PLEASE SPONSOR ME TO COMPLETE MY CHALLENGE!
Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra is a registered charity (No. 1148363). Its vision is for professional quality music in community outreach is distinctive, and deserves your support.
The SPO was founded by my friend, the conductor Leslie Olive, in 2012.
Leslie has spent half his working life as a professional musician, and the other half as a teacher, and he is passionate about the potential of great music to change lives.
Along with many hundreds of others, I have experienced that power when as a teenager in the late 1970s I sang in one of Leslie's many choirs. In a lifetime of sharing music with people of all ages, Leslie has created and conducted choirs, founded and directed the Summer Music Festival at Reigate in Surrey, conducted some of the Country’s top orchestras, composed for young choirs and for BBC broadcasts, been director of music for the BBC Religious programmes.
Music in the Community
His latest undertaking is the Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra. The SPO brings together an extremely high standard of professional playing at flagship concerts which have been feted widely. However, it also works with children and young people in schools, and has a dedicated programme of Community Concerts which take great performances to people where they are, often in rural Suffolk.
An SPO Community Concert happens in a village or community hall during the working day. Four of the orchestra’s superb musicians provide just under an hour’s music, thoughtfully chosen to be attractive and engaging but without dumbing down. Lunch or afternoon tea is provided, and for anyone who needs it, lifts are arranged to and from the venue. The entire experience is free.
Feedback, Leslie says, has been beyond his wildest dreams. As well as a huge amount of praise for the quality of playing, the sense of fun, and the all-round excellence of the experience, there have been some deeply touching tributes. One read “You have brought peace to a deeply troubled soul.” Another said “You must be angels, bringing this to us.” And so on...
The SPO’s work with children and young people is deeply special too. At the orchestra’s launch concert, in May 2012, a dozen teenage string players performed shoulder-to-shoulder with our top international standard professionals. One girl said “This has been the best day of my life.”
Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra has great ambitions to develop all three strands of this work across the County of Suffolk, and then beyond, de-mystifying the whole experience of classical music, making it accessible to people who have never felt inclined or had the opportunity to sample it before. It is already changing lives.
The SPO operates with voluntary helpers, reducing administrative overheads to the smallest amount possible, and our top professional musicians are modestly paid. But if ticket prices at the full symphony concerts are to be kept at levels people can afford, substantial other funding is essential.
I have seen the quality of this work, I am proud to be associated with it, and I want to see it continue, flourish, and widen its range of influence in the community of Suffolk. By sponsoring me for my Circumnavigation you will be helping to make this happen.
Incidentally, Leslie Olive also took me on my first sea sailing trip, and I got the bug. That trip was in the Western Isles of Scotland, one of the places I plan to revisit on the Challenge – with Les alongside me, this time not as my skipper but as my crew member.
The Suffolk Philharmonic’s November 2nd concert at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds will feature Mendelssohn’s “Hebrides” Overture (also known as “Fingal’s Cave”) in celebration of the challenge. Quite appropriate, really!
Any amount is welcome and appreciated to help the SPO continue to bring classical music to Suffolk!