Ever wondered how an orchestra works? What is it that determines its layout and how it plays together? Polo is going to see the Ulster Orchestra on Saturday night, so he’s been doing some research on the topic so that he can impress his friends and his wife Annie with his knowledge… although Annie says that he should just go and enjoy the music, and not worry about having to know what it happening, but when Polo gets an idea in his head, it’s impossible to deter him.
According to his reading, an orchestra is made up of four sections, called the strings, the woodwind, the brass and the percussion made up of the different instruments for each. The orchestra is led by a conductor, who has the job of making sure everyone is playing at the right time and that everyone is working together. The conductor stands at the front of the orchestra, and right in front of him is the string section, because the violins, which are string instruments, usually play the main part of the music and so need to work closely with the conductor. The brass instruments, like the trumpets and horns, and the percussion instruments, like the drums and xylophones, sit at the back of the orchestra the furthest away from the conductor. This is not because the need less help, but because they are the loudest and it is important for each section to balance properly to make sure all parts of the music can be heard.
Polo was amazed to find out that when the conductor dances on the podium, he isn’t getting into the music a bit too much… in fact, he is waving a stick called a baton which somehow makes all of the player know where they are in the music. Polo doesn’t quite understand how that works, but as long as his friends don’t ask too many questions about what a tempo is, he should be fine.
This Saturday, the Ulster Orchestra are performing a Burn’s Night celebration in partnership with the Ulster Scots Agency, starting at 7:45pm in the Waterfront Hall. With guest singer Emily Smith and many toe-tapping pieces to liven the evening, as well as drummers, pipers and dancers galore, Polo is assured of a great evening.
Tickets are on Test Drive the Arts NI now, click here to get your free tickets and join Polo for this fantastic evening!