Sunday 21st February, 2016 was only the second time that the OTMB Orchestra have performed solely in their own concert and like the first time last May, it was another great evening of music. The concert began with a distinctly Russian theme with the audience being treated to Tchaikovsky’s March Slave and the Tsar’s Bride Overture by Rimsky Korsakov before embarking on an eclectic programme that took in Offenbach’s Orpheus, Smetna’s Dance of the Comedians, Pastoral Song from Beethoven’s 6th Symphony and one of Johann Strauss’s most popular works, Die Fledermaus before closing the show with a medley from Phantom of the Opera.
The full orchestral programme was interspersed with chamber music from several smaller groups comprised of some of our orchestra members. From my point of view it was great once again to get to sit back and enjoy the chamber performances as usually during an OTMB Show I am involved in every single item on the programme!
The concert was once again in aid of a brilliant charity called ‘Music Space’ which provides music therapy for people of all ages in Bristol and the South West. I first heard about Music Space fairly recently from one of our orchestra members Andrew Pearson. Andrew told me about it because his 6 year old son Alfie has been having sessions with Music Space for the last couple of years with their Director, Michelle Scott. Alfie has a range of needs and his sessions with Michelle at their Southville base have had a hugely positive impact on him.
I was lucky enough last year to be able to go and observe one of Alfie’s sessions and find out a little more about the work that Music Space do. As soon as Alfie arrived at the Southville Centre you could see him light up as he knew what was about to happen. For his session, he goes into a soundproof room with Michelle and the door is shut so it is just the two of them. The idea is very much that for those 40 minutes, it is Alfie’s space, he owns that room and he is completely uninhibited.
As an observer, you can see in through one way glass and hear what’s going on via a sound system. If I’m honest, at first I did feel a little like I was about to see a police line-up! But no, it was a joy to see Michelle work with Alfie. As it was the first time I had watched one of their sessions, I had no point of reference but Andrew told me that when Alfie started going there he couldn’t be in the room without having one of his parents with him. Alfie really lacked the confidence to engage with the music but from seeing him 18 months on you’d never have known. Michelle talked to me about some of the benefits of music therapy, how it can help instil self-confidence and self-belief, it can give you a sense of purpose, aid you in forming communication skills, it can improve motor skills, provide an emotional outlet, a tangible way to express yourself and apart from anything else just give great enjoyment and inspiration. All very affirmative benefits that resonate with me greatly and my guiding principles behind OTMB and the amazing positivity music can bring to different people’s lives in so many diverse ways.
So all in all, to be able to put on a concert that benefited this fantastic charity was a real pleasure and hopefully we’ll do it again in the future! On this occasion I’m delighted to say we raised £142 for Music Space from the retiring collection so thanks to everybody who was there on the night and contributed.
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