Performing With Children

Throughout its history OPA has attempted to involve young people in part of its concerts whenever possible.

February 2024

Here is a film of the finale of the concert with young voices from three Malmesbury primary schools – enjoy!

March 2023

in Christ Church in Malvern there was a concert featuring local young string players playing alongside OPA. Also in March there was a concert at St George’s CE church in Worcester (featuring two local primary school choirs).

It was wonderful evening and a memorable experience for the children. I heard so many positive comments from parents and visitors.  Gill, Head Teacher

What an impressive concert last night and a tremendous opportunity for the children to perform to a most appreciative audience.  I thought the musicians were certainly top class and it was a wonderful programme. Barbara, St George’s Church

September 2022

In September OPA performed two pieces alongside members of the Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra as part of the Winchcombe Festival. The pieces were Sibelius’ Andante Festivo and Vaughan Williams’ Lark Ascending. The concert was greatly appreciated:

Dear Michael,
I wanted to thank you and OPA for giving such a wonderful performance last night. I always enjoy watching you play together – there seems to be such rapport between you and such enthusiasm for the music, even though you must have played those pieces many times! What a lovely varied programme too. The double bass ‘Prayer’ was deeply moving. I overheard someone on my way out saying that she was often bored in concerts but not this one!

So wonderful too to include the group of very talented young players and what an opportunity for them.

Please pass on my heartfelt thanks to OPA.

July 2022

In July 2022 OPA partnered once again with Water City Music to present a concert in the dramatic new setting of Berrybank Amphitheatre. Not only did OPA play a full programme to a capacity audience, but Water City Music organised three local primary schools to participate in it, singing three songs specially prepared for them, accompanied by the orchestra. Three generations were in the audience and on the platform.

Here are a couple of images from a wonderful early evening at the Amphitheatre:

OPA Side by Side

In 2008 the English Symphony Orchestra, led by Michael Bochmann, presented Fantasia at Gloucester Cathedral. It was a full-length professional concert which involved over a hundred children playing alongside the orchestra during a Vaughan Williams Concerto Grosso. The experience inspired Michael to the extent that, ever since, he has looked to involve talented young musicians in taking part of at least part of a professional orchestral concert.

The most recent example of this came at Burford School in April 2022 when local young string players rehearsed and then performed ‘side-by-side’ with the OPA.

The last such concert ‘pre-COVID’ was at Christ Church in Malvern, in association with Severn Arts, who oversee the county music service for Worcestershire.

In recent years, in association with Water City Music, the orchestra has performed alongside choirs from local primary schools.  A typical example was a concert in November 2021 in Northleach, Gloucestershire.

It included a 45 minute first half that was accessible to all: Mozart, Vivaldi, Bach. 60 children from five schools then took part after the interval, singing three songs they had been learning since the beginning of term in school. The concert finished with three short pieces from OPA.

Michael Bochmann visited each of the schools in turn in the run up to the concert to hear the songs and establish personal connection. The teaching was further enhanced by sessions with their peripatetic music teacher.

One parent received a free ticket for each family. 55 Parents attended. First class support from the local Northleach Primary School meant that the children were extremely well behaved and sang their hearts out with singing of a high standard.

OPA is always looking for further opportunities to involve young people in its concerts. Please contact [email protected] to express an interest.

OPA at Berrybank