The Long Walk Chinese Orchestra is a diverse group of musicians who play traditional Chinese melodies on traditional Chinese instruments. There is a wide age range in the group, and the orchestra has a place for both beginners and more experienced musicians.
We build links with the local Chinese community, both residents and university students and the orchestra has members from these communities as well as western musicians who are interested in the learning about the beauty of Chinese music.
Some pieces are played in unison in a more traditional style, while others are played in more complicated multi part arrangements in the modern Western influenced style. We are reading from Chinese music scores, which are a little different to western scores but are actually easier to read once you know how!
The full range of instruments we have available are: Guzheng (harp), Yanqin (hammer dulcimer), San Xian (3 string banjo), Pipa (Lute), DaRuan (large lute), ZhongRuan (medium lute), XiaoRuan (small lute), Erhu (2 string violin), Liuqin (small Lute), Dizi (Flute), Tanggu (Drums). We have music leaders available to teach Ruan, Liuqin, Erhu, Pipa and Dizi as additional private lessons.
A basic proficiency in reading music and playing scales is a good starting point for new members.
Who’s the Leader
The Orchestra is led by Rick Middleton. Rick began learning to play Chinese music during the Long Walk project in 2006, where he performed on the Pipa. He has had Pipa lessons from London based Pipa player Cheng Yu, Chinese percussion and orchestral sessions with Joseph Chang from Taiwan, DaRuan lessons with Sebastian Lai in Hong Kong, and LiuQin lessons with Irene Choi also in Hong Kong. Whilst in China in 2013, Rick was able to attend rehearsals for the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, performances from southern style trio at Lock Cha Tea House in Hong Kong park and visit the Nanying Troupe at Xiamen who play very ancient music from the Song Dynasty.
Here's what some of our participants have to say:
"I’ve really enjoyed being part of this project - It’s satisfying to see someone who hasn’t ever done music before reach a performance standard with help from my tuition.” James Wood - music leader
"I enjoy Chinese flute because it is a great opportunity that not many English people have” "I love doing performances and my confidence has improved a lot” Abbie Washington (Age 9)
"As I have no previous knowledge of any music it is particularly challenging for me to learn Ruan. I am so pleased that not only can I play now but also that I have performed in front of a big audience. This important activity helps children and adults to grow in a safe environment.” Kim Leong - partner (LMBCCA)
Download the case study here to find out more about the history of this project (2 page PDF file)
Once you gain more experience, there are opportunities to perform as a group at a variety of events across the district.
All of our work with the Chinese Community has emerged since the Morecambe Bay tragedy of 2004 and has included projects, performances, training sessions and partnerships development in Hong Kong and mainland China which have been seeking to develop a positive social outcome from a very personal tragedy.
If you're interested in bringing our Chinese Music workshops, including our fabulous Dragon Dancing, into your school or learning environment, then click here to find out more.
How do I join?
Call 01524 831997 and ask for Rick Middleton, or email firstname.lastname@example.org