Well done BYM24 Ewan Metcalfe on an excellent concerto performance.

29th January 2024

The Bardi Young Musician concerts go from strength to strength!

Last Saturday’s concert saw 2024 winner Ewan Metcalfe give a breathtaking performance of Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 1 to a large audience in what has become the Bardi Young Musician concert’s annual home – Holy Trinity Church in Regent Road, Leicester. 

The Orchestra revelled in the excellent acoustic of the venue with some well-chosen pieces from the classical repertoire, beginning with the overture to Mozart’s opera Cosi fan Tutte and the second half was taken with a comparatively rare opportunity in recent times to hear Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 in the concert hall. 

In a speech at the end of the first half Vice Chair Mary Moore said she was heartened, with all the gloomy news in the media about music education in schools, that Bardi have been able run the competition since 2012 with a consistently high standard of winners. 

In a surprise move she invited Joseph Geary, last years’ BYM winner who was in the audience for the concert, to present the trophy to Ewan neatly rounding off the competition.

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Bardi Wind at DMH a great success for heroes of the RNLI

12th June 2023

The Bardi Wind Orchestra rounded off their 30th anniversary season with their annual charity gala concert at De Montfort Hall on Sunday, this year fundraising in aid of the RNLI.

Well known in recent times from the BBCs programme ‘Saving Lives at Sea’ the Royal National Lifeboat Institution was the chosen charity for the Bardi Wind Orchestra’s annual charity gala in association with the Oadby and Wigston Lions Club. The charity receives no government funding but for almost 200 years has been saving lives from water in the most challenging conditions. Conductor David Calow chose a range of music appropriate to the invaluable work of the RNLI volunteers with the title ‘Heroes! Action and adventure from the Movies’. 

The BWO were joined by vocal soloists David Morris and Rebecca Temple who featured in each half and the programme was compered adeptly by  Colin Blackler with informative introductions to each piece (allowing the players to get their collective breath back). After the interval Colin had the opportunity to interview RNLI volunteers Brad and Alex who had travelled all the way from RNLI Skegness to be at the event. On stage, on probably the hottest afternoon of the summer so far, volunteer Alex wore his RNLI yellow crew equipment, of which the life jacket on it’s own weighed more than a heavy weekly shop. Launch authority Brad told us that he had come off a volunteer shift at 6am that morning! 

The programme for the concert included appropriate titles such as The Magnificent Seven, Band of Brothers, the Superman March and The Great Escape but perhaps the most appropriate piece had to be The Padstow Lifeboat, a march by English composer Malcolm Arnold complete with fog horn effects (thanks to a very good imitation by BWO lower brass).  Scene stealer for this number was David Calow who strode on to the stage and conducted in a fetching pair of borrowed bright yellow RNLI wellies!  The only thing missing was a lifeboat and even one of those (well, a model) was parked outside De Montfort Hall in the sunshine. Another great BWO concert to launch summer for the enthusiastic audience.

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Bardi Workshop Day 2023 – Sibelius Symphony No.2

22 February 2023

The third Bardi Orchestra Workshop day has now cemented the event firmly into the Orchestra calendar.

Players gathered at Holy Trinity Church in eager anticipation of a day to be spent rehearsing and playing Sibelius Symphony No. 2 (a work which is programmed for a concert in the 2023-24 season). As we found when playing at the Bardi Young Musician concert in January the acoustic in Holy Trinity church is excellent and the larger orchestra assembled for the Sibelius sounded superb. Having worked through the whole symphony by four o’clock it was time to share an informal concert play through for members of the Bardi Friends and the Bardi Principals’ Club who listened attentively in the comfortable seats in the balcony at the church. Music Director Claus Efland wrote afterwards ‘The playing was of sheer passion and on such extremely high level. The dedication and commitment was simply stunning. I would like to see any Orchestra who after a couple of hours rehearsal could match that magnificent play through that we did at the end.’ 

David Blaine and the team at Holy Trinity Church went out of the way to be really helpful, supplying an excellent working lunch, and tea and coffee throughout the day. Taking a break after their work had finished players were able to enjoy some time together simply socialising (a luxury that doesn’t happen very often after busy rehearsals) and watch a film of archive material kindly put together by Alan Hames the Orchestra’s Sound Technical Adviser and Orchestra Manager Robert Calow.

The day was rounded off with a first class meal, again supplied by the Holy Trinity team, in the wonderful surroundings of the church transformed into a very special restaurant. Our particular thanks have to go to the Holy Trinity team for another memorable occasion!

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Bardi Wind Orchestra makes a triumphant Christmas return

20th December 2022

It was three years since the last Bardi Wind Orchestra Christmas concert in December 2019 so a return to the Holy Trinity Church stage was an eagerly anticipated event.

In the 30 years that BWO have existed there have been 21 Christmas concerts and it has often been said that ‘Christmas begins properly with the Bardi Wind Christmas concert’. The 2022 Christmas concert had a fresh new look about it with the theme ‘Christmas at the Movies’ but a glance at the programme revealed that lots of old favourites were there with seasonal readings by John Florance and a finale with the enthusiastic singing of ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ almost bringing down  the roof of a beautifully decorated (a forest of Christmas trees)  Holy Trinity church. 

Film favourites with a Christmas flavour like ‘The Nightmare before Christmas’ and ‘The Polar Express’ were sprinkled through the programme.  In line with the whole refresh of Bardi branding this autumn the programmes and publicity had a really festive flavour. But the real joy was seeing familiar faces who have attended previous concerts, some since the first one, appearing at the ticket desk.

It was good to see new faces in the Orchestra too, alongside long-serving members there were a number of up-and-coming younger players who were relishing the opportunity to play with this high profile group. Received opinion in the foyer after the concert and since was that the sound has never been better. Christmas has properly begun!

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Bardi Wind celebrate the Jubilee in style at Hollycroft Park

5th June 2022

The Bardi Wind Orchestra got the Queen‘s Platinum Jubilee celebrations off to a fine start in Hinckley at the beginning of the long Bank Holiday weekend. 

After a highly successful appearance at the town’s Hollycroft Park last summer, the BWO were invited to return for this special concert. Joined by popular vocal soloists Jenny Saunders and David Morris, and conducted by BWO’s conductor David Calow, the Orchestra held the attention of the picnicking audience until late in the evening. The weather was very kind and players eyes widened as more and more audience poured into the park before the concert – last year’s audience was large but this year exceeded all expectations. Those who could get a spot in front of the Orchestra happily sat under the trees at the side (where the view was limited) with their picnics and sang along anyway! As this was a free event it was not possible to get an accurate count of the audience, but it was thought to be several thousand (possibly ten thousand) and certainly the BWO’s biggest audience ever!

If you missed the concert, don’t worry the Orchestra will be doing it all over again at De Montfort Hall in Leicester on Sunday 12 June at 3pm. 

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The Bardi’s Workshop Day 2022

16 February 2022

For their first get together in 2022, Bardi players enjoyed a workshop day at Holy Trinity Church concentrating on rehearsing pieces for the ‘Fantasy and Adventure’ concert on 20 March. After the carefully managed covid-secure play days held during the pandemic, something a bit more special was needed, so the highly successful formula followed back in 2019 was dusted off to the great enjoyment of all concerned. 

Claus Efland flew in from Berlin for a day of concentrated rehearsal punctuated by a delicious lunch. This was followed by a drinks reception during which everyone was treated to a special film of archive footage of Bardi performances (in the UK and Europe) dating back to the late 1980s compered by Orchestra Manager Robert Calow.  The day was rounded off with an excellent evening meal interrupted by a power cut during which candles were handed out by the HT staff which added to the fun.  Huge thanks to everyone at Holy Trinity for making us so welcome.

We are now off to a flying start for ‘Fantasy and Adventure’…

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Stage & Screen Favourites – what a show!

29th November 2021

Snow didn’t stop play!

What a show! Thank you to everyone who braved the elements to attend a sparkling concert of music from Stage and Screen on Sunday.

From the start there was a festive atmosphere. The audience, quite a number of first time concert-goers, waiting for covid passes to be checked in the falling snow before the concert at De Montfort Hall seemed to be enjoying themselves. After the concert, excited young audience members rushed off on to the grass outside hall to make snowballs, making this a really memorable pre-Christmas treat. Faces in the audience lit up and feet tapped as people recognised their favourites from Star Wars to West Side Story and the buzz of excitement continued long afterwards in a string of enthusiastic online messages received by the Orchestra.

It was evident too that the Orchestra were enjoying themselves and Music Director Claus Efland, safely back in Berlin the next day said “it was a great concert and I really enjoyed it, the Orchestra sounded impressive with so many fine musical details”.  The pictures say it all with vivid special lighting adding to the overall effects.    

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Stage & Screen Favourites preview

22nd November 2021

Stage & Screen Favourites
Sunday 28 November at 3pm
De Montfort Hall

Lights, camera, action!

Following the successful 2021-22 season opening concert in October, the Bardi are back on Sunday 28 November with a completely contrasting concert programme featuring music from stage and screen. Judging by the levels of enthusiasm by players and Music Director at Sunday’s rehearsal for the concert it looks set to be a real winter warmer. 

The programme opens with the Imperial March from Star Wars followed by other film music from John Williams, and also includes perennial favourites from James Bond films, Pirates of the Caribbean and the iconic Dam Busters March.  Musicals are represented by, amongst others, Les Miserables, The Sound of Music, West Side Story and The Phantom of the Opera. Local entertainment celebrity Martin Ballard will take a break from preparing his lines for the upcoming De Montfort Hall Christmas Pantomime to compere the programme which will be conducted by Bardi’s Musical Director Claus Efland.

Orchestra Manager Robert Calow commented ‘the Orchestra are so enthusiastic about playing this wonderful music for the audience to enjoy as they listen to the West End stage and Big Screen favourites’.

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Bardi Clarinet Quartet performs for the Literary and Philosophical Society

17th October 2021

When not on stage at De Montfort Hall, the talented members of the Bardi can be found performing regularly across the county! Members of the clarinet sections of the Bardi Symphony and Wind Orchestras were in action on Monday 4 October 2021. Performing as the Bardi Clarinet Quartet, Christine Taylor, Mark Wilson, Verity Morris and Peter Fielding played at Leicester’s New Walk Museum and Art gallery where they were guests of the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society, following the 2021 AGM of the Society. The quartet played a wide ranging programme from Mozart and British Folk Songs to Lennon and McCartney.

The recital was introduced by Orchestra Manager Robert Calow, himself a clarinettist but on this occasion in the role of host, who introduced the various musical items and provided some historical background to the Clarinet. Interestingly there were several sizes of Clarinet on show during the performance for the appreciative audience of ‘Lit and Phil’ members who joined in person in the Art Gallery and on Zoom.   

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The Bardi return to De Montfort Hall

13th October 2021

The Bardi really are back!

There was a real buzz of excitement both backstage and front of house on Sunday 10 October when Bardi players and audience were clearly very pleased to be back sharing live music in De Montfort Hall. Covid safety measures put in place by De Montfort Hall were smoothly and unobtrusively conducted and small queues outside in the sunshine added to the slightly festive atmosphere as concertgoers greeted friends they hadn’t seen for a very long time.

The concert was a resounding success with appearances by local soloists not to mention that local celebrity the De Montfort Hall organ which, played by Leicester Cathedral Organist David Cowen, reminded us of just what a powerful instrument it is in Saint-Saëns’s Organ Symphony. The Bardi were delighted to welcome back violinist Amalia Young, a former Bardi Young Musician winner, who gave a memorable performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in the first half of the concert.  

Here’s to the next concert in De Montfort Hall (Sunday 28th November at 3pm for your diary!).

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