THE old lady of British concert venues, Sheffield City Hall, clocks up her four score years this autumn and some of the city’s youngest new classical music stars will soundtrack the celebrations.
With the likes of million-selling star Richard Hawley already set to clock in to mark the 80th anniversary of the City Hall across two nights, the City of Sheffield Youth Orchestra will show how the next generation does it when they perform a family concert in the Irwin Mitchell Oval Hall on Saturday, September 22.
Just as the 2012 London Olympics will and has inspired young sports stars so the Barkers Pool landmark has encouraged musicians to strive for greatness, not least with its frequent classical offerings.
As a youngster, Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott once scrawled on the side of the hall a pledge to play there – and the rockers did so before becoming global stadium fillers as one of Sheffield’s biggest musical exports.
Next month, this young orchestra – comprising musicians aged 13 to 21 – will take inspiration from 20th century Britain for a concert that will explore the lives and music of composers such as Sir William Walton and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Matt Bugg will compere the concert and Christopher Gayford will conduct the orchestra, a charitable organisation formed 30 years to give opportunities to young people to rehearse and perform in an orchestra situation.
They will invite the audience to look at the composers’ background, why they wrote the piece and where they may have got their ideas from. The audience will then be able to listen to different sections of the orchestra to see how the piece was built up, before putting it all back together again in a grand finale.
The orchestra, described by Mayor of London Boris Johnson as “the finest ambassadors for the City of Sheffield”, usually meets just three times a year. But it has added this special performance to its calendar and will be joined by members of Sheffield Senior Orchestra to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust and Nordoff Robbins, a music charity dedicated to transforming the lives of vulnerable children and adults.
Meanwhile, the swanky City Hall Ballroom’s flashing floor gets a workout this weekend when the Soul Night Out returns. On Saturday the art deco splendour of three rooms will be marinated in Northern Soul, jazz funk and Tamla Motown with classic tracks from the likes of Manchester’s Twisted Wheel and playlists inspired by local all-nighters including Sheffield’s Romeo and Juliet’s, Samantha’s and Tiffanys, Rotherham Clifton Halls and Donny Top Rank.
The DJ line up includes Richard Searling who hosted a popular soul show for Radio Hallam in the early ’80s.
“To be DJ-ing again in Sheffield, where I started my radio career in September 1980, is indeed a privilege,” he says.
Look out too for the return of a much-missed Ballroom alt-indie night on September 14 with Drop 94, Tea At The Ritz the following afternoon with Brighton Beach in the evening and The Halle’s contribution with a birthday concert on September 29.
Richard Hawley plays on September 23 and October 2.