Put on your dancing shoes – you’ll need a few pairs!

Right then NOFA, it’s time to get your dancing shoes on. And you’ll need lots of different sorts to dance along to the amazing range of music we have in store for you for our upcoming Summer Course in Leeds. It’s always exciting to learn what instruments we’ll have this year, who’s returning, who’s new. And whilst, of course, all instruments are equal, I have to admit we did let out a few little whoops to hear we are welcoming both an oboist and bassoonist this year. Yippee - double reeds go! But the whole orchestra looks fab, a wonderful array of instruments and young players from all over the UK, and we can’t wait to meet up with you all and get started! 

The arrangers are busy at the moment adding the final touches to all the pieces, and on Sunday 9 July all the orchestral tutors get together to play through the pieces to check that you’re all going to enjoy them. And we’ll be sending you the music and some ideas to help you prepare and practice the music, very soon!

So – the music. Well, what a mix! We’ve really gone around the houses to pull together a programme that will have something for everyone. It’s all music for dance, but also represents music through the ages and music from around the world. It’s got it all! We’ve got some stomping Balkan Gypsy music in Spoitoresa, some graceful and powerful Tchaikovsky in excerpts from Swan Lake, some rip-roaring Copland dance suite movements, and - grab the white gloves and glow sticks – we’ll be playing the world première of Crossfade, a brand new piece of electronic dance music for orchestra and synthesizer by Jack McNeill. We’re also delighted to be joined by singers from the Sheffield Music Hub Festival Choir and the Leeds Community Choir to perform the ever-loved Rhythm of Life by Cy Coleman and Electricity from Billy Elliot.

So, with such an energetic programme, the bad news is we’ll have to really concentrate in rehearsals to get all this lot sorted. I suppose the buzz word for the Summer Course will be rhythm rhythm rhythm! You can’t have good dance music without solid rhythm, and so we’ll have to nail the rhythms in each piece to get our lovely audience all jiggling in their seats!

We (Marianna in particular!) are really excited about the start of the concert we have planned. Don’t want to give too much away, but brass players – you are in for a treat. All I can say is – good luck! The audience loved the NOFA performance in the Leeds Arena last year – let’s impress them all again, and have fun doing it!

Sign up for your free ticket for the NOFA Summer Concert at the First Direct Arena in Leeds at 4pm on 1 August - click here to visit the Eventbrite page.

Emma is the Artistic Programme Manager and Conductors for Change Programme Manager for Orchestras for All. Emma is a musical jack of all trades, she wears many hats, whilst never actually wearing a hat. Emma also works with the Triborough Music Hub as a violin tutor with their youth orchestra, and directs the String Ensembles of the Bishop’s Stortford Music Centre. She has recently set up the Ware Community Orchestra in Hertfordshire, and is currently composing and arranging a new piece of musical theatre for the Young Lyric summer youth theatre project. Find out more about Emma's work on her website.