Excitedly on the eve of our first Scratch Orchestra event, I am feeling the need to blog.  It seems no time at all since last October when what seemed like a mad idea for the event sprang to mind.  I was at Southbank Centre listening to a performance of Mahler 4, which in this version was scored for a group of chamber players.  During the Symphony (I tend to think of things when I’m relaxed – usually in the shower or out on a run!) I had an idea that you needn’t necessarily have a full Symphony Orchestra to convey a piece of classical music, and with a random group of musicians (which we have in the OAE Administration team) it just might be possible for us to perform something like this.  Shelving this for a bit my imagination ran a bit riot then when we were thinking of supplementary events to add interest to our week of Beethoven at Kings Place.  We would have access to a beautiful hall to rehearse in, we could make use of our Young Conductor who was around that week, and invite other office workers in the building and surrounding area to come and play some Beethoven in a long lunch break (it is a Friday after all).  We could use an OAE leader and some other players from the orchestra.  Once word had spread some OAE players even suggested to come and play but not on their OAE instruments. What an opportunity!

Booking opened (participants were invited to book via text) and whilst the applications were slow at first, once we’d spread the word via a brochure, e-bulletins and using twitter (Charlotte Higgins, Arts Correspondence from the Guardian, and pianist James Rhodes helpfully re-tweeted us to great effect) we were well on our way to growing to a Symphony Orchestra – far larger than I had ever imagined.  There are now 50 of us taking part – a slightly odd orchestration of 17 violins, 7 violas, 9 cellos, 2 double basses, and a full complement of wind (including me on clarinet!) I can’t wait to hear what it sounds like and enjoy the experience of taking part.

Look out for the full report after the event….

Ceri Jones, Projects Manager

Editors note – this was written yesterday but only posted today – so the event is today!