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Musical duo win orchestra places


National Star musicians George Roberts and Ben Pollard have won places on the new South West Open Youth Orchestra. Ben, age 23, writes about what it means to him.

I am an enthusiastic keyboard player and have been playing this instrument for 10 years.

I was a student at National Star from 2011 to 2014, and in my third year I was part of the ‘OrcheStar’ initiative. After a year’s ‘hiatus’ I am now back with OrcheStar as a part–time student and living at Foundation House.

On the day of my audition for the South West Open Youth Orchestra, I came in feeling fairly confident (nerves normally aren’t a big issue for me at all).

They already had a keyboard as well as a grand piano set up in the room. The way they do auditions in this orchestra is quite different from any old X–Factor audition. One of the tasks they gave me was to copy chord sequences, which was easy enough.

Another way that it is unique is that you have everyone playing in the room with you, and this gives the tone of the music being made a more joyous and atmospheric feel. It challenges your eyes and ears as I had to keep up with the tempo that the other players set.

I have been successful into getting into the orchestra, so now it’s all fun and games from here! I am now looking forward to the next few months with the orchestra and furthering my personal strengths.

Since my return to National Star life has been pretty amazing. I am in two different OrcheStar groups, as well as a drama class at the Playhouse Theatre in Cheltenham and another dance / drama class which takes place at Bradbury Gardens.

From my experience as a student and beyond, National Star is a fantastic example of encouraging young disabled people to raise the boundaries and go further in showing that disability doesn’t hinder what you are capable of achieving in life.

I feel that me having the opportunity in this orchestra is proof that if you shove the disability away and just carry on with it, there’s no stopping you from achieving what you want to do in life.

Find out more

Discover how our Creative and Performing Arts programme (CAPA) offers learners the opportunity to express themselves and take on new challenges by clicking here.

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