1,217 Enjoy Participating with BSO

The Family Orchestra draw in a crowd

In the BSO Participate tent we first saw the BSO Family Orchestra perform their piece ‘Orelob’ based on Ravel’s Bolero to a gathered crowd. The ensemble are made up of families and people all ranging in standard, instrument and age, who meet on Sunday mornings. This particular rendition of Bolero incorporated violin, electric guitar and bagpipes! Audience members were then invited to join in with the Family Orchestra to compose a brand new song, Sam Mason – BSO Associate for Dorset – enthusiastically led the mass composition and performance.Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Participate team gathered at Meyrick Park on Sunday to deliver an extra slice of musical fun to the BSO Proms in the Park weekend. The day showcased performances from community choirs to body percussion workshops for all to get involved in.

Also in this tent we saw a body percussion workshop ran by both Sam Mason and Hugh Nankivell. Audiences were encouraged to join in making pieces using just clapping, clicking, stomping and chest thumping rhythms; this novel style really appealed to the imagination of the audience. Amber Jagot, BSO Participation Coordinator, further agreed that, “It was great to see so many children and adults alike, engaging with the music so enthusiastically.”

To conclude a day’s music events, Southampton Inspiration Choir performed alongside the BSO on the main stage. The non-auditioned community choir sang a range of crowd pleasers from the heart wrenching Bridge over Troubled Water, to hits such as Don’t Stop Me Now. The day was a fantastic tribute to all the local talent in the South West and also a great display in the range of work that the BSO Participate team undertake across the whole community.

Megan de Garis – Participation Intern



Open the Gate

Hugh Nankivell – BSO Associate

This week I am working in Bournemouth for the BSO with a wonderful organisation called ‘The Complete Freedom of Truth.’ Alongside animation, film, radio, poetry, theatre, dance and more, I’m helping to make and shape music with young people from across including Bosnia, Georgia, England, Portugal, Italy, Serbia and Romania. This evening we watched a film about ‘Sevdah’ – the Bosnian soul music that is a wonderful bridge between east and west. In this film was the composer Nigel Osborne, who wrote an opera about Sevdah after the terrible 1992-95 war. In the film Nigel talked about how much was destroyed for people in that war (and some was filmed in ruined libraries and other derelict buildings) but said ‘you can’t destroy a song’.

I like this idea, and it is even true for songs that only exist for the time in which they are written. I make many songs with other people – in fact it is the activity I do most of in my life and it is great to have reaffirmed the idea that no songs can be destroyed.

Today I was with the BSO family orchestra and their big event at Meyrick Park, Bournemouth (and as I write I can hear the fireworks at the end of that event from a few miles away). I played in the family orchestra directed by fellow associate Sam and had great fun in their new piece ‘Orelob’. Afterwards I began to write a song with a family (two boys, Ed and Henry) and their parents, the song was called ‘Open The Gate’ and had four lines.

Have your money ready
They’re coming in for the day
Step inside the gate
It’s time to play.

It took only a few minutes to come up with words and melody and we then made an arrangement of the song and sang it through with instruments accompanying. Over about a twenty minute period we had created a new piece of music with a band of about forty people of all ages.


Later that afternoon I led some group singing with the audience from the main stage (perhaps there were 1000 folk around at that time of the day) and decided that we should sing ‘Open The Gate’ to finish off with. I introduced it and credited Ed and Henry and could hear and see their family cheer as I mentioned their names. Everyone joined in and folks seemed to be enjoying singing this new song.

On the stage today well-rehearsed music such as Debussy, Vaughan Williams and Simon and Garfunkel was played, but also the new song only written that afternoon by a family and a family orchestra and then sung by one thousand people. This song is probably not a great song and may not be sung again (in public) but the little journey it has had is important. Folks will go home knowing that music can be created in an instant and this music can have as much value to some of us as the music that is deliberated over and rehearsed many (many) times.



Mountjoy School Summer Holiday Music Project

Sam Mason – BSO Associate 

A brand new band was formed this week, comprising of pupils and staff from Mountjoy School in Beaminster. With the help of BSO players Rob Harris, Jenni Curiel and BSO Associate Sam Mason, the “Mountjoy Stars” gave a performance to parents and friends of music created during their 3 day summer music school.

The theme for our music project was “The Sea”. Sailors ventured off to sea with a rousing percussive rendition of the “Sailors Hornpipe”, Undersea creatures were discovered, with the children creating their own magical sound-worlds for their underwater animals, A singing mermaid lulled the audience with her beautiful song and the adventure concluded with a trip in a yellow submarine!

Our group consisted of children with a wide range of physical and mental special needs and their teaching assistants and carers. The imagination and energy of the children was fantastic all week and their talents shone in the performance they gave. A huge thanks to all the Mountjoy team for hosting us again this year. We very much look forward to developing our relationship with the school further and seeing everyone again next year!

Sam Mason