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Monday, November 23, 1998 Published at 21:17 GMT


Children create world's biggest orchestra

Stringing along: Some of the 1,600 string players in the orchestra

Thousands of schoolchildren have smashed the record for the world's biggest orchestra.

The BBC's Daniel Boettcher: "Fewer than expected, but more than enough for the record"
Nearly 4,000 musical children gathered at Birmingham's National Indoor Arena for probably the loudest known version of Sir Malcolm Arnold's seven-and-a-half minute Little Suite No 2.

They played to audience that included the composer.

[ image: Sir Malcolm Arnold: Paying close attention]
Sir Malcolm Arnold: Paying close attention
The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra added some professional support and its former musical director, Sir Simon Rattle, conducted in an event co-ordinated by Music for Youth and the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity.

The official record now stands at 3,889 musicians, with 1,600 strings, 1,300 woodwind, 800 brass and more than 200 percussion players.

Sir Simon failed to set the record on a previous attempt in November 1996 when his 2,845-strong orchestra played too fast, falling a mere 27 seconds short of the five-minute minimum limit.

[ image: Sir Simon Rattle:
Sir Simon Rattle: "Unique performance"
Sir Simon said: "This unique performance took my breath away.

"Seeing and hearing all those young musicians working together as a team was truly amazing.

"We had a wonderful time and it gives me great pleasure to think that the sponsorship money raised by the children will enable more people to benefit from the extraordinary service which Marie Curie Cancer Care provides."

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