I have heard a lot of children playing the string instruments of the orchestra – I was director of two big music schools in the United States.
That was back before COVID turned up. None of those kids had to deal with COVID.
The musical lives of many Symphony for Life kids were interrupted for nearly TWO YEARS! – most of 2020 and 2021 – when COVID stopped them meeting together for orchestra. They couldn’t even meet face to face with their music teachers. The only thing possible was to have ZOOM lessons on their instruments, one at a time.
Now, at last, we have been able to start the orchestra again. We are missing a good number of children who moved away or had to leave the program for one or another reason. But somehow, the players who continued with lessons and have now returned for orchestra have improved. Improved a lot! And they seem very happy to be back together.
I went to hear the orchestra at its concerts at Parramatta Westfield. Well, what a surprise! The music the musicians were playing was so much more difficult – and so much more enjoyable. And the kids played it so well. The orchestra had a big, rich sound. Lots of tunes. And that piece, Animals of the Orchestra, written especially for it. (We have four more composers writing pieces specially for us.)
There was a pretty big audience which followed each piece with a lot of clapping. I was really proud and I think the kids and the parents must have been very proud too. There certainly were a lot of big smiles.
Westfield must have been impressed. They invited them back to do more concerts at Christmas time.
I wonder how they will sound by then.
Amazing, I’ll bet!
Dr Richard Letts AM, Deputy Chairperson, Symphony for Life Foundation and Chair of Program Committee