They have a long and proud history stretching back 123 years.

But in all that time, the Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra have never ventured beyond mainland UK.

Until now.

Tomorrow, the orchestra is venturing to the Isle of Man for a mammoth concert which will cement links between the Colne Valley village and the island.

A joint venture with the Isle of Man Symphony Orchestra will present the largest orchestral offering ever on the island, including works celebrating the joint connection, and culminating in a grand performance of Holst’s Planets Suite.

The composer and violinist Haydn Wood was born in Slaithwaite in 1882 and spent his youth on the Isle of Man. Well known for his song Roses of Picardy and the march Horseguards, Whitehall, used as the music for Down Your Way, his light hearted piece A Manx Rhapsody is included in the programme.

Composer and former conductor of Huddersfield Philharmonic, Arthur Butterworth, is also represented in the concert with his overture, Ragnarok.

The SPO’s principal double bass player, Jennifer Nicks, who was born on the island, continues the link between Slaithwaite and the Isle of Man in music making in a more modern era; and more than 50 of the SPO’s members, along with supporters, are travelling to the island at the weekend for the concert on Saturday evening, in the magnificent refurbished Villa Marina Royal Concert Hall. The baton will be shared between the IOMSO’s Maurice Powell for the locally connected pieces, and SPO’s Benjamin Ellin for the Planets.

Slaithwaite principal conductor Benjamin Ellin
 

Orchestra secretary Chris Woodhead said: “As far as we can tell, it;s the first time the orchestra has ever left the mainland.

“Bear in mind, we had very humble beginnings in a little town in the Colne Valley”.

It’s part of a busy year for Slaithwaite Phil. Having already performed two of their regular concerts in Huddersfield Town Hall, they are back in only a month’s time to play Rachmaninov’s fourth piano concerto and Elgar’s glorious Enigma Variations on June 14th in what would normally be their season’s finale.

However, in celebration of the Tour de France, they are collaborating with Focus Opera to present a fully staged performance of Bizet’s Carmen on the evening before the race’s visit to Huddersfield, on July 5, as part of the 100 day Yorkshire Festival.

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