Sarah's ready for solo set

Sarah Chapman is ready for her first performance at solo clarinet.Sarah Chapman is ready for her first performance at solo clarinet.
Sarah Chapman is ready for her first performance at solo clarinet.
It’s been a long time coming, but the gifted amateur musicians of the Peebles Orchestra are tuning up this month for their first public performances since their autumn concert in 2019.

The Covid pandemic, which began with the lockdown in March 2020, came after only two rehearsals of an exciting programme that features Gerald Finzi’s Concerto for Clarinet and Strings, Beethoven’s heroic Prometheus Overture, Donizetti’s light-hearted Sinfonia for Winds and Beethoven’s triumphant Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”).

​It’s a first solo performance for Sarah Chapman on clarinet, a long-time player in Peebles Orchestra and also the orchestra’s secretary, and it’s clear that she loves a concerto that is the British composer’s most widely performed and recorded orchestral work, noted for expressing Finzi’s empathy for the solo clarinet.

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“Finzi is sometimes described as a pastoral composer whose work evokes the English countryside,” Sarah said. “He has this wonderful gift for long haunting melodies, filled with flowing lines that rise and fall.

"It’s not all about tricks and pyrotechnics. It’s not about showing off technique. It’s about creating mood and atmosphere and getting the instrument to sing.”

Peebles Orchestra has been active in the community for more than 40 years and is always open to new musicians.

"Playing in an orchestra brings so much joy,” says Sarah, “and another victim of the pandemic was Orchestra For All, our invitation to musicians of all ages and abilities to have a go at playing in an orchestra.

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"We had a great time with Orchestra for All in 2020 and we plan to hold another one next year. Anyone interested in playing with us should come and hear us at the concert or contact us through our website.”

​Peebles Orchestra’s Spring Concert takes place at St Andrew’s Leckie Memorial Church on Saturday, May 14, at 7.30pm, with conductor Robert Dick.

Tickets cost £12 (£1 for children) and are available on the website, from the Tontine Hotel (cash only) or on the door.

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