Sandwell's People’s Orchestra plays its part in ‘amazing’ musical challenge

A Black Country orchestra competed against some of the nation’s best in a chance to perform a show at Hyde Park.

Sandwell's People’s Orchestra plays its part in ‘amazing’ musical challenge

Sandwell’s People’s Orchestra performing

And although Sandwell’s People’s Orchestra missed out on the opportunity to play at BBC’s Proms in the Park, the experience has been hailed by proud bosses as ‘amazing’.

In The Great Orchestra Challenge they competed against four other groups for the chance to play at the coveted show.

The People’s Orchestra Sandwell is comprised of amateur musicians from all walks of life, who come together to rehearse at West Bromwich Town Hall.

The group progressed through the first round but was eliminated from the show at the second hurdle on Tuesday.

Sarah Marshall, who set up the orchestra in 2012, said: “The experience was great – the orchestra absolutely loved it.

“It was obviously a one-off, something we’d never done before and it was amazing.

“The BBC asked for expressions of interest last year and people kept asking for me to put us forward.

“In the end I was persuaded to give it a go and we were amazing that we got through.

“Hundreds of orchestras had applied so we were delighted to be chosen. The orchestras we were up against were phenomenal classical orchestras and amazing players.

“To be given that chance was fantastic.”

During the course of the programme they got the chance to showcase their musical skills at the BBC’s Maida Vale studios and the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.

The response from the public has been universally positive, she added.

Mrs Marshall said: “It’s the first time we’ve put our orchestra out there in front of the nation and to get the response that we have is fantastic.

“Our orchestra is less classical than some of the other orchestras – we have some unusual instrumentation and are in bright t-shirts as well so it’s not quite what people would expect. The support has been fantastic.”

The orchestra first formed back in 2012 and Mrs Marshal said its progress since than has been ‘fantastic’. She said: “We’ve had an amazing journey so far.”

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