Published: 07/03/2016 10:41 - Updated: 09/03/2016 10:31

Recruits wanted for new Highland orchestra

Sue Lightman
Sue Lightman

EYE doctor Sue Lightman has set her sights on helping create a new orchestra for the Highlands.

Since moving from Surrey to the Inverness area, the specialist has been frustrated in finding regular opportunities to play music with others, something that has been a part of her life since she was 11 years old.

Now she is appealing to fellow amateur performers to join her in a new ensemble that will give adults a chance to play in public and help support youngsters in their musical education.

Lightman, who has been a cellist ever since hearing the late Jacqueline du Pré on the radio and deciding she wanted to play the same instrument, has played with amateur ensembles for most of her adult life, other than a few years when she live in the United States.

Latterly she was a member of the Woking Symphony Orchestra, which has over 60 members and performs regularly in the Surrey area.

However, since moving to the Highlands she has discovered that local classical ensembles in the region either have no vacancies at present or perform only infrequently.

"Since moving here, I’ve met a few other musicians who would like to play more frequently," she said.

"So I thought: Why don’t we see if we can do that and set something up?

"I’m no major musical asset, I’m just a reasonable amateur orchestral cellist, but I am enthusiastic and good at organising things."

After making contact with the local classical music community, including an appeal in the monthly Inverness Chamber Music newsletter, Lightman has planned a first meeting for all those interested at the Kenneth Street Hall, Inverness on the morning of Saturday April 9.

But although she is looking for adult musicians, Lightman also hopes to make contact with local music teachers and involve local youngsters.

"I thought it would be nice to have a community based orchestra who would also give older children a place to play," she said.

"It’s an experience I have had before, seeing older children help younger children learn to play and also give the older children the experience of playing in an orchestra. I would love to see seven, eight or nine-year olds playing in a youth group."

The initial two hour session will offer participants the chance to play and explore the Haydn Divertimento in D, with Katy Bell taking the lead cello part,

Lightman also hopes to get enough performers together to play Gabriel Fauré’s Pavane in arrangement for four cellos, and also has Schubert’s Octet in F major as another of her musical aims.

However, the future repertoire of the ensemble, like its name, will be for all its members to decide.

"Those who want to join will have a major say in what we play," she said.

"I have no strong views. I would be happy to play choral music with the Choral Society or film music, or something that might appeal to younger people, but it would be nice to work towards a concert."

One of the biggest problems and expenses faced by any amateur ensemble is finding a suitable venue in which to rehearse and perform, but the as yet unnamed orchestra has already found a home thanks to the support of Inverness’s St Andrew’s Cathedral and music director Bert Richardson.

"The other expense is a conductor," Lightman added.

"We hope we could find a music enthusiast first and foremost, but we would like to offer them a modest payment. We wouldn’t expect them to do it for nothing."

• The initial meeting of the ensemble will be on Saturday April 9 from 10am to noon in Kenneth Street Hall, 9–11 Kenneth Street, Inverness IV3 5NR.

The initial performance will be of the Haydn Divertimento in D, with Katy Bell taking the lead cello part,

Anyone interested in joining in or in future membership of the ensemble can contact Sue Lightman on

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