Church full of children making music

St Paul’s Pre-school and Church welcomed an ‘orchestra with a difference’ to Winchester on 25 March. The Pico Players – a London-based ensemble recently seen on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing – ran an orchestral workshop attended by over 140 children. Participants came from central Winchester and villages as far afield as Hurstbourne Tarrant, Wherwell and Cheriton.

The workshop taught children how to listen for the rhythm, keeping their eyes on the conductor. They learnt the importance of playing quietly as well as loudly and managed to throw balloons in the air whilst playing their instruments!

The workshop culminated with all 140 children performing Edvard Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King. Those already learning instruments played with the orchestra, and others joined in on percussion, playing drums kindly lent by Hampshire Music Services or made by the three- and four-year-olds in St Paul’s Pre-school room earlier in the workshop.

Simultaneously, smaller ensembles performed much-loved classical pieces for the residents of local Brendoncare Homes. In the evening, the orchestra played a selection from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 and Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 to an audience of 150, including children from the workshop.

Event organiser Laura Broadhurst had arranged sponsorship by the Country House Company, Connell Guides and Jude’s Ice Cream, and the funds raised from the concert were shared between the pre-school and the church to continue their work with children in the local community.



That was the best day of my life. – Sammy

We were bowled over by the number of families that attended. It was a wonderful community event and seeing the elation on the children’s (and parents’!) faces when everyone was making music made it all feel very worthwhile. – Laura Broadhurst, Co-Chair of St Paul’s Pre-school

Sitting amongst an orchestra of this size is not an experience one has every day! – Isobel MacLachlan, mother of two children in the workshop

There was a lovely atmosphere, both in the afternoon and evening. The oboist looked after my granddaughter so well. She learnt masses and loved every minute. – Joanna Seligman