News: Amaretti Chamber Orchestra Celebrates at the Wycliffe

Celebrating 10 years of music making and fundraising by Cheadle Hulme based Amaretti Chamber Orchestra.

Ten years ago, after animated discussions in an Indian restaurant, a group of friends decided to start a small string orchestra in Cheadle Hulme. Their aims were to perform music to as high a standard as possible whilst raising money for charity.

10 years later, this same group of friends, joined by some 30 others, were celebrating the 10th birthday of Amaretti Chamber Orchestra at the Wycliffe Hotel Edgeley.

We were very well looked after by owner Mark Tavini and his team. They laid on a fine spread and in between courses, we enjoyed a raffle and a quiz on the history of Amaretti.

Since the inaugural concert in September, 2004 which raised £900 for Francis House, the orchestra has gone from strength to strength. It has performed 49 concerts, won “ Best Music event “ at Buxton Fringe Festival  3 times, and raise £32,000 for various charities, including St Ann’s Hospice, Christie Hospital, Amnesty International, Alzheimer’s Society and NSPCC.

Most concerts are held at St. Andrew’s church in Cheadle Hulme.  The orchestra is supported by Cheadle Hulme School, where Leader and Founder Brigid Hemingway teaches mathematics.

The high standard of performance attracts top soloists including the highly acclaimed London violinist Rolf Wilson who played the Piazzolla Four seasons with the orchestra in May this year. For this concert over £12000 was raised for Batten Disease Family Association. Rolf’s 12 year old grand-daughter, Lily, who is now blind, suffers from Batten Disease, which is the main neuro-degenerative disease affecting children in the UK. It causes an apparently healthy child to develop epilepsy, lose the ability to walk, talk, eat and see, before dying a premature death between the ages of 5 to 30. There are around 250 children and young adults living with Batten Disease in the UK. There is no cure.

Rolf says” I am delighted to be given this opportunity to help raise funds for Batten Disease research. I am particularly pleased to be involved in a concert with my sister’s orchestra, the highly acclaimed Amaretti Chamber Orchestra.”

The orchestra’s 10th anniversary concert was on Saturday 27th September at St. Andrew’s Church, Cheadle Hulme. The orchestra played to a full house featuring the renowned Norwegian pianist Natalia Strelchenko. Her interpretation of the Shostakovich second piano concerto was met with a standing ovation. For this concert we raised £800 for “The Complementary Therapy Service” in The Christie Hospital. This offers a range of therapies such as aromatherapy, massage, acupuncture, hypnotherapy and relaxation techniques to help alleviate the emotions and symptoms that often accompany the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.  Patients have reported that some treatments can help with symptoms such as pain, difficulties with sleeping, phobias and anxiety.  The unit is completely funded through charity funds and gifts and is available to patients, and their carers who are inpatients or coming to the Christie for treatment on a daily basis.

Our next concert is January 24th 2015 at St Andrew’s Church at 7.30pm. Proceeds to The Boaz Trust . This is a Christian organisation serving destitute asylum seekers in Greater Manchester. The programme includes Mozart: Divertimento in Dmajor, Mendelssohn: String Symphony No 12 in G minor, CPE Bach A major Violoncello Concerto. Tickets at just £8.50 are available on the door (accompanied children free)  or by telephoning 0161 485 1312.