All aboard for concert on one of Lowestoft’s most iconic ships

PUBLISHED: 11:04 10 July 2015 | UPDATED: 11:04 10 July 2015

Royal Philharmonic musicians and guests perform small celebration of the sea show on board the Mincarlo trawler in Lowestoft. Picture: James Bass

Royal Philharmonic musicians and guests perform small celebration of the sea show on board the Mincarlo trawler in Lowestoft. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2015

As one of the world’s leading orchestras, its members are more used to performing in theatres in front of hundreds of people.

Guests on board the Mincarlo trawler in Lowestoft. Picture: James BassGuests on board the Mincarlo trawler in Lowestoft. Picture: James Bass

But the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) took to a different stage when it boarded one of Lowestoft’s most iconic and historic ships for a “Celebration of the Sea” concert.

Lowestoft is somewhat of a second home to the RPO, which earlier this year was presented with the town’s Coat of Arms - effectively the freedom of the borough - in recognition of a decade of association with the area.

But as well as putting on a traditional show at the Marina Theatre, the orchestra decided to organise a community engagement event.

It teamed up with the charity Access Community Trust, Lowestoft Maritime Museum, the Lydia Eve and Mincarlo Charitable Trust and the Marina Theatre to explore and celebrate the town’s maritime heritage - through music.

Groups such as the Clapham Road club for the over 60s and residents of Coppice Court also took part in the free project, which culminated in two 30-minute public performances last Friday - one outside the Marina Theatre and one on the Mincarlo trawler.

Some of the pieces included spoken word, poems, signing and instrumental elements - all inspired by the maritime history of the town 350 years after the English Naval victory at the Battle of Lowestoft.

It was watched by schoolchildren from Red Oak, Roman Hill and Oulton Broad primaries, as well as a crowd of onlookers.

“I have never played on a trawler before so it was quite exciting,” said Helen Keen of the RPO.

“We have made three quite substantial pieces with an absolutely incredible group of people.

“It is great for us as it is really different to a normal audience environment.

“I won’t forget this in a hurry. I feel part of an alternative orchestra. I don’t know if I can go back to the RPO now!”

Three RPO musicians, a creative music leader and creative writing leader spent the week in Lowestoft working with adults to explore and celebrate the maritime heritage of the town.

Throughout the week, the group visited the Mincarlo trawler and Maritime Museum and through brainstorming sessions and musical workshops, began to formulate their final creative pieces.

Harry Sear, Kirkley Community Choir: “It was fantastic. What we have created sounds great and the RPO musicians are really nice and patient people.

“The fishing industry was vast in this town and we wanted to celebrate it.

“The idea of being part of what the RPO are doing is both a dream and a privilege.”

Music participant Delia McLean said: “It’s been a magnificent experience with professional people who have been so generous and patient. In a short space of time we have come up with something that will amaze people.

“I arrived on Monday really unsure about what to expect, but I knew that even if I had to make the tea, I wasn’t going to miss this chance of a lifetime.

“I sing in a choir normally and we sing for our health and joy, but I’ve never done any creative composition like this before, and its absolute magic.”

Ruth Currie, head of community and education at the RPO added: “For me a symphony orchestra is a resource and you have a moral obligation to use it in society more than just a paid for concert experience.”

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