The summer series is our largest Rusties event of the year, with up to 150 musicians taking to the stage at Lighthouse, Poole. And the repertoire was fun (and challenging!) with Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances and Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No 2, as well as Verdi’s Nabucco Overture. Participants took part in several rehearsals before the final performance on 16 July. We spoke to some players about their highlights from the experience…

One said: “Stepping up to be desk partner to Amyn Merchant, BSO Leader, in the First Violins for the concert performance of the Rachmaninov Symphonic Dances. That will stay as possibly my best musical experience ever in my memory. My extra shot of adrenalin didn’t subside afterwards for nearly two days!”

The Rachmaninov piece was a firm favourite with another saying “Playing the Rachmaninov! Always sends shivers down my spine”. Another described the best moment for them as “Playing Symphonic Dances with an orchestra in public. Takeaway went something like: The notes are the least important thing, think about dynamics, timings, counting rests, where you are in the ensemble first.”

When talking about what they gained from the experience one said it “gives me encouragement to improve”, while another expressed that I’ve got confidence back in my playing.”

The theme of confidence returning was strong with another player saying “The concert was amazing and, musically, I feel much more confident. The BSO members were incredibly encouraging and supportive. Peadar Townsend was an amazing conductor and made all of us amateurs feel valued. All in all it was a very positive experience.”

And as always the event was an opportunity to bring people together from all walks of life. A highlight for one person was “Seeing my friends who also take part coming from far and wide and the experience of playing with the talented BSO players” while another said I enjoy meeting other Rusty players and it’s really inspiring to get coaching and play with the professionals.”

We’re so pleased participants enjoyed the day and can’t wait to see you all again next year! For more information about the work BSO Participate click here