Blackpool Symphony Orchestra's Covid-delayed Centenary season will end with an ode to the sea at the Winter Gardens

Blackpool Symphony Orchestra’s final concert of its delayed Centenary season is inspired by the sea.

By Nicola Adam
Friday, 17th June 2022, 4:55 am

As soon as it was possible to rehearse together following changes in restrictions last year, the orchestra resumed rehearsals for their well-received Centenary Prom

Concert at the Grand Theatre Blackpool in September, with an audience of over 500 attending, and featuring international soprano soloist Jane Irwin.

The orchestra followed this up with a successful Family Fun concert at Fleetwood’s Marine Hall in March in conjunction with pupils form its ‘partner’ school, Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary, Blackpool.

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Blackpool Symphony Orchestra

For the final concert of the season, taking place on Saturday July 2 at 7.30pm, the orchestra is taking inspiration from something that is close to the hearts of everyone on the Fylde Coast – the sea.

The concert at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, close to the shore, will be explore the sea in all its moods, starting with Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, and continuing through popular works such as Sailing By (the classic Radio 4 theme to the Shipping Forecast), Sullivan’s overture to HMS Pinafore, Percy Grainger’s Molly of the Shore and the little performed yet spellbinding overture to The Wreckers by British composer, Ethel Smyth.

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The BSO’s’s Music Director, Helen Harrison, said, “it’s very special to close our Covid delayed Centenary concert in such an iconic venue as the Winter Gardens.

"We love our programme that celebrates our coastal location with all our pieces inspired by the sea”.

Chair of BSO, Martin Scragg, said, “This concert has been a long time in the making. We had to postpone it at the last minute this time last year due to continued Covid

restrictions. It’s so good to be able to present such a great programme to the people of Blackpool and also share the stage with fantastic local musician, Alexandra Stemp”.

Blackpool Symphony Orchestra

The BSO attracts players from across Lancashire with a core membership of 50 amateur and semi-professional musicians under the dynamic leadership of the orchestra professional Music Director and Conductor, Helen Harrison.

Most recently Helen was chosen to participate in the Women Conductors’ International Masterclass run by the Royal Opera House in July 2021. In June 2021 she was invited by the Royal Philharmonic Society to work with the Royal Northern Sinfonia as one of four emerging conductors in a project to advance gender equality on the podium. Helen Harrison read Music at Cambridge University and studied Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music.

The orchestra explores new repertoire and creates performances across a broad range of styles showcasing the versatility of the orchestra from symphonic repertoire, opera, choral works and music from the stage and screen. Blackpool Symphony Orchestra passionately believes in the beauty and power of classical music presenting an annual series of concerts and musical events including educational and community projects.

As Blackpool’s only symphony orchestra, the orchestra recognises its role in providing classical music for the town and developing players and audiences for the future. Blackpool Symphony Orchestra enjoys a special relationship with Our Lady of the Assumption R.C. Primary in Blackpool as their ‘Orchestra in Residence’.

Alexandra Stemp was born and grew up in Blackpool and was a student at St Mary’s RC High School.