In the spectacular surroundings of Shrewsbury Castle, Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra delighted a full house with a family-friendly picnic concert, celebrating the end of lockdowns for live music.
The Wednesday evening concert was supported by Original Shrewsbury and Shropshire Council as part of a summer season of outdoor events at the castle.
The programme included the majestic Prelude to Meistersingers, Sibelius’ Finlandia, Dvorak’s masterful Wind serenade, and some of Tchaikowsky’s music for strings, his Souvenir de Florence.
Stirring, joyful marches by Souza and Johann Strauss, had the crowds clapping along and tears were shed to Elgar's moving Nimrod, which the orchestra dedicated to the victims of Covid 19. The evening concluded with a rousing rendition of Jerusalem.
The free concert, after so long without live performances, proved a powerful draw, and the castle soon reached capacity, meaning some people had to listen outside.
SSO conductor John Moore said: “Performing to a great audience last night both within the gardens of Shrewsbury Castle and to those unlucky enough not to be able to get in, but who still stayed to listen outside, was simply the best experience for myself and all the musicians of the Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra."
"The audience’s reaction to the music was wonderful from start to finish. It is a fabulous venue, with a clear, natural acoustic, which cries out to be used more as a performance space for the town. After a year or more during which so much music-making has been silenced due to the pandemic, bringing beautiful music to the ears and hearts of an audience both young and not so young means so much to all those performing."
"We can't wait to do it again, and look forward to giving the people of Shrewsbury and Shropshire some more wonderful concerts from this great orchestra, of which Shropshire can be really proud."
Orchestra members were delighted to be performing again after more than a year without playing – they began rehearsing in a Covid friendly manner at Bayston Hill Methodist Church as soon as restrictions allowed.
They will be returning with a new concert programme in the autumn.