News and Reviews 2018


Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov – The Tsar’s bride Overture
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Violin Concerto in D Major 
Vasily Kalinnikov– Symphony No.1 in G Major

A combination of a 60-strong Southport Orchestra combined with the excellent acoustics of Emmanuel Church in Cambridge Road made for an outstanding performance as the orchestra recently presented its final concert for 2018. The concert focused upon three Russian composers, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (The Tsar’s Bride Overture), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Violin Concerto in D major Op. 35) and Vasily Kilinnikov (Symphony No. 1 in G major), all of which was well received by the increasingly large audience who showed their appreciation with standing ovations.

Jeff Rimmer, the orchestra’s resident conductor, once again displayed his undisguised enthusiasm. This ensured a magical performance from all the players as they did justice to a range of complex pieces, not least Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto featuring guest soloist Andrew Winter. Andrew’s stunning rendition had the audience on the edge of their seats from beginning to end.

Preparation will soon be underway for Southport Orchestra’s 2019 season during which the orchestra will celebrate the tenth anniversary of Jeff Rimmer’s musical directorship. The first concert of the year is scheduled to take place on Saturday 30th March at St. John’s Church, Birkdale PR8 4JP. On this occasion the orchestra look forward to welcoming back guest soloist Tom Kimmance to play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor” in Eb major Op. 73. Work by composers Hector Berlioz and Alexander Borodin will also feature in the programme.


A selection of music from the shows including Gypsy, West Side Story, Chicago, Les Miserables, The Producers, My Fair Lady, the Symphonic Dances from Fiddler On The Roof and starring Peter Forshaw, Jo Howarth, John Delahunty, Natasha Proffitt, Rob MacGregor, Mia Scott, Chris Rimmer, Janine Burrows and the choir of Woodlands Junior School, Formby.

House full signs were in evidence at the Southport Floral Hall and Convention Centre when Southport Orchestra recently performed a concert of Broadway Musicals to a packed audience. Joined by a group of outstanding local performers together with the Woodlands School Choir the concert had people on the edge of their seats throughout the event.

Aimed at a family audience and a wide age range this was the second time the orchestra had timed its concert for a Sunday afternoon and it is fair to say that they are once again overwhelmed with its success.

The scintillating non-stop programme contained no less than 22 individual items of music, all drawn from a range of popular Broadway musicals including My Fair Lady, The Lion King, West Side Story, Fiddler On The Roof, The Producers and Chicago. 
No less than eight outstanding local performers were accompanied by the orchestra as they thrilled the audience singing excerpts from Something Rotten, Aladdin, Betty Blue Eyes, Follies, Chess, Into The Woods, Hamilton, Annie Get Your Gun and City Of Angels. 
The Woodlands School Choir, completely unphased by the huge audience, delighted everyone with songs from Seusical, Whistle Down The Wind and Matilda.

The grand finale provoked a standing ovation from the whole audience as the orchestra, all the soloists together Woodlands School Choir concluded the afternoon with One Day More from the musical Les Miserables. Some said that it was worth attending the concert for this one item alone!

Some feedback we received…

“Thanks so much for a great concert yesterday. It was a huge amount of music to learn and perform. You must all have been exhausted! We thoroughly enjoyed it as did the whole audience. What a crowd – I think you can call it a triumph! “

Congratulations. You all pulled off a concert worthy of anything that you would hear at the BBC Proms. Such a brave choice of pieces, but it paid off handsomely. The vocalists were astonishing and the orchestra did themselves proud, as did the choir. I loved every minute and can hardly wait for the next.”

“The Orchestra totally deserved that standing ovation this afternoon. Glad all their hard work paid off. It was a privilege to be a part of it.”

“You guys were amazing! Goodness me, what a talented bunch you are. Thank you so much for a wonderful afternoon.”

“Well done, what a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon watching an amazing concert. Congratulations to you and everyone involved.”

“What an honour to sing with such an incredibly talented group of musicians and performers! Loved every second.”

“What a superb concert Jeff. You must be so proud of Southport Orchestra and the brilliant soloists plus Be and Woodlands Junior Choir. You were all just fab – what a lovely afternoon. Well done everyone.”


24th March 2018

Nicholai – Merry Wives of Windsor Overture
Reinecke – Flute Concerto in D Major Op 283
Soloist Jane Pembleton-Smyth
Brahms – Symphony No.3 in F major Op 90


Southport Orchestra recently presented its first concert of the 2018 season to a capacity audience at St. John’s Church, Birkdale. Under the baton of their resident conductor Jeff Rimmer and led by their principal violinist Melanie Foster the 65-strong orchestra featured three classical pieces of music composed by Otto Nicolai (The Merry Wives of Windsor), Carl Reinecke (Flute Concerto in D Major Op 283) and Johannes Brahms (Symphony No. 3 in F Major Op 90).

Aimed at pleasing the tastes and preferences of a wide audience of classical music lovers the programme was clearly well received, beginning with The Merry Wives of Windsor featuring the overture to a three-act opera based upon Shakespeare’s comic play. A highlight for many was the Flute Concerto, brilliantly performed by the orchestra’s very own leader of the flute section Jane Pembleton-Smyth. Set in three intricate movements Jane astounded the audience by impeccably playing the whole concerto from memory! Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 is a challenging piece of music for any orchestra, demanding a high standard of musicianship from everyone involved. Southport Orchestra rose to the challenge and the result was a superbly crafted performance of all four movements, thrilling both audience and players alike.

Southport Orchestra’s next performance will be a Broadway Spectacular at The Floral Hall, located in the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre on Southport’s Promenade, on Sunday 22nd July 2018 commencing at 2.30 pm. Tickets are now available at the box office and online. Both the timing and content of this concert are aimed at an all-age audience featuring a selection of music from such classics as Gypsy, West Side Story, Chicago and Les Miserables whilst starring a number of solo performers and the 80-strong Woodlands Junior Choir from Formby who last performed with the orchestra in 2016.

Why not bring the family along and join with the Orchestra as they let their hair down at this fabulous summer concert?