BBC's 'Get Playing' Initiative: The Great British Amateur Orchestra, Winner to Play at Proms
Last month, the BBC launched an ambitious project that celebrates not just the everyday musician, but the everyday collaborator. As part of BBC Music's 'Get Playing' initiative, The Great British Amateur Orchestra is a new program that seeks out locally assembled orchestras from across the U.K., five of which will compete for the crown of "most inspirational amateur orchestra." The winner of the competition will perform at BBC Proms in the Park, held at Hyde Park in 2016.
A product of the partnership with the ABRSM (a British music education body), the 'Get Playing' initiative's "Great British Amateur Orchestra competition is open to orchestras of between 40 and 75 members, aged 16 and over (thereby including school orchestras). The ensemble is obliged to have been playing together for at least one year.
The Great British Amateur Orchestra competition encourages active musicians to come "out of the shadows", based on an estimate that over 11,220 groups were already playing regularly across Britain. Effusively, the editor of BBC Four, Cassian Harrison, extolled the tenets of the 'Get Playing' initiative to BBC: "We want to go beyond the stars to celebrate the passion of amateur music makers who captivate, entertain and transport audiences up and down the country every week, and hope to inspire a new generation to pick up a musical instrument … We’re delighted to be shining the spotlight on amateur music through this landmark BBC television series, giving inspirational orchestras across the UK the opportunity to compete for a platform at Proms in the Park, part of the Last Night of the Proms celebrations, the climax of the world's greatest classical music festival."
Commissioned by Jan Younghusband, (Head of Music TV Commissioning), The Great British Amateur Orchestra should inspire the casual collaborator to develop their art and compete against a body of their peers. The four-part series will see a battle for the Grand Final, in which a winner will be selected to perform at the prestigious Last Night of the Proms, Saturday, September 10th. Although applications are now closed, the road to the finals is sure to be a long and arduous one.
Listen to one of Britain's many amateur orchestras below!