Carrickfergus Grammar School’s Rebecca Whiteside played a starring role at the Ulster Orchestra’s Time Travel concert for schools this week (26 February) when the Year 9 pupil conducted Northern Ireland’s only professional symphony orchestra in front of her friends and 750 students from 19 schools in Belfast’s Ulster Hall.
Thirty thousand people of all ages and musical abilities get to know the UO through its education and outreach programmes each year and this week’s free schools’ concert was the first in this year’s education programme.
Pupils (from Year 8 upwards) and teachers from schools in Counties Antrim, Down, Armagh and Tyrone got a chance to hear the story of the orchestra unfold from a small string ensemble to the 60-plus players and their instruments we see today. Telling the story, pupils were treated to a musical journey across time that started in the 17th Century with the music of Purcell and culminated with a taste of the 21st Century with music to the hit movie Pirates of the Caribbean.
“The programme also featured music by Handel, Mozart, Britten and Andrew Lloyd Webber,” Lydia Gamble, the Ulster Orchestra’s Head of Marketing and Development said. “Rebecca, with the help of conductor Alasdair Malloy, conducted Stravinsky’s Infernal Dance from his ballet The Firebird.”
“Time Travel is the fourth year that we have organised this successful event and once again there was a strong uptake from schools. After the Belfast concert we took the Time Travel to Derry’s Millennium Forum were 550 young people from 14 schools across Derry, Tyrone and Donegal enjoyed the concert.
“Not only has the Ulster Orchestra invested in the cultural life of Northern Ireland for 46 years now, it continues to invest in the next generation through education programmes like Time Travel. I hope Rebecca enjoyed her starring role,” Lydia said.