News and Reviews 2019

News and Reviews 2019


Emmanuel Parish Church

Edvard Grieg     In Autumn  Overture Op.11

Jean Sibelius    Violin Concerto in D minor Op. 47               

Antonín  Dvořák Symphony No. 7 in D minor Op. 70


The coldest night of the winter so far did nothing to deter a near capacity audience gathering to hear Southport Orchestra’s final concert for 2019. Enhanced by the excellent acoustics of Emmanuel Church in Cambridge Road the 66-strong orchestra was again conducted by Jeff Rimmer, the orchestra’s resident conductor for the past ten years. The guest soloist for the night was Ben Cartlidge.

The concert commenced with Edvard Grieg’s “In Autumn” Op. 11, written when he was just 23 years of age and featuring a series of Norwegian folk songs and dances, many associated with harvest time. This was followed by the violin concerto Op. 47, written by Jean Sibelius in 1904. This complex and demanding concerto was performed by Ben Cartlidge who had the audience, and most of the orchestra, on the edge of their seats throughout an amazing performance, ending with a well-deserved standing ovation! After the interval the orchestra performed the major piece of the evening, the Symphony No. 7 Op. 70. Composed by Antonin Dvořák in 1885 for the London Philharmonic Society this is written in four movements and served to round off an excellent evening of classical music performed to the highest of standards.

The Southport Orchestra is already turning their attention to the 2020 season with the first concert scheduled to take place at St. John’s Church, Birkdale, on Saturday, 28th March. This concert will  feature music by Rachmaninov, Glinka and Mozart. Tickets will be on sale in the New Year. 

Some Quotes from Visitors-

 “I have never been to a classical concert and when I was invited to see Southport Orchestra I was curious.  All I can say is wow!  I have been transformed.  The violin soloist was so talented!  His playing, passion and obvious love of the concerto he was playing was infectious. It was easy to see how accomplished he was but the way he played actually moved me to tears.  The way the orchestra responded to him musically was outstanding from the quietest of sounds, where I could see no one moving but the sound was there, to the heart stopping loudest of sounds.  I will definitely keep an eye out for concerts in the future after seeing this orchestra perform!”

 “I will definitely keep an eye out for concerts in the future after seeing this orchestra perform!”

“ I’m absolutely amazed at the standard of playing [of Southport Orchestra]”

From YouTube

Fab to hear these two inspirational people in conversation. ….. and Ben’s amazing playing.

Proms on the Prom

Sunday 14th July


If standing ovations are anything to go by an audience in excess of 450 were thrilled by Southport Orchestra’s recent summer concert in Southport’s Floral Hall. Aimed at a family audience the concert was once again presented on a Sunday afternoon and contained music to suit every age-group. The concert also marked the 10th anniversary of Jeff Rimmer’s leadership of the orchestra.

Light classical pieces such as ‘Morning, Noon and Night’ and ‘Nimrod’ were interspersed with ‘The Dambusters’ March’ and ‘Montagues and Capulets’. Special guest soloists Louis Dickinson and Chris Rimmer wowed the audience with ‘Vija’ ‘Skyfall’ and ‘Belle of the Ball’. The orchestra’s lead cellist Alistair Ligertwood played ‘Kol Nidrei’ and the Woodlands Junior School Choir received their own standing ovations after singing ‘Food Glorious Food’ and ‘Flash Bang Wallop’! An extra special feature of the concert was two beautifully rendered solos played on the harp by 12-year-old Heather Stark who was totally unphased by the large audience.      

The concert was rounded off with the orchestra accompanying Louis Dickinson singing ‘Rule Britania’ followed by the ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ march giving the audience ample opportunity to wave flags, join in the singing and generally let their hair down at the conclusion of this scintillating programme.  

Proms On The Prom Programme

Franz von Suppé Morning, Noon & Night
Franz Lehár Vilja
Gustav Holst Suite in Eb
Lionel Bart Food Glorious Food
Claude-Michel Schönberg Bring Him Home
Max Bruch Kol Nidrei
Rolando Ortiz Tango Triste
Leroy Anderson The Typewriter
Georges Bizet Habanera
George Gershwin
Arranged by Gerry Brubaker Gershwin By George


Jean Sibelius Finlandia
Frederick Loewe I Could Have Danced All Night
Eric Coates The Dambusters March
Dedicated to Ian Ligertwood
David Heneker Flash, Bang, Wallop!
Edward Elgar Nimrod
Rolando Ortiz Carnaval Brasileiro
Leroy Anderson Belle Of The Ball
Thomas Newman Skyfall
Sergei Prokofiev Montagues & Capulets
Thomas Arne Rule Britannia
Edward Elgar Pomp & Circumstance March No. 1

Heather Stark - Harp Soloist

“The performance was fabulous – my wife and I really enjoyed our afternoon.

The warmth and pleasure , the sheer joy was so good. You must feel extremely proud to be associated with such musical talent .

A big thank you to all concerned.”

“We arrived at the Floral Hall in good time for the concert and what followed was a collection of musical pieces that were absolutely first class. It would be difficult to pick out any favourite pieces as we enjoyed them all. Our sincere thanks to all members of the orchestra and their support workers for putting on this excellent event.

Neither I nor my wife is able to play any musical instruments (or sing in front of an audience!). However, we do like listening to top quality musical pieces and that’s exactly what you collectively delivered. Well done.”

“What another beautiful performance and diverse repertoire from Southport Orchestra. A tremendous collection of mixed emotions were felt. How fitting for Chris to bring a tear to many eyes with his rendition of ‘Bring him home’ on the day the cricket World Cup was brought home. And Jeff is still not out after 10 years. Keep batoning on Jeff! A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. I can’t wait for the next.”

Triumph at St. John’s



Berlioz – Roman Carnival Overture
Beethoven – Piano Concerto No.5 (Emperor) in Eb major Op.73
Soloist: Tom Kimmance
Borodin – Symphony No.2 in B minor

Southport Orchestra March Concert 2019

In March Southport Orchestra began their 2019 season of concerts with a performance at St John’s Church in Birkdale, Southport. As in previous years a large audience was in attendance and they were first treated to a rousing performance of the Roman Carnival Overture Op. 9 by Hector Berlioz. Whilst relatively short this overture is nonetheless challenging to play yet the orchestra made it a fabulous start to the evening.

This created the cue for the evening’s guest soloist to take the stand in the form of the outstanding pianist Tom Kimmance. In fact Tom is a great friend of the orchestra having featured in many of their performances over recent years. The orchestra accompanied him in Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 ‘Emperor’ in Eb major Op. 73. From the minute the orchestra hit the first Eb chord and Tom started his flourishing arpeggio the whole audience knew this was going to be good and the resultant standing ovation at the conclusion was well deserved!

After the interval the orchestra re-formed to present Alexander Borodin’s Symphony No. 2 in B minor. Set in four movements this is without doubt a hard symphony, most particularly for an amateur orchestra. It is full of solo and soli passages, time changes, mood changes, sections of light and shade, not to mention tricky notes and key signatures. Despite this the orchestra rose to the challenge producing what can only be described as an amazing performance.

Rehearsals are already under way in preparation for the orchestra’s summer concert to be held at the Floral Hall, Southport Promenade, on Sunday 14th July. Entitled “Proms on the Prom” this event will commence at 2-30 pm and is aimed primarily at a family audience. Guest soloist will be vocalist Louise Dickenson and the concert will once again feature the Woodlands School Choir from Formby. The afternoon will include classics such as Carmen, Skyfall, Finlandia, Bring Him Home and Pomp and Circumstance No.1. Tickets will be on sale nearer the date.

“Thanks for a great Southport Orchestra concert last night.”

At the end “I just had to stand up and applaud.”

“The Southport Orchestra’s excellent interpretation of the 3 B’s really was the bees knees, under the direction of Jeff Rimmer plus the talents of Tom Kimmance. A thoroughly enjoyable evening.”

“Southport Orchestra were just brilliant under the superbly talented conductor Jeff Rimmer. What a fantastic performance by solo pianist Tom Kimmance also !” 

“We  very much enjoyed the concert. The Beethoven was especially thrilling. Congratulations.”