THE Royal Albert Hall stage came alive with the sound of junk.
And it had a Huddersfield resonance.
A vase, lampshade, copper pipe and a blender were transformed from scrapyard junk into musical instruments.
Some of the world’s top musicians played them on stage at London’s Royal Albert Hall as part of the Proms season.
Michael Rath, from Brass Musical Instruments in Honley, created the stunning-sounding pieces from a collection of items at a scrapyard.
He took up the challenge to create three brass instruments for the Scrapheap Orchestra, featuring in a 90-minute documentary for BBC Four.
Michael said: “We manufacture high-quality trombones and brass instruments, so this was a bit different.
“I created three instruments by going round various tips and recycling places and pulling out a load of items which I thought might work. I took a lampshade, old copper piping, a blender, vase and some knives and forks. It was a bit of trial and error at first, I’m more used to making pretty-looking and perfect-sounding pieces, but the aim was for them to function for the performance at the Royal Albert Hall.”
He created a bell made with copper pipe and a food blender, a standard trombone from a vase and a bass trombone from a lampshade.
He saw his creations being played on Saturday as part of the Proms season, with James Casey, principal trombonist at the BBC Concert Orchestra, playing one of his instruments.
Conductor Charles Hazlewood led the challenge of working with instrument makers like Michael to transform junk, broken furniture and the contents of roadside skips into an orchestra of instruments.
He conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra on Saturday, playing only scrap instruments, in the hope of performing a flawless medley of three classical pieces – including an arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.
Michael watched the concert along with thousands of other music lovers, adding: “It was very enjoyable, we’d put the work in so knew they could be played, so I could enjoy it with the audience.”
Michael, who leads a team of 11 in Honley, played tuba when he was younger but swapped to musical instrument-making after leaving school.
Some of the world’s top musicians play his instruments, including members of the Berlin Opera, Black Dyke Mills and jazz musicians.
He’s also hosting a gig with Mark Nightingale and Conrad Herwig at the Box Office Bar in Holmfirth on August 22.