Musical members of the public share the Proms stage

Amateur musicians from across the UK shared the spotlight at the Last Night of the Proms this year, thanks to an innovative digital initiative.

More than a thousand music lovers joined the BBC’s Virtual Orchestra by uploading three-minute video clips of themselves playing the Toreador Song from Bizet’s Carmen.

US conductor Marin Alsop was also filmed for the project, ensuring the 1,200 contributors stayed in time.

The Virtual Orchestra was unveiled at the Last Night of the Proms on 10 September, with the final film shown at Proms in the Park events in London, Glasgow, Belfast and Colwyn Bay.

Comedian and keen amateur pianist David Baddiel (pictured above) joined the celebrations, uploading his contribution.

Other famous figures in the Virtual Orchestra include Angellica Bell from BBC’s evening magazine programme The One Show, playing cello; and Sarah Walker from BBC Radio 3 on drums. Proms chief David Pickard even pitched in on the kazoo.

Jessica Isaacs from BBC Music said: ‘The response has been incredible and shows the love there is for amateur music making in the UK today. We have had a huge range of ages and abilities joining in, which is exactly what we wanted. We are delighted at the vast choice of instruments people used – from banjos to bagpipes, horns to harmonicas and tambourines to tubas!’

The Virtual Orchestra initiative is part of the BBC’s Get Playing campaign, which promotes amateur performance. The campaign also features ‘All Together Now, The Great Orchestra Challenge’ – a national hunt for the orchestra that best encapsulates the spirit of amateur music-making in Britain.

The BBC Virtual Orchestra film is available to view on BBC iPlayer and at www.bbc.co.uk/getplaying.

bbc.co.uk

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