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What It’s Like to Play on Our Stage

Earlier this month, Wiltshire Music Centre’s Creative Learning Assistant, Megan Warmisham, performed on stage with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. She tells us all...

Last September, I joined the team at Wiltshire Music Centre (WMC) as the Creative Learning Assistant. I first became interested in Arts Management during my music degree at Oxford Brookes University, and joining the team here at WMC has given me the perfect opportunity to further develop my arts administration skills. It’s also given me the opportunity to bring my flute to work and experience playing on the WMC stage.

Having played the flute for 16 years and achieving Grade 8 in 2017, I often practice at home in my spare time and ever since I graduated in 2021, I’ve been actively looking for flute vacancies in local orchestras. These can be hard to come across, given the small number of flautists needed in an orchestra. That’s why, at the beginning of April, I was excited to join Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s (BSO) ‘Rusty and not so Rusty Musicians’ in one of their ongoing projects, known as ‘Symphony in a Day’, which they ran here at the Centre.

The day’s repertoire was César Franck’s Symphony in D Minor, which is one of his best-known orchestral works. Employing a cyclic form, Franck uses a short four bar theme in which the symphony expands and recurs throughout all three movements, across all instrument parts, giving the music a real sense of purpose. The day consisted of a morning of sectionals, followed by an afternoon tutti rehearsal, and culminated with an informal performance of the symphony in full to family and friends. With many players first looking at the symphony on the morning of the event, it was performed at an incredible standard in the afternoon and really made the whole experience; you wouldn’t have thought we had only first looked at the music on the same morning with the sound that was being produced in the afternoon!

Performing at WMC was a lovely treat too – I have previously performed at some fantastic venues such as The Barbican Centre with the National Youth Orchestra, as well as the Jacqueline Du Pré with the Oxford Brookes University Orchestra. Having the opportunity to perform at my workplace for the first time was a very heart-warming experience. With 72 musicians on stage, the performance felt very rewarding knowing that I was alongside so many like-minded people. The sound we were able to produce after only a few hours of specialist coaching from BSO musicians was amazing. The WMC Auditorium is a great space too, both for performers and audience members – it offers a great sightline for audience members as well as performers, and it was lovely to be able to see the audience enjoying the music. I imagine this is a real highlight for our visiting artists, and I really hope I can perform on the WMC stage again in the not-too-distant future.

It was a pleasure to perform alongside talented members of BSO, as well as the many other ‘Rusties’ who had signed up to perform on the day – it was particularly lovely to see and talk to so many older people who had picked their instrument up again just for the occasion, which really showcased this unique performance opportunity. I had a wonderful experience with BSO musicians and my fellow ‘Rusties’, giving myself a reason to get my flute back out of its case!