Over 90 Y4 and Y6 boys from the Prep School enjoyed the opportunity to take part in a workshop with the Arensky Chamber Orchestra (ACO), a professional London-based ensemble on Monday 21 November 2016. 

The theme of the workshop was “Boom and Bust” and their challenge was to create and perform a new composition using Ravel’s “La Valse”, as stimulus. Together the boys listened to the ACO perform the finale of “La Valse” to start the workshop. They then discussed possible interpretations of the music before deciding that their piece would be about a the First World War, a circus, some elephants, machine guns and a waltz dancing-machine that goes wrong and ends up destroying everything!

The boys then split up into sectionals, where they all got the chance to try out an instrument for themselves, and create their part of the piece. Boys who already played orchestral instruments formed their own orchestra, which formed one of the sections. 

After the break, they all came together to form a 100+ strong “Arensky-Bedford School Super Orchestra”, and fitted all the different parts together to create a fantastic new composition. This new composition was then performed in the final concert, to which many parents were able to come!

It was a truly magical afternoon of music-making, and the boys absolutely loved it. 

Many thanks to the Arensky Chamber Orchestra and to Neil Valentine, the workshop leader, for making it happen!


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