Come and Play

Come and Play with the Hallé is a unique series of concerts specially designed to offer thousands of children on the Whole Class Ensemble Teaching programme the opportunity to play and sing with an international symphony orchestra, both at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and in other national centres.

The Come and Play concerts present especially composed works which enable collaboration between the world-class musicians of the Hallé and young instrumentalists at the start of their musical journey. Arrangements and original material by Hallé Education Director, Steve Pickett, for the professional players and young people to share are presented alongside orchestral blockbusters ranging from film scores to famous classics. The children, therefore, experience the power of a symphony orchestra at first hand, as well as being a part of it.

In any one concert as many as 1,200 children play and a further 1,000 sing with the Hallé and annually the orchestra performs with approximately 20,000 young musicians every year. Local authority music service staff are directly involved in preparing and presenting the concerts, both in helping the children prepare their parts in advance of the concert and by facilitating the event itself.

Come and Play is generously supported by PZ Cussons, Siemens, Manchester Airports Group, CMS LLP, PwC LLP, Together, The Zochonis Charitable Trust, The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation, Cecil Pilkington Charitable Trust and The Harding Trust.

Come and Play 2018

The annual Come and Play concerts returned for a series of 13 performances across the country, including events at The Bridgewater Hall, Nottingham Royal Concert Hall, Derby Arena and Victoria Hall in Hanley. This year the children were told to bring their dancing shoes and put their best foot forward as they were led through a selection of styles in a programme titled ‘Strictly Hallé’.

After the orchestra danced their way onto the stage, introducing the concert with Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, the pupils brought out their instruments and joined in with another of the composer’s famous ballet themes, the ‘Waltz of the Flowers’ from The Nutcracker Suite. After a riotous party in the old Wild West to Copland’s Hoedown, Mary Green and Julie Stanley’s Ai Caramba Samba had the children up singing and dancing.

The audience were then led through Saint-Saëns’ haunting interpretation of the Danse Macabre, with the personification of ‘Death’ played by the leader of the orchestra, Sarah Ewins, having detuned one of her strings to create the ‘Devil’s chord’. With the announcement of dawn by the crowing cockerel (or oboe!) it was time to sing Steve Pickett and Neil Bennison’s Charleston Champions before the instruments were out again to play along with an arrangement of Mambo No.5. Topping off the performance was a stirring participation section to Steve Pickett’s Folk Dance Suite which had the audience dancing along to a selection of folk styles from across the UK, led by the Hallé’s regular education presenter, Tom Redmond.

Contact us

If you would like to find out more about any of our projects and how to get involved, please contact the Education team on

Photographs and videos may be taken at this concert. Some of this material may be used for promotional purposes and the Hallé asks all schools to seek the relevant consent and permissions.

  • Website by