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Review: The Relaxed Concert by Orchestra of the Swan at Town Hall Birmingham

Orchestra of the Swan, Town Hall, Symphony Hall and Autism West Midlands delivered this relaxed performance

“Sit still, don’t talk, no fidgeting, no ­ we can’t go yet . . . “ and so on.

This can continue as most children are rarely expected to sit through classical music. But tables turn if the presentation is lively, none ­scary and fun.

This Sunday afternoon concert organised by Autism West Midlands with support and cheery help from The Orchestra of The Swan introduced families of all ages to familiar snippets of classical music from stage, cinema, TV, light classical etc.

It was the very first UK time for this orchestral adventure. Lights not fully bright, doors all open, a quiet area backstage . . .all thoughtfully provided for a mostly intrigued audience. All ages from new born to curious teens and delighted adults.

It is special to note that splendid ventriloquist James Rowney is autistic, secretly confessing to 50% nerves and 50% excitement for this was his very first appearance as a star. He was helped by fun puppet friend Jim, who makes delightful connections with young and old. Much laughter, but also quiet concentration throughout for the most part.

Conductor David Curtis headed his smiling troops who showed their various instruments to listeners after an informal question time following the main programme, with many instrumentalists coming to meet the audience. Let us hope that this will be the first of many such lovely, short, specially­ targeted concerts.

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