Review of the Charity Symphony Orchestra’s concert of 31 January

Musicians from three local orchestras helped make the Charity Symphony Orchestra’s (CSO) latest concert a huge success.

‘Cellist Amanda Berry, viola player Michael Cooke, trombonist Brian Terry and tuba player Dave Kendall, all from the Havant Symphony orchestra, volunteered to play. So did violinist Jenny Reeves, the Leader of the Portsmouth Light Orchestra’ and bass player Mary Toms from the Meon Valley Orchestra.  Like all of the professional or amateur instrumentalists with the CSO, they gave their services free of charge.

The CSO was celebrating its tenth consecutive year of concerts by putting on a real musical bonanza at Christ Church, Freemantle, Southampton.  This was also for the benefit of the UK Gout Society which informs the public about gout and gives advice to those living with this most misunderstood condition.

The CSO is exceptional.  It’s a pop-up ensemble.  Players from all over the UK and sometimes from abroad simply turn up on the day of the concert.  The music is handed out and the instrumentalists read it by sight, often from scratch.  They spend most of the day rehearsing and put on the performance in the evening.  The music is always top quality.

With twenty-two years’ musical experience under his belt, Conductor Paul Ingram and CSO Director and organist Craig Lawton put together a varied programme designed to thrill the audience.  This included Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances, Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers and wonderful renditions of those Viennese favourites the Blue Danube Waltz and the Redetzky March. Eat your heart out Andre Rieu. The audience loved every note.

The concert attracted the attention of local broadcast media with coverage on BBC South Today and That’s Solent television channels.  Dr Kelsey Jordan, a rheumatoid arthritis and gout specialist, and Lynsey Conway, both from the UK Gout Society gave interviews to cameras about the rise in the incidence of gout attacks over recent years.  One person in every forty is a gout sufferer today. For more information visit

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