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The Darlington Orchestra Winter Concert is on Saturday 26th January 7.30pm in the beautiful Central Hall at Darlington’s Dolphin Centre.

For the first time, Darlington Orchestra is giving free tickets to a group of people from the UK-wide charity Streetwise Opera – a performing-arts charity for people who are or have been homeless. Orchestra member Hayley Jenkins is working as a composer in residence this year with two of the charity’s groups in Teesside, one at MIMA and the other at the Methodist Asylum Project. She has developed a series of writing workshops with the groups to help start an opera chorus, which uses their ideas and words.

Hayley says: “It has been challenging but the people involved absolutely love the freedom of singing, performing and expressing themselves. It is very easy to have assumptions about people who are homeless, but they should have a voice just like anyone else.”

The participants can also take work placements as part of the programme, they have access to expert social workers and have the opportunity to see opera and live music performances.

Darlington Orchestra Conductor David Plews said: “We are delighted to be able to offer some complimentary tickets for our Winter Concert to the singers at Streetwise Opera. We are seeking to offer access to a relaxing and enjoyable concert at a time when relaxing and enjoyable cultural experiences may be in short supply.”

This will be an accessible event packed with music of the past few centuries including various musical styles ranging from Haydn to Smetana and Tchaikovsky, and from Mozart to Mancini. A printed programme will be available for concert-goers, with a specially written version provided for 5- to 11-year-olds.

Darlington Orchestra is an inclusive community group for audiences and members alike and welcomes musicians of all ages and backgrounds. The orchestra is keen to expand further during the coming years and there are vacancies for players of most instruments but waiting lists for some sections.

David adds: “As musicians, we all know how at difficult times in life music can become even more important. Darlington Orchestra is proud to offer a bursary scheme for players who may find the orchestra membership fees a barrier to their involvement. If you’re a talented player who needs some financial help to cover orchestra membership fees, please email us on admin@darlington-orchestra.org.uk.”

For further details of the Winter Concert programme, during the next few weeks, follow the orchestra on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Special guests in January will be Cockerton Prize Silver Band
  • Tickets £7/£5 from the Dolphin Centre, Horsemarket, Darlington DL1 5RP
  • Tel: 01325 406000
  • Available online (with booking fee) tinyurl.com/Concert26Jan
  • Cash-only ticket sales on the day at the concert

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