Outdoor workshops herald community orchestra for Hoxton

Yousuf Ali Khan a member of The Grand Union Orchestra which is launching a new community orchestra for Hoxton and Shoreditch

Yousuf Ali Khan a member of The Grand Union Orchestra which is launching a new community orchestra for Hoxton and Shoreditch - Credit: Courtesy of Grand Union Orchestra

A new inter-generational community orchestra for Hoxton and Shoreditch will launch this month with taster gigs and workshops.

Two free open access sessions in Hoxton Community Gardens will mark the beginning of the amateur and professional orchestra, with the local community invited to "dig out and dust off their musical instruments, and come together to jam, rehearse and perform."

Featuring performances from Grand Union Orchestra's world instrumentalists from Africa, South East Asia, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe, it's hoped the venture will "gather pace" over Summer and Autumn under the expert leadership of GUO's musicians, working towards public performances in 2022.

The Grand Union Orchestra performs at Hackney Empire in 2009

The Grand Union Orchestra performs at Hackney Empire in 2009 - Credit: Courtesy of Grand Union Orchestra

Director and composer Tony Haynes co-founded The Grand Union Orchestra in 1982 to celebrate cross-cultural music making in all its diversity, foregrounding the culture and musical heritage of the UK's underrepresented ethnic minority communities.

Prevented from running their usual activities during the pandemic, the lifting of Covid restrictions means they can once again perform together. The orchestra's seventh annual summer school for young musicians aged 12-21 years is taking place from July 26-29 at Oxford House in Bethnal Green.



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“The Grand Union Orchestra has been based in East London all its life, so whatever our national touring commitments, we have always produced projects involving our wonderfully varied local communities," said Tony Haynes.

"So we are delighted to be commissioned by Hackney to put together a community orchestra with people who live in Hoxton and Shoreditch. It’s been held up by the pandemic, but at last gets going this month. Anyone interested in taking part should bring along an instrument and join us in Hoxton Community Garden and get the Market rocking with rhythms from Africa, Latin-America, the Caribbean – all over the world, in fact!”

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A spokeswoman added: "It is our privilege to play a part in the East End’s cultural community recovery and we hope a series of free workshops open to all local musicians young and old will play a wonderful part in bringing besieged communities together to share music and heal the pain of separations and isolation with active participation.

"Grand Union Orchestra will be leading musical adventures for Summer 2021 that will continue over the next year. The grand plan is the building of an inclusive Community Orchestra for Hoxton & Shoreditch."

The sessions run in Hoxton Community Gardens, 156 Hoxton Street, N1 from 10-2pm on July 24 and 31.

http://grandunion.org.uk/

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