To rephrase less eloquently, if people won’t go to concert halls bring the concert hall to them. Here in a snowy UK The Guerilla Orchestra plan to do just that.
On Friday December the 10th at 6pm orchestras will spontaneously appear in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Cardiff and Liverpool, perform Lalo Schifrin’s Mission Impossible, pack up and leave. The venues will be shopping centres, squares, high streets, parks, wherever.
The aim isn’t just to confront ordinary folk with something mysterious and unfamiliar (an orchestra) but to protest against wide ranging cuts in music education in the UK (the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government have targeted virtually every public expense in attempt to reduce our somewhat paunchy deficit).
Guerilla-in-chief Heather Bird, an orchestral musician and teacher, studied at the Royal Northern College of Music. She’s concerned about how future generations will be able to afford a music degree without the government subsidies she benefited from. If the planned cuts go ahead university tuition fees are expected to rise from around £3000 ($4700) to between £6000-9000 ($9450-$14,200) per year and many local arts organisations and music outreach projects will lose their funding.
“What the axing of all funding to higher education arts institutes says is that art is not important. What we do is not valid. That music plays no valuable part in this society. Of course this is ludicrous. There is no incentive for kids to practice, put in the hard work and dedication if they have no possibility of paying tens of thousands of pounds to go to somewhere like the RNCM.
I went to the RNCM and there’s no way I would have been able to go if I’d had to pay such fees. I had free double bass lessons as a kid and would not have been able to play or attend the heavily subsidised Cumbria Youth Orchestra courses if I’d have had to pay for them. So I would not have been doing what I love today, or teaching kids to do the same.”