NORTHERN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2020 MIND MUSIC CARE HOME CONCERTS CONTINUE DESPITE COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS The Northern Chamber Orchestra’s Mind Music project explores the effects of live music on people living with dementia and was developed to raise awareness of dementia. The project work ranges from high-profile fund- raising concerts to working in care homes as part of therapy, while generating crucial data for research into how music can improve and repair cognitive functions. Over the summer of 2020, despite COVID-19 restrictions, care homes across the North West welcomed small ensembles of Northern Chamber Orchestra musicians to perform socially distanced concerts in the grounds of the homes. The residents enjoyed concerts featuring music performed by a string quartet led by violinist Louise Latham, a wind quartet led by bassoonist Rachel Whibley, a brass trio led by horn player Jenny Cox and a mixed quartet led by Naomi Atherton. The NCO’s Education Coordinator Lawrence Dinh said “It's clear that art and entertainment have never been more important at a time like this. Many of the homes I've spoken to have felt the need for music given how significant a role it plays in their residents' lives, and they have been delighted to welcome the Northern Chamber Orchestra musicians for these outdoor concerts and welcome music back.” There is a great deal of evidence to show that music can reignite neural pathways that have deteriorated, and that it helps people living with dementia to communicate with loved ones and carers without words and through memory and shared experiences. At this time of uncertainty and confusion, the Northern Chamber Orchestra provided an emotional lifeline for people who may have been isolated from loved ones through music and song. The concerts are supported by Stockport software company CDL who have also nominated the care homes, often where a relative of a staff member has resided. If you would like to talk about Corporate involvement with the NCO, please email Charlie Rowley: firstname.lastname@example.org Our current supporters: BUXTON FESTIVAL CONCERT IN THE SUN AND LOCKDOWN VIDEOS Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the NCO was forced to cancel the last concerts of its 2019-20 season, which would have seen violinist Anthony Marwood and pianist Benjamin Powell join them for concerts in Macclesfield and Manchester. Alongside this came the cancellation of the Buxton International Festival in July, for which the NCO are the house orchestra. However, the musicians were able to perform a free, outdoor string quartet concert led from the violin by the NCO Artistic Director Nicholas Ward in Buxton one July Sunday, which saw a socially distanced audience enjoying many short pieces in the sunshine. The NCO also worked with Buxton Festival to produce an online video recording of Ivor Novello’s 'We’ll Gather Lilacs', arranged by Buxton Festival’s Artistic Director Adrian Kelly, and produced by the NCO’s double bassist and composer in residence James Manson. Of the piece, Manson said, “As we were unable to perform together this year, Northern Chamber Orchestra and Buxton Festival have come together to record this song which beautifully echoes our yearning to be reunited.” The NCO musicians have also worked to produce videos in lockdown, including: Gershwin's 'Summertime', performed by James Manson and Naomi Atherton; Koetsier's 'Sonata for horn and harp', played by Jenny Cox and Elinor Nicholson; and Boismortier's 'Concerto for 5 flutes', played by Conrad Marshall and Nichola Hunter. The videos can all be viewed on the NCO's YouTube channel. FIRST CONCERTS OF THE 2020 SEASON A HUGE SUCCESS After careful planning, we were able to stage the first concerts of our 2020 season at Macclesfield's Heritage Centre in October. First, the NCO Soloists played Beethoven's 'Septet' along with works by Schubert and Baermann, then at the end of the month, pianist Stephen Hough joined the orchestra on stage to play Saint-Saëns' 'Piano Concerto No 4'. Seats were sold as socially distanced and for those unable to attend, online video rentals were made available for a week. The concerts were as good as sold out, and we look forward to our next concert on December 5th, when our Artistic Director Nicholas Ward leads the orchestra in Haydn's 'Violin Concerto in G'. The concerts continue into 2021 with guest soloists including soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and pianist Lara Melda. OBITUARY - MALCOLM ALLCARD, CHAIR We are very sad to announce that our chair for the past 10 years, Malcolm Allcard, passed away suddenly from a heart attack in July. His wife, and secretary of our Friends supporters Alison Allcard said "[Malcolm's] involvement with one of the most highly-regarded chamber orchestras in the North of England was something he was incredibly proud of and it was latterly such a huge part of his life". Malcolm would attend every NCO concert, greeting the audiences on their arrival and mingling during the interval and post-concert drinks. The NCO's Artistic Director Nick Ward said "Malcolm's friendly welcome to the audience is greatly missed, while in the background he worked tirelessly for the NCO." We will all miss him greatly.