East End’s international festival “could rival Edinburgh”

The organisers of a concert that brought together 50 musicians in a former lighthouse say they want to create a celebration in the East London calendar to rival the Edinburgh Festival.

The Water City Festival Orchestra, an East End community orchestra, staged a performance on Sunday with the Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus and singers from the Grand Union Orchestra.

The concert, which featured classics such as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and extracts from Bizet’s opera Carmen, took place in Trinity Buoy Wharf, Tower Hamlets, London’s only lighthouse – and was rehearsed in just two days.

Concert master Michael Bochmann, who played solo violin in the Four Seasons, said: “I’m truly staggered by how much we achieved in less than 48 hours.

“By focusing on enjoying the music we created an atmosphere that allowed everyone’s skills to shine.”


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The Water City Festival was set up in 2009 with the aim of creating an international East End festival to reflect the area’s rapid development for the Olympic Games.

It is organised by a team including Andrew Mawson, who received an OBE in 2000 for his work at the Bromley-by-Bow community centre.

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Year nine students from St Paul’s Way Trust School, Poplar, designed the concert’s backdrop around the themes of musical instruments and spring growth.

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