Music Director John Gibbons is delighted to announce the return of the WSO’s most popular concert of the season, its annual New Years Eve celebration on Sunday, January 2 at 2:45 p.m. at Assembly Hall, Worthing (wtam.uk or 01903 206206) .
John said: âThe Viennese concert of 2019 was the penultimate concert WSO played before the lockdown. It was a wonderful occasion, as always, and a packed house with no seats available.
âIn the midst of all this cheerful music, we didn’t know then what was going on around the corner, nor that it would be a full two years before we could come back and play all those traditional Viennese favorites that the Worthing audience came by. to like.”
The concert features immortal New Year’s classics from the Strauss family and their contemporaries, including the Blue Danube Waltz, Radetsky’s March, Thunder and Lightning Polka, Lanner’s New Year’s Gallop and Waltz of gold and silver of Lehar. John also adds a few less familiar items to the repertoire to keep things fresh.
It comes at a difficult time for everyone, as John puts it.
âThe difficulty is to rebuild our audience at its level. Right before the pandemic, we were absolutely flying. We were an average of 600 people and we were looking really good for our sustainability model of basically running a professional orchestra with the minimum imaginable. But we managed to get it, and then the pandemic struck. I think the problem is terror. It is fear that affects people and it is quite understandable. Our demographics tend towards the elderly, but they are not completely old at all. We have been remarkably successful in involving young people in our educational concerts and so on.
âWe did our first gig in October and we had seats in the boardroom, so the back half of the stalls felt like they had a little more space. It gave an option to people who wanted to have more space around them, but it’s hard to convince people that we have huge airspace there.
âWe are creditworthy because of the model we have and the fact that we did not spend during the lockdown.
âWe don’t have any employees to pay, so yes we are very stable, I’m happy to say that and have to say that the joy of the gig on our return was barely over the moon among the players. They hadn’t been able to play anything like a Beethoven symphony for two years and they were so thrilled.
âAnd the response from the public has also been incredible. I took the stage and it was like a tape reception. It was like I stepped out to fight Mike Tyson in the ring! You wouldn’t have believed the noise, the screams and the screams. I was afraid I hadn’t done my flies!
âBut I think what came out was really the tremendous importance of music to people. And then we had up to 400 people for Remembrance Sunday and it was a huge success. world was very happy with that and now we also have the Viennese concert coming up. We just hope everyone have a good time. I’m not afraid it will be canceled. I’m just afraid the audience will be terrified.
“There will be people who are brave and want to come out and there is a feeling that if we have the manic infatuation now and we do the boosters, then maybe things will be calmer over the news. year, but the problem is public perception and public perception is everything.
âWe’re playing our next gig in February and we’ll have four.
âWe’ll do February, March, April and May and that’s what we really want to do, but who knows what’s going to happen.
âBut there’s a part of me that says we have to be defiant. Although we don’t do any concerts, we don’t lose money, but we exist to organize concerts and people need concerts to cheer themselves up, and my God people need to cheer them up by this moment.
âI think the mental impact on people of not having music in their life has been absolutely huge. It has been terrible.
âBut as an orchestra, I think we will survive. We have enough in our reserves to be able to take a few hits.
âWe have to make sure that the next gig doesn’t destroy us. But I think we are in a good position.