year, a goal is set to recruit people for an orchestra to play at a
prestigious London venue on the 12th of December 2012. The orchestra will
comprise of musicians met on the London Underground only; if they are
seen with an instrument, they must be approached. Original music will be
performed, scored by someone who neither reads nor writes music. This
is the 121212 Challenge. And on paper, it shouldn't work.
Shaun Buswell is the man behind this, and as the lead singer in the more-than-15-strong "folkchestral" band
bearing his last name, is used to managing big groups. Things are
coming together now and material is being previewed. After a London Eye
concert, Buswell took to the Union Chapel last Friday (September 14th) with
four members of the still-forming Underground Orchestra.
opened proceedings, a most energetic man-and-guitar combination. So
overawed was he at playing in the Chapel that he turned deftly away from
the microphone for rude words and played his ode to the West Country
unamplified. He made way for Cook And The Case who constrast with darker, brooding melodies.
Buswell and the orchestra filed on stage; the total
number could be around 21. "This song's called Tuning Up," says Shaun,
as strings, brass and electric pitch the customary A. Three songs later,
most of the ensemble departed to leave Shaun to perform a
stripped-down Sleep with his producer who had flown in from Gothenburg,
and returned with more superb classical arrangements to complement
Tuning Up is reprised by Shaun throughout, as the
orchestra wait for him to align to certain songs. He makes up for this
with his banter, however, announcing it was his birthday (he'll be in the
bar afterwards until further notice) and having Happy Birthday sung to
him from the reasonably full house. He introduced all of the musicians,
spoke about his challenge and even mentioned some chap named Adham Fisher and the Guinness World Record for visiting all Tube stations,
which he might try at some point. His Guinness application for "largest
orchestra consisting of people met on rapid transit" has not been
With the 10:30pm curfew looming, the orchestra launched
into Lebanon - which in full flow has a tiny hint of Live And Let Die
about it - and end with The Road, an uplifting piece written
specifically for the 121212 Challenge. A standing ovation ensued; the
audience loved what they have heard. The venue has not yet been announced but the full
Underground Orchestra will be in concert on 12/12/12. Reserve that date,
for based on tonight, it works. "
Many thanks Adham for the review and look out for more updates as the orchestra forms.