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11 Jul 2018

The Virtual Orchestra Fringe - What's on in Bedford

11 Jul


Across July and August 2018, The Virtual Orchestra takes over the heart of Bedford, bringing audiences an immersive 10-room installation and virtual reality showcase to the city centre - all for free. Accompanying The Virtual Orchestra is a vibrant Fringe programme of live performances showcasing local artists and Philharmonia musicians - look out for our Fringe logo!

In this blog post, we'll give a taste of what you can expect, and shine a spotlight on some of the wonderful groups and projects that serve communities across Bedford.



Local music hubs transform young people's lives through music across the UK. Here in Bedford, Music for Bedford Borough run a variety of creative ensembles across different musical genres, supported by a network of tutors. They present two massed performances as part of The Virtual Orchestra Fringe - it's going to be loud!

Massed Brass Bands
Thursday 12th July, 7pm | Riverside Square, by The Virtual Orchestra installation

Bedford Progress band join forces with Olney Development Brass Band in a concert at Riverside Square. Each band will deliver a short individual programme before combining to play an arrangement of ‘Mars’ from ‘The Planets Suite’. This is the first time that the bands have met and performed together and it’s hoped that it will be the first in a long and successful collaboration.

Music Centre Concert
Saturday 14th July, 10.30am | University of Bedford, Polhill Avenue

Music for Bedford Borough’s Saturday Morning Music Centre (SMMC) is the setting for a collaborative performance with the Centre’s young students and those of Bedford Music Co-op’s ‘Friday’s Fliers’. Ensembles will perform separately and then join together for a massed performance of ‘Mars’ from ‘The Planets Suite’.

Find out more about Music for Bedford Borough - click here.



Now in its eighth year, Hear and Now is one of the Philharmonia's flagship projects. Crossing generations and backgrounds, it brings together musicians from Fusion Youth Singing and The Tibbs Dementia Foundation's Music for Memory singing group with Philharmonia musicians for an extraordinary creative collaboration, all under the leadership of Artistic Director Tim Steiner.

Sunday 15 July, 2pm | Riverside Square, by The Virtual Orchestra installation

At The Virtual Orchestra Fringe, we'll celebrate the achievements of the project so far, reflecting on some of the stories our participants shared in their music over the years. Hear them perform Take the TimeDaisy Daisy, and God Only Knows (heard in the project film, above), alongside a brand new piece based on Mars from Holst's The Planets.

Find out more about Hear and Now - click here



Bedford Creative Arts brings artists and communities together to create great new art in unexpected ways and in unusual places. Working in Bedfordshire for over 30 years, wherever you find one of their projects you can expect something inspiring and ever-so-slightly extraordinary. 

Friday 3 August, 11am-5pm | Riverside Square, by The Virtual Orchestra installation

As part of their current Future Town commission with artist Sadie Hennessy they bring you Futur-oke. This pop-up, galactic-inspired, karaoke booth next to The Virtual Orchestra, invites you to release your inner superstar. 

Using the ultra accessible form of musical performance that is Karaoke, in which failure is almost a positive, they hope to provide a stepping stone into the Virtual Orchestra and the world of classical music.  

Find out more about Bedford Creative Arts's Future Towns project - click here.