I went to observe and help at the BBC Proms family orchestra workshop on Saturday 31 July. The workshop was themed on Sonheim to link in with the evening’s Prom in celebration of Sondheim’s 80th Birthday. The idea was to bring people of all ages and abilities to play together.
I helped by signing the families in when they arrived, handing out the BBC Proms 2010 badges as well as distributing and collecting the evaluation forms. I also joined in with the percussion session during the workshop.
Sat in their instrumental families, each section was lead by a BBC musician and assisted by a music student while Lincoln, the workshop leader conducted. We were taught a number of well know tunes from works that influenced Sondheim as well as creating different sound effects. We slowly built up over the course of 2hrs the sections for our final performance without the aid of any notated music. However, it was easily memorable due to the verbal instructions from the conductor as well as the pictorial or programmatic nature of the music.
I was impressed at how attentive the families were and that they didn’t play their instruments when the musicians were talking.