A talented Market Harborough orchestra is tuning up to hit the high notes – by bidding to win a top national award.
The Phoenix Saxophone Orchestra and Scotland’s Aberdeenshire Saxophone Orchestra (ASO) have been jointly shortlisted for the highly-coveted Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) accolade.
And they are exhorting people across Harborough to get behind them and vote for them.
The two orchestras are in with a shout of carrying off the prestigious Inspiration Award after launching a pioneering cross-border project, produced for Make Music Day in June.
As part of the initiative, some 17 saxophonists from the two groups joined forces to record an arrangement of the rousing march ‘Entry of the Gladiators’ by Czech composer Julius Fučík.
Phoenix Saxophone Orchestra’s Jane Smith, who plays soprano sax on the piece, said: “Being able to make music across borders in this way has been a real inspiration for all of us.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as joint nominees for this award.
“We all put a lot of work into it - from arranging and rehearsing to recording and video production.”
Jane added: “We’ve learned so much along the way and it’s fantastic that the Royal Philharmonic Society has selected us for this honour.
“We now hope that both saxophonists worldwide and local people will take a moment to vote for us on the RPS website and help put Market Harborough firmly on the musical map!”
The RPS awards are considered to be the highest accolades in the UK for classical music.
They showcase excellence and innovation - and recognition by the RPS is a guarantee of outstanding musical achievement. BBC Radio 3, the media partner for the RPS Awards, say that “for classical music, it’s like the Oscars, the BAFTAs and the Grammys all in one”.
Awards usually go to professional musicians.
A glorious rollcall of past winners stars percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, singer Bryn Terfel and conductor Simon Rattle.
But this year the RPS will present the Inspiration Award exclusively to a non-professional group.
The Royal Philharmonic Society has also recognised other activities undertaken individually by the Phoenix Saxophone Orchestra and Scotland’s Aberdeenshire Saxophone Orchestra over the last year.
“Phoenix recorded a Christmas single raising funds for the charity Voluntary Action South Leicestershire, held online workshops with their patron, renowned sax soloist Gerard McChrystal and even remarkably increased their membership thanks to a committed, creative media campaign throughout the year,” said the RPS.
If you would like to find out more, go to the orchestra’s website at phoenixsax.org.uk/RPS21And to cast your all-important vote, visit royalphilharmonicsociety.org.ukThe deadline for votes is 11am on Thursday September 30.
The winner will be announced at a ceremony at London’s Wigmore Hall on November 1.