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Article: Concert Review

Concert - Sunday 27th November 2011

2011 has been a very good year for NSWO. At the end of June I was considering ways to improve the group even more and the opportunity to make a recording at BBC Manchester was the perfect catalyst to inspire the orchestra to greater heights.

The success of that session has been well documented and the resulting broadcast was one to be proud of for everyone involved. It seemed to stimulate a sense of belief and pride which the group picked up really well in September. When you add the very successful residential weekend playing Nigel Clark and Philip Wilby's music the group simply kept on improving.

On Sunday at a brand new venue, in front of a largely new audience, the group played one of the best performances that I have had the pleasure to direct with them. The playing was accurate, flexible, musical, exciting and subtle. The tuning was as good as it has ever been and the response to the beat and the interpretation was instant and secure.

At this point I normally add a paragraph preceded by the word "but". So let me do that! But I cannot really find any reason to criticise the work we did on Sunday. I felt nothing but pride as my best rehearsed group confidently strutted through a varied and challenging programme.

How is NSWO managing this programme of systematic and sustained improvement? In short, by attending rehearsals, concentrating during them and showing a commitment to the cause. Why do they manage this? Because this sort of project gives masses of artistic and social satisfaction and so the commitment gives its own reward.

There were some outstanding sectional and individual performances on Sunday but I will not single any of them out here. I will however reiterate that the whole performance was a pleasure to conduct. Chris Swan described the band as "The Rolls Royce of Bands" but on Sunday they were much more exciting than that... perhaps a Ferrari.

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