19th October, a special concert took place at Withernsea’s Meridian Centre. The event, entitled ‘Tea with the Manchester Camerata’, introduced a 12 piece orchestra to the local community and offered our students their first experience of performing live with professional musicians.

The packed audience, made up of residents of local care homes, primary school students and members of the general public, was treated to a newly-arranged rendition of ‘We are Withernsea’ by composer Richard Taylor. The students delivered a faultless performance, playing confidently and expertly with the orchestra.  

Having recently received clearance to publish the following video, we are delighted to be able to share the performance with you now:

Following the concert, Headteacher Richard Williman commented: 'It was a real privilege to be part of the audience for a joint performance by the world-renowned Manchester Camerata and our students. “We are Withernsea” is a piece which touched all emotions and showed what talented students we have at Withernsea High School - perfectly demonstrating what they can achieve through their hard work and the support our staff. I was genuinely left speechless with the quality of the performance. A huge thanks to Mrs Croombs, the Music Service and all at Manchester Camerata and I look forward to hearing them perform again at Bridlington Spa in January.'

Teacher of Music Rebecca Croombs said: ‘It has been a privilege to work with such talented musicians and the students have really benefited from working with industry specialists. The experience has provided them with a series of unique opportunities that not many people, especially their age, get to have. It has been made even more special by the fact we were one of only two locations across the whole East Riding, the other being Pocklington, that were chosen to take part. I am very grateful for the opportunities our students have been given and would like to thank the Camerata for their hard work and support.’  

June Mitchell, Community Arts Officer at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, added: 'The performance at the Meridian Centre was a superb sell-out concert. It was amazing to have an orchestra of this calibre in Withernsea and it was great to see so many young people from the schools involved.'

January’s concert will offer Withernsea High School students a once-in-a-lifetime experience as they take to the stage of a professional venue to play alongside two professional orchestras, with Sinfonia Viva joining the Camerata for the culmination of their year’s work.

Tickets for the event are on sale now and are available from the Bridlington Spa Box Office by phoning 01262 678258

You can also buy online:

Tickets are priced:

£17.50 (adult)

£15.00 (concessions)

£5.00 (child)

ABOVE: The 12 piece Camerata orchestra assembled for the 'Tea with the Camerata' concert in Withernsea on Thursday 19th October.

ABOVE: Withernsea High School students prepare to play 'We are Withernsea' with the orchestra.

ABOVE: The final workshop took place in school on Friday 1st December. Students composed new melodies in preparation for their performance at Bridlington Spa in January 2018.