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Orchestral Fireworks in the Park to celebrate 125th birthdays

Huddersfield Golf Club and Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra plan to celebrate in style.

Two of the area’s longest-standing institutions, Huddersfield Golf Club and Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra, just happen to be celebrating their 125th birthdays this year.

And they plan to celebrate together in spectacular style, at an open-air Last Night at the Proms-style concert with thunderous firework finale on Saturday, May 28.

Orchestra secretary, Chris Woodhead, says it will not only be an evening to remember it will also support a good cause. Having found sponsors for the concert (Radcliffe Developments’ Beech Farm and the Sykes family of Farnley Estates) all profits will be donated to The Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.

Chris explained how the Orchestral Fireworks In the Park event took shape: “The golf club and orchestra were both founded in 1891. A couple of people got talking and said ‘wouldn’t it be great to have a party concert that would celebrate both’. It was mentioned over a pint a couple of months ago and we got it off the ground.”

Rain most definitely won’t stop play. He added: “It will happen come rain or shine. We’re asking people to bring their chairs and a picnic or a gazebo – and, if rain threatens, some waterproofs. The orchestra will be on a covered Glastonbury-style stage.

“It promises to be a wonderful evening celebrating the history of two Huddersfield institutions with long and proud traditions.”

More used to playing in grand town halls, the outdoor venue will be quite a departure for the philharmonic players but one that Chris says they’re all looking forward to.

The concert, to be conducted by Benjamin Ellin, will feature soprano Catrine Kirkman and a run-through of no fewer than 15 musical items: Haydn Wood’s Horse Guards March and Elgar’s Nimrod to Kachaturian’s Adagio from Spartacus, along with Wood’s Fantasia on British Sea Songs, Arne’s Rule Britannia and Parry’s Jerusalem. Saving the most dramatic until last, the orchestra will finish with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, the perfect accompaniment to fireworks.

Slaithwaite principal conductor Benjamin Ellin

The concert is taking place at Huddersfield Golf Club in Fixby Park. Doors open at 5.30pm and there will be entertainment from the Sundown Swing Band before the concert starts at 7.45pm. Food and drink will be available during the evening.

Tickets are £20 for adults, £10 for children, from www.spo.org.uk

Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra was founded by cellist John Taylor and a group of friends. The early members tended to be male and working class, living locally and walking to rehearsals.

Today’s orchestra demographic has changed and it has players from a wide range of backgrounds and who travel to rehearsals from all over Huddersfield and other towns and cities across the north.

Over the years the orchestra has had a number of memorable conductors, including Arthur Armitage, who led the ensemble to win many pre WWI competitions; Adrian Smith, whose tenure lasted for 32 years; and Chris Goulding, the predecessor of today’s musical director Benjamin Ellin.

The orchestra will launch a season of celebratory town hall concerts in September.

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