#APOplanets – our best day

There have been many memorable days for APO, over its 18-year history; the day of #APOplanets eclipsed them all.

We’re busy putting together the evaluation resources to report back to the Arts Council on what we did with our award of National Lottery funding towards the relaxed performances. We’ll publish our findings as part of our efforts to promulgate good practice from the event. In the meantime, here’s some reactions we’ve captured from social media, along with a link to a lovely review from The Wokingham Paper. We’ve also published MD Andrew’s introduction from the programme, as a blog post.

Firstly, some reaction from Emma, one of our poetry competition winners, who read her poem about Neptune, the Mystic

Audience reaction

Both [families] said that it was amazing, and that their children really enjoyed it. They said the fact that it was relaxed made it so much less stressful for them, especially when their respective children were standing up, making noises along with the orchestra and attempting to conduct it from the chairs. Both families have said thank you so much for thinking of them and giving them a chance to attend a concert without the stress of trying to get their children to sit still and keep quiet!

Headteacher of a local primary school

The child LOVED it. Eyes on stalks, only half sitting on her chair the whole time to best see what the orchestra were doing. Her face at the beginning when she heard the full sound for the first time – that’s a moment I’ll always remember. Also she was excited to see Becci Louise again (she flew Becci’s parrot once at a fringe show 😂). And when you all started singing she mouthed at me “but where are they???” Genius…

Friend of a member of Tamesis Chamber Choir, who provided the ethereal offstage singing at the end of Neptune, the Mystic.
Members of Tamesis Chamber Choir being conducted via video link at the end of The Planets

Thank you for a wonderful concert on Saturday. We all enjoyed it and I thought the idea of signing it was fabulous. The length of it was perfect for young children…APO is a wonderful asset to the musical life of Reading.

Jonathan Bowler, music teacher at Reading Blue Coat School and parent of two young children who enjoyed the show!

Orchestra reaction

…the young girl who accosted me after the 4:30 show with her two younger siblings, gushing about how much she loves the cello, and get favourite planet was Venus, and she loves Greek and Roman mythology and The Planets is the best piece of music ever, and she’s going to learn the cello, could she have a go…I think we made an impact on her (she must’ve been about 8)!

Mel Hopkin, cello

The boy at the 4.30pm who was a wheelchair user in front of the cellos and seeing his face in absolute delight all the way through it. When he was leaving with his mum in the car park and I asked him if he enjoyed it. A beaming smile and a thumbs up. Heart melts!

Chico Chakravorty, leader

There were so many moments I feel overwhelmed. My students specialising in SEN were really taken with both relaxed performances, notably the signer interpreting the music. Just such a positive amazing experience. Thank you.

Dr. Helen Julia Minors, trumpet

I was chatting to the family who sat at the front by the violins at the 2pm who have never been able to go to a concert because nobody accommodates their requirements. She was so delighted we’d thought of them.

Katie Hepworth, violin