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On Saturday 18th May, we held our Summer Concert at Jesmond United Reformed Church. We were delighted to see the church full, with both familiar and new faces in the audience.

The concert began with Ennio Morricone’s Gabriel’s Oboe, the famous theme from the 1986 film, The Mission. This featured the strings from our Symphony Orchestra, with Oliver playing the oboe solo, as well as directing the group. The result was a very sensitive and beautiful performance, with strong communication between the soloist and the orchestra.

Our young musicians were joined by the rest of the woodwind section and their conductor, Peter, for Fauré’s Pavane, Op. 50. Opening with a haunting flute solo, the piece progressed with poise and elegance.

Our Junior Orchestra then took to the stage with their conductor, Hannah. They began with an uplifting Minuet and Trio by Mozart, performed with energy and precision. This was followed by Sibelius’ Andante Festivo, a challenging but exquisitely beautiful piece. Our young musicians gave a passionate and dedicated rendition, and thoroughly expressed their love of this work.

Our Junior Orchestra ended their performance with three movements from Pamela Wedgwood’s Jazzin’ About Suite, titled ‘Take It from Here‘, ‘Black Jack’ and ‘Strawberry Flip’. Each different in style, but with a delightful energy and humour, our young musicians demonstrated their skill in complex rhythms and wonderfully varied articulations and dynamics.

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Our final work of the evening saw the Symphony Orchestra return to the stage for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1. Having performed the first two movements in the Winter Concert, this performance featured the entire work. This was the first time a symphony had been performed in SPYE’s forty year history, and a proud moment for all involved. This symphony is a demanding work, both in terms of musical content and the stamina that is required, but our young musicians produced a performance with integrity and drama.

As our experienced audience members will know, we can’t have a SPYE concert without a raffle! Some beautiful prizes had been donated, and there were some excitable cheers from audience and orchestra members alike as numbers were drawn.

As we draw to the close of an academic year, we had the misfortune of having to say goodbye to some valued members of our ensemble, as they move onto the next stages of their studies. Thank you to Jenny, Daire, Fiona and Benji for the hours (and years!) of dedication you have shown to SPYE, and the beautiful music you have shared with us. We wish you all the best for the future and hope you will come to visit us at future concerts.

Thank you also to our conductors and committee members for their dedication to SPYE. And an extra thank you to the parents and carers of our young musicians for your continued support and enthusiasm.

We will soon be posting information about our 40th anniversary celebrations. Watch this space!