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Wymondham's symphonic celebration

PUBLISHED: 12:27 25 June 2009 | UPDATED: 15:40 29 October 2010

Malcolm Arnold conducting the Wymondham Symphony Orchestra. Photo: Submitted/Anna Meek.

Malcolm Arnold conducting the Wymondham Symphony Orchestra. Photo: Submitted/Anna Meek.

Derek James

It was in May of 1985 when a group of about a dozen nervous musicians sat down in the United Reformed Church at Wymondham and, under the beady eye of patron, the internationally acclaimed composer Dr Malcolm Arnold, started to play.

Renowned oboist Nicholas Daniel plays with the Wymondham Symphony Orchestra. Photo: Submitted/Jonathan Holtom.

It was in May of 1985 when a group of about a dozen nervous musicians sat down in the United Reformed Church at Wymondham and, under the beady eye of patron, the internationally acclaimed composer Dr Malcolm Arnold, started to play.

They called themselves the Wymondham Community Orchestra and they had been inspired by Dr Arnold, who lived at Attleborough until his death in 2006.

The original idea was to simply encourage local musicians to play together and provide an outlet for the musical aspirations of talented schoolchildren and adults who wanted to play with others.

Founded in 1984, this year represents the 25th year of what is now Wymondham Symphony Orchestra and they will be celebrating by putting on a summer concert on Saturday, July 4, as part of the town's music festival.

Playing on July 4 - Sasha Grynyuk.

It was a combination of the enthusiasm of its founder Adrianne Cleary and the skill and professionalism of the first conductor Kenneth Hytch which resulted in the orchestra laying down solid foundations.

New members arrived and the orchestra grew and flourished, developed musically and began to set ever higher standards of performance with an ever increasing challenging repertoire.

In 1989, a performance of Peter and the Wolf brought the distinguished narrator Ian Wallace in contact with the orchestra. He suggested changing the name from Wymondham Community Orchestra to Wymondham Symphony Orchestra and set higher standards to broaden its musical boundaries.

As a result of its vision the orchestra built up quite a reputation and it was - and still is - able to attract soloists of the highest calibre. Alan Brind, winner of the BBC's Young Musician of the Year competition, was the first of many talented Norfolk young musicians the orchestra supported before they embarked on their professional careers. And Emma Johnson, the clarinettist, was the guest soloist in a performance of Sir Malcolm Arnold's Concerto No 2 to celebrate his 70th birthday which was a rare treat in front of a full house.

Under the baton of conductor Andrew Parnell, the much-loved WSO now regularly performs all over Norfolk and encourages younger players to join them in open rehearsals twice a year.

The world renowned oboist Nicholas Daniel is the new patron. He is the lead oboe player in the Britten Symphonia and a regular visitor to Norwich.

t The 25th anniversary concert of Wymondham Symphony Orchestra will take place at Wymondham Abbey on Saturday, July 4, at 7.30pm. It is part of the Wymondham Music Festival. The programme will include Piano Concerto No 2 by Rachmaninoff with the award-winning and brilliant Ukrainian Sasha Grynyuk -a real up and coming star. And the organ symphony (No 3) by Saint Saens with soloist the highly regarded David Dunnett, past organist and Master of Music at Norwich Cathedral playing the Abbey's wonderful James Davies organ. Tickets cost £10, concessions £9 and children £2. Call Brian Randall on 01953 601939.

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