Thurrock orchestra make a lot of noise over local history


A THURROCK orchestra has joined historical researchers in Orsett to look into the history of one of the area’s most famous landmarks.

Gathering at the St. Giles church, members of the Woolmer Philharmonic Orchestra met with the historians and other volunteers to look into the history of Belmont Castle, its inhabitants and the events that were held there.

This forms part of a larger project that the orchestra has been running for months. It will culminate in a reconstruction of the castle, its pleasure gardens and their very popular promenade concerts at the Civic Hall, Grays, on 11 November.

The WPO is a professional orchestra founded by concert violinist and local resident Hannah Woolmer. The musicians have performed regularly in the Thurrock area since their inaugural concert on 20 February, 2014.

The orchestra has made a name for itself due to its high-calibre musicians combined with popular repertoire, their promenade concerts and ‘dine while you watch’ approach to modern classical music.

Founder Hannah Woolmer said: “It was always my wish to bring more classical music and culture to my Thurrock. Despite classical music proving less popular with younger audiences, I have always believed that there is something in it for everyone. We decided to work on this project as old school promenade concerts have really become our orchestra’s signature. There are some classical traditionalists who turn their nose up at the dine-while-you-enjoy environment, but these kinds of events played a huge part in classical music of the past and could be compared to modern day rock concerts.

“Major classical composers, from Mozart to Sarasate, spent a large amount of time at Vauxhall gardens and Crystal palace, so when I found out about Belmont Castle I knew it was something our orchestra had to look into more. Thanks to lottery support, this has been made possible”.

Volunteer Arwen Beglan added: “It’s been lots of fun. I researched at the British Library, have been interviewed for the documentary and I’ve learned lots. I’m really looking forward to the concert”.


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