Forget flash mobs! On Saturday evening (January 26) a makeshift 70-piece orchestra performed at the O2 Shepard’s Bush Empire as part of a charity challenge.
The orchestra was made up entirely of strangers recruited over the past year as they traveled across London on the Tube.
Shaun Buswell, the driving force behind the orchestra, set himself the task of forming the full-sized ensemble from musicians he could find among London Underground passengers and commuters. Working to a deadline of December 12 2012, the pressure was on to get the group together and re perform at a top London venue.
To pull together this improvised orchestra, Shaun approached musicians carrying instruments on the tube and within the boundaries of London’s Underground station. Shaun’s challenge was made even greater by the fact that he can’t read or write music.
His quest brought together a surprising array of instruments, many of which could be considered fairly obscure and unexpected such as the euphonium, accordion and flugalhorn. Impressively, out of the final full orchestra, the only instrument Shaun couldn’t find in time was a cor anglais.
The project was called the 12.12.12 Underground Orchestra Challenge, and featured two strict rules:
- Shaun was not allowed to know any of the musicians he approached
- He had to approach every musician he saw on the tube.
Saturday’s concert was staged in aid of the charity Daytrippers, and included a video footage recorded during Shaun’s underground odyssey, with a soundtrack of folk music and classical music by Holst, Dvořák & Grieg.
Daytrippers is a charity that helps children with disabilities, life limiting or terminal illnesses. Charity representative Leila Talmage spoke about Shaun’s success: “Daytrippers were inspired by this huge undertaking as the disabled children and their families that we work with also face many of their own challenges daily. We loved the similarity and wanted to celebrate it.”
Check out Shaun in action in the video below:
What do you think of Shaun’s achievement? How would you respond to a stranger in the street’s request to join a musical ensemble?