At 7.45pm on Monday 5 November 2018, 600 musicians from Southampton, Isle of Wight, Poole and Bournemouth, alongside Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO), made their way on to a darkened Royal Albert Hall stage whilst the Azaad Dhol Group performed. Following an introduction from host Remel London, and a brief introduction from composer James Redwood, at 7.51pm, under direction from conductor Frank Zielhorst, the 600 strong massed ensemble hit their first powerful and purposeful note… followed by two more… followed by a further five. Symphony 125 had officially begun.
When the last note rung out at just past 8pm, the hall rose to their feet in a show of awe and appreciation. The months of hard work had paid off, and these young musicians had hit heights of achievement that left the audience delighted and amazed.
Since September 2018, all involved had been hard at work: young musicians from Southampton Music Hub, Isle of Wight Music Hub and Soundstorm Music Education Agency, coached by their teachers, musical directors and members of the BSO. For all involved, this was the event of a lifetime, and it has only been made possible thanks to a huge community effort: Associated British Ports kindly donated a free rehearsal space; Red Funnel and Solent & Wightline Cruises provided discounted transport; Teachers, musicians, parents and friends all gave countless hours of time and energy to support this momentous event.
Watched by friends, families and local supports, many took to social media to praise their performance: