Fylde-born star gets hero's welcome

WHAT'S it all about Alfie?

Local children have been given the opportunity to find out all about classical music – with the help of a big local name.

Fleetwood-born opera star Alfie Boe gave a special concert at Pleasure Beach to help introduce the classics to a new generation.

More than 1,600 youngsters from around the Fylde Coast packed into the ice drome for the event including children from St Wulstan's and St Edmunds in Fleetwood – the school Alfie attended.

The concert was held to celebrate the end of the Music Quest project which is sponsored by the Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts and Classic FM MusicMakers. Music Quest is a three year scheme to introduce a new generation to the power of live classical music.

In a whole day of musical fun, children were treated to a workshop held at their individual schools by musicians from the Philharmonia Orchestra. Each workshop gave pupils the chance to try an instrument and learn different percussion rhythms with a professional musician. Later the children attended the concert to see the musicians perform live.

Gemma Paige Osborne, 10, from Marton Primary School, said: "I really liked the workshop.

"We had a trumpet player attend and three people got to have a go with it which was really good.

"I play the French horn anyway but lots of people in the class have said they want to learn the trumpet now."

Excited children packed the hall and gave the musicians a hero's welcome when they arrived on stage at the ice drome.

The orchestra played Ravel's Bolero with each musician appearing on stage in turn to build up the sound gradually.

The fun-sounding Strauss's Pizzicato Polka was played and even some favourite songs from Disney films to get the children dancing in their seats. Finally Alfie appeared, stunning the children into silence with his powerful voice.

Eleanor Haydraft, seven, is a pupil from St Wulstan's and St Edmunds. she said: "I liked it when Alfie sang, it is funny to think he went to our school.

"I didn't expect him to sing in a foreign language but I liked his voice."

Classmate Luke Hind, eight, added: "We had a really good day, I liked learning the percussion sections in the workshop.

"I hadn't really listened to any classical music before."

Former TVR worker Alfie, now riding high in the classical music charts with his latest album La Passione, said: "It is always nice to come back to Blackpool, especially to play for students of my old school.

"The work MusicQuest has done to make classical music fun and relevant for children is amazing.

"I'm sure the children will always remember coming here today, for many it will be their first live classical performance but hopefully not their last."