Words by Steph Hall

A MAGICAL piece of festival atmosphere was created at Poole Lighthouse on Saturday afternoon for a relaxed and accessible concert for all.

Allowing an opportunity for unrestricted noise and movement gave a unique opportunity for so many of us with disabilities to enjoy the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s incredible and inspiring music without the formalities of sitting quietly in the usual formal concert hall setting.

The auditorium seating was packed away in favour of a funky “grass” carpet and sunny lighting, with concert-goers instead bringing along their camping chairs, picnic rugs, pillows and even their favourite soft toys in some cases.

An enjoyable programme of crowd-pleasers began with the infamous William Tell Overture by Rossini, delighting the children present who immediately started to gallop around the hall or on parents’ laps. Next a selection from Bizet’s Carmen brought a vibrant Spanish flavour to the afternoon. Other pieces included Mendelssohn’s 3rd symphony and Minuet by Boccherini. Elgar’s Enigma Variations, including the iconic and powerful Nimrod, were a personal favourite.

The final two pieces, Land of Hope and Glory and Johann Strauss’s Radetzky March gave the audience a chance to sing and clap along happily. The audience reactions brought big smiles to the musicians themselves and the always chirpy Marta Gardolinska who conducted in her usual brilliant style.

What a joy to see classical music brought to so many new listeners in this way and hopefully BSO concertgoers of the future. A delightful way to spend a Summer’s afternoon.