Linlithgow String Orchestra is looking for new strings for its bow

Members of Linlithgow String Orchestra are gearing up for their spring concert next month.
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And LSO, as it’s commonly known, is using the concert on Sunday, April 21, at 2.30pm in the town’s Burgh Halls to attract new players to the ranks.

Playing at Grade Five and above, people of all ages with the same skill set who want to perform with the orchestra would be welcomed.

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Bill Jones, who has been LSO director since September 2022, said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with our all-age group of keen musicians and I am impressed with their enthusiasm and the joy they derive from performing together.

Conductor Bill Jones will lead the orchestra in their spring concert in the Burgh Halls on Sunday, April 21, at 2.30pm.Conductor Bill Jones will lead the orchestra in their spring concert in the Burgh Halls on Sunday, April 21, at 2.30pm.
Conductor Bill Jones will lead the orchestra in their spring concert in the Burgh Halls on Sunday, April 21, at 2.30pm.

“We have room for new players and are keen to hear from parents of young people who may like to join us and adults, approximately Grade 5 and above, who may have a string instrument gathering a layer of dust at home and are seeking an opportunity to return to playing.”

LSO was first founded in 2016 by Helen Greig, who had previously performed with Scottish Symphonica in Edinburgh. However, with her first child just six months old, she was looking for a way to play closer to home – without too many time demands.

An appeal on Facebook attracted many like-minded musicians and LSO’s first committee meeting was held in April of 2016.

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It was to prove a successful first year; that September, LSO entered a video recording of the group playing along to Bizet’s Toreador Song which was selected to be included in the last night of the BBC Proms – along with other players and groups from across the UK – as part of its first ever virtual orchestra.

Helen said: “It was incredible to be involved in such a high profile event in our first year. Who knew five years later virtual orchestras and choirs would be formed all around the globe as the pandemic took hold.”

LSO’s first public appearance was an open door event at St Peter’s Church, with the first formal concert in St Ninian’s Church on November 19.

In 2017, Linlithgow Masonic Lodge became the orchestra’s home with Robin Foulkes taking over as conductor, a role he retained for two years with five successful concerts. Kate O’Hara then took over the baton for two concerts before the pandemic hit – with no rehearsals for 17 months.

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Having started rehearsals again on August 30, 2021, the orchestra’s fifth anniversary concert went ahead as planned on November 13 at St Michael’s Parish Church.

LSO performs two concerts every year – normally in June, this year moved to April, and on Remembrance Saturday every year in St Michael’s Parish Church.

Members also raise funds and awareness by busking in Tesco every December, sharing their music with a wider audience. That’s what they also hope to do with their upcoming concert on April 21.

Helen added: “The concert will feature music across five centuries, including the Saxo-Rhapsody by Eric Coates featuring our guest soloist, Martin Foster, who is well-known to local audiences as he regularly appears at Linlithgow Jazz Club.”

Tickets, priced £10 (£8 concs or £2 for 12 years and under), from or at the Burgh Halls on the day.

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