The return of classical music live in Colchester


From Haydn and Mozart to Elgar and Tchaikovsky and Christmas classics, minuets and waltzes to old American tunes, the Play Strings Academy Orchestra upped the spirits with their concert at St Peter’s Church in Colchester on Sunday December 12th.

The orchestra, made up of members of all ages and abilities, was conducted by James and Melinda Greenfield. They run the Colchester-based Play Strings Academy and teach cello, violin and viola.

The entertainment industry has been pushed to its limits by the pandemic and live music has continued to suffer. Music lessons were to be conducted by video call for over a year. All events ceased due to the restrictions, which led many musicians to seek alternative work. The removal of audience ceilings did little to soften the blow. Many people are still hesitant to attend events with large crowds, especially without a mask.

Still, many have turned up to watch performances by the father of Haydn’s quartet music “Surprise”, Tchaikovsky’s famous “Garland Waltz” from Sleeping Beauty and a masterful rendition of “Love’s Salute”. ‘Elgar among many other pieces. With classic Christmas carols in the second half of the performance, putting the audience in a seasonal spirit.

‘Surprise’ Quartet Principal Violinist Samantha Laycock said: “After a year of delay since the quartets were created due to the coronavirus, it has been a real privilege to finally be able to perform in front of a live audience. ”

Although the spread of the omicron variant jeopardizes the potential to occur, members of the Play Strings Academy are optimistic about the future – using the concert as an opportunity to raise funds for an orchestral tour of Bruges. Their optimism and determination inspire us all to maintain a positive attitude as we enter 2022.


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