Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In Training 2009!

Last night's "In Training" concert proved to be an exciting night of music, sports, dancing, sing-alongs and cheering. What an exhiliarating experience!

When we first arrived at the Stratford Rex to set up the concert, the venue was an empty, quiet space. Little by little, our lights (what a hassle!), our awesome display boards (orange splendor!), chairs etc. began to make the nightclub look more and more like a proper concert hall. Dress rehearsals went along smoothly, and the place finally had a new buzzing energy. With hardly any time between rehearsals and the start of the concert, we rushed to eat dinner and get all of the final tweaks done here and there.

At last, the seats were filled and Ron and the Orchestra started the whole thing off with Overture for the Games. To close out the first half of the concert, the Ascension Eagles did a great job dancing and throwing stunts to Excalibah's fusion remix of Washington Post called Two Step New Step. Thanks to Shara and Angela for helping us organize the performance, and thanks to all the cheerleaders for pulling out all the stops for our concert.

After the interval, Excalibah announced that Aaron Sugumar won the MixIt! competition and the audience had the chance to listen to his fusion piece booming through the stacks of speakers. Congratulations to Aaron and a big thanks to all of the contest applicants.

After a bit of restless chatter, tenor Mark Wilde took the stage to sing Nessun Dorma and Feniculi, Fenicula. The audience went absolutely crazy for Mark's performances, cheering wildly at the end of Nessun Dorma in particular. Mark did a fantastic job of hitting those high notes. No one in the audience had to be an opera expert to appreciate his talent. Thanks, Mark!

In between the Orchestra's pieces, five local schools' sports teams performed their anthems, which they created with NLO musicians. St Angela's Cricket Team went first, using their bats as percussion and chanting. The team members ended their anthem with "Beat that!" Next, the Cumberland Basketball Team dribbled their basketballs to the beat of its anthem Don't Be Shy on the Court. The audience really enjoyed the b-ballers tricks, spinning the ball and doing figure eights around their legs. The Cumberland Dance Group did a great job as well Raising the Temperature higher higher!

The last two groups, the Look Ahead Luton Road LD Eagles and LD Lionesses, sang both Proud to be a Lioness and Fly Like an Eagle together while doing interpretive dance-type movements. Their performances really gave the audience a case of the warm fuzzies. Ron even lead the whole concert hall in another round of Fly Like an Eagle.

We send thanks out to Jo Doyle with Cumberland, Alidah Beasley with Look Ahead Luton Road and Yvette Jarvis with St Angela's Ursuline School for helping organize the teams. We truly appreciate all of the hard work the groups put in practicing. Another big thanks to all the musicians for their endless enthusiasm and brilliant ideas.

To wrap up the concert, the Orchestra played the well known piece A Football Fan-Tasia. When the audience didn't sing along, Ron got them all on their feet and singing at the top of their lungs, "Here we go! Here we go! Here we goooo!"

We think the audience-orchestra interaction brought an intense sense of community and support for the performers. We could tell the audience loved it, and it opened a lot of minds to the versatility of classical music.

Finally, we hope everyone enjoyed the concert, and we can't wait to read your surveys! Feel free to post comments on our blog or send emails to We look forward to seeing you all again. In the meantime, visit our website If you liked the pieces in the concert, our website has links and downloads of more music and more info about future events and our community projects.


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