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"The Fun Orchestra" Blog

Stay on top of the latest news, events, and announcements from the North Downs Community Orchestra.

‘For One Night Only’ – Sara Young’s final performance with NDCO is a sell-out success

by Jolene Ebrey


The North Downs Community Orchestra’s summer concert was a resounding triumph with all 530 seats sold for the remarkable repertoire. However, For One Night Only was a bittersweet performance too, for it was the last to be led by Music Director, Sara Young, who is stepping down after five years.

From lively popular tunes to haunting melodies, the event at the Millenium Theatre, Woldingham School, on Sunday 26 May, thrilled and moved the audience in equal measure.

The rousing renditions included music from the James Bond and Pirates of the Caribbean films, as well as a whimsical and poignant tune from Forrest Gump where falling scales passed between different sections of the orchestra.

Stravinsky's Finale from Firebird Suite and Tchaikovsky's Symphony 5, Finale were among the classical orchestral arrangements, while the iconic Smooth from Santana and The Who’s Pinball Wizard featuring the fabulous guest drummer Marc Fraser, turned the performance to classic rock.

The haunting Theme from Schindler’s List featured a solo from violinist Charlotte Pearse while Fantasia on Greensleeves showcased the orchestra’s harpist, Margaret Watson, and woodwind section.

Pam Deverill, chair and double bass player, said: “Sara has been an inspiration and it has been a privilege to have her at our helm, leading our wonderful, enthusiastic musicians to a 530-seat, sell-out theatre concert, a far cry from our humble beginnings in a Scout hall.

“NDCO is going through a change now, but Sara has given us the tools to face the future with confidence and belief in ourselves, and one thing we can safely say is that we will always be the fun orchestra.”

When founded in 2016, NDCO had just 12 members, there are now 60. Sara was appointed Musical Director in July 2019. She began playing the violin aged 6, and has had a fine career playing, teaching and directing music at several schools, colleges and orchestras.

Sara said: “It has been a pleasure to support each and every one of our orchestral members on their own personal musical journey and to see them flourish and evolve. I have immensely enjoyed my five years here with these fun and friendly musicians, and I wish them every success for the future.”


Patron Rainer Hersch said: “What an extraordinary, wonderful concert. Quite the best I have ever played in. Congratulations to everyone involved, particularly Sara.”


NDCO is open to all adult musicians who play an orchestral instrument in the North Downs region of Surrey, Kent, East & West Sussex, and South London.







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