In addition to our core programme of concerts at St Sepulchre, the LGSO does like to get together with other groups for something a little different. In 2015 this included a Masked Ball or two and a Promenade Concert in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens complete with a firework finale, and our 20th anniversary year is already looking like it will be just as varied!
No sooner had we recovered from the New Year celebrations, LGSO was back rehearsing in advance of a concert with Brighton’s very own Actually Gay Men’s Chorus. It’s not often that we get to join with singers, and the concert was all the more special as it took place at the Brighton Dome, originally the rather glamorous stable block for the neighbouring Pavilion and now a major concert venue. To top it all, the concert was raising funds for a very worthy cause, Inclusion for All, a charity which helps teachers to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools.
The programme was incredibly varied. The fabulous Miss Jason narrated Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals, with a number of solo performances from individual players, and Coady Green and Christopher Wayne Smith gave a beautiful performance of Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Piano (so wonderful in fact that some of the violins missed their entries during rehearsal as the music was captivating). British-Australian soprano Laura Wolk-Lewanowicz wowed both audience and orchestra singing Wagner and Puccini, and for something completely different, Miss Jason and the chorus joined us in extracts from HMS Pinafore. The Actually Gay Men’s Chorus added some numbers of their own too, including a medley of songs associated with New York.
Perhaps the most unusual side to this concert was having to be up bright and early on a Sunday morning for the coach down to Brighton. Although it’s rare for me to be out of bed before brunch on a Sunday, it was really nice to spend the time chatting and socialising with people, and also getting to know some of the new members who’d joined us especially for this concert.
What really struck me was how the orchestra managed to perform to such a high standard with limited rehearsal time, which shows the dedication and commitment of all the players. As our conductor Christopher Braime says, the orchestra’s standard keeps on rising, and it’s concerts like this which show just how far we’ve come as a group of musicians.
And of course, aside from the music, I personally felt quite a sense of achievement winning a bag of Haribo on Brighton Pier after dinner. It turns out I’m quite skilled at the two-penny slot machines!