Last October, young people were treated to a concert by The Philharmonia Orchestra at The Corn Exchange in Bedford. The Philharmonia Orchestra have a residency in Bedford Borough due to the generous support of local charity The Harpur Trust. Bedford Creative Arts and The Philharmonia Orchestra partnered to reach a wider audience in the town, enabling many young people to experience a live musical performance for the first time.
Kayte Judge, who leads The Culture Challenge and has become a Community Ambassador for The Philharmonia Orchestra ran ‘The Guest List’ for the 2017/18 season, with the aim of helping the Orchestra reach a more diverse audience, representative of our local community. Equally, it is inspiring for people who have never experienced live classical music to enjoy this wonderful performance in the heart of Bedford for free. Kayte was pleased that everyone included in the ticket ballot experienced a classical concert for the first time.
The youngest audience member back in October of last year was 8 year old Roxanna Forth, a pupil at The Hills Academy, who attended with her parents. The experience clearly made an impression on her, likening the performance to a ‘wonderland’. “It made me feel so excited, happy and full of joy” she explained in her review of the evening. “My favourite part was the Virtual Reality because you could see how it happens and how they do it! I do think people my age would like to go. I think I could persuade other people by telling them all the exciting things that have happened, I would love to go again!”
The Philharmonia symphony orchestra perform concerts in Bedford between October and May each year as part of The Guest List ticket ballot. “We want to reach a more diverse audience and inspire them to come and enjoy great live music with us, so we are offering free tickets to local people.” Like the clear enjoyment experienced by young Roxanna, it is obvious that experiencing live, classical music can be a formative experience, and for The Philharmonia, The Guest List initiative has enabled them to play to a diverse range of people who may have otherwise never considered experiencing classical music.
Emily McGroaty from the Philharmonia explains why partnerships like this with Bedford Creative Arts are so valuable: “I got involved with The Guest List because it’s a great free-ticket scheme that allows us to welcome new audiences to our season of concerts at Bedford Corn Exchange. We wanted to reach a more diverse audience and inspire them to come and enjoy great live music with us, so we offered 75 free tickets to local people via Kayte Judge, our dedicated community ambassador. Working with Bedford Creative Arts has been invaluable as it’s opened the way for us to meet and engage with a more diverse audience .We hope to see some of you again next season at Bedford Corn Exchange!”
If you would like to know more about The Guest List, or to put your name forward to be included in the ballot, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.