BUDDING musicians raised the roof with the help of actor Martin Clunes at a special concert.

Hundreds of people packed St Mary’s Church in Dorchester to enjoy Music for Youth – Dorset Chamber Orchestra’s annual concert for young people.

Young soloists Charlotte Horner, 13, and Kirsty Chaplin, 15, performed Mozart’s concerto for flute and harp.

Kirsty is a harpist and plays with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and Charlotte is a flautist and has played with the Dorset Chamber Orchestra three times.


Mr Clunes narrated the Ballad of the Village Boy, a poem created by writer Richard Baker based on a Victorian ghost story from Dorset.

Liz Sharma composed the music to go with the piece, described as a ‘fun and interesting story for the young’.

The concert opened with the wonderfully-atmospheric overture Fingal’s Cave by Mendelssohn and ended with Bartok’s Rumanian Folk Dances.

Afterwards Mr Clunes signed autographs and had pictures taken with the young musicians and their families.

He said the youngsters were ‘amazing’ and it had been a lovely afternoon.

He added: “It’s lovely to be here.

“To be a part of the concert was a real thrill. It was a good afternoon.”

The Dorchester Chamber Orchestra (DCO) was founded in 1987 by Barry Gaskell and Dr Robert Jacoby.

Dr Jacoby said: “About 11 years ago I had the idea to get young people more involved in fun music.”

He got in touch with Mr Clunes, who was delighted to get involved.

Dr Jacoby said: “He’s just been fantastic.

“He was a kind of draw to start with, round that we built a series of new works.”

The combination of Mr Baker as writer, Mrs Sharma as composer and Mr Clunes as narrator proved to be a ‘wonderful, classic’ team, Dr Jacoby said.

He said the idea was to give youngsters of school age the opportunity to play their first concerto performance with an orchestra and that both Kirsty and Charlotte were ‘brilliant’ young musicians.

The DCO offers free tickets to under-18s to all their concerts as a way to encourage youngsters to hear great music.

But it’s not all about practising for years, Dr Jacoby said, and to this end they were joined for the concert by the 26-strong group of beginner violinists called the Cerne Cygnets, led by teacher Jane Bultz.

Dr Jacoby said: “It’s giving them the chance to see that you don’t have to practice for 10 years, you can just get stuck in and have fun.”

The next concert given by DCO on May 17 will be a celebrity concert and feature Jennifer Pike on violin.

Jennifer won the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year competition in 2002.

For more details, visit dorsetchamberorchestra.org