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, Manchester Airports Group, Scapa, Cargill and Together.

Come and Play 2018

The Come and Play concerts for 2018 are all about dance, with eight concerts at the Bridgewater Hall as well as performances in Nottingham, Derby and Stoke-on-Trent.

Stay tuned for further details!

Come and Play 2017: Heroes & Villains

With a total of 14 schools’ concerts in June, with new concerts in both Stoke-on-Trent and the Isle of Man, Come and Play continues to be a popular highlight of the school year. The 2017 series was titled ‘Heroes and Villains’ and celebrated both good and evil from the classical and Hollywood repertoire including Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Elgar’s ‘The Fair Pipers’ from The Wand of Youth Suite, John William’s Raider’s March and the triumphant finale to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, with a 2000-strong chorus filling in the role of the

cannons! Come and Play was conducted by Hallé Assistant Conductor, Jonathon Heyward, and presented by the magnificent Tom Redmond.

This year Tom premiered a new piece, composed around the latest school-craze: the fidget spinner, a hand-held whirring device, originally developed to improve concentration with children suffering from ADD and ADHD. To demonstrate the fidget spinner as a ‘force for good’, the orchestra abandoned their regular instruments to perform the world premiere of ‘Music for Fidget Spinners’, to the delight of all the children (and to the horror of their teachers!) This inspired many schools to create their own versions upon returning to the classroom.

For the participation pieces the children took up their instruments and filled the hall with thousands of bird calls as the orchestra played the Cuckoo Polka by Johann Strauss II, and an arrangement of Chuck Rio’s Tequila, which had the audience dancing along to the Latin mambo rhythms. The two participation songs this year were Lin Marsh’s inspirational Believe, and either A Certain Kind of Imagination or Superhero Blues, the latter a brand new composition by Neil Bennison and the Hallé’s Education Director, Steve Pickett.

Come and Play 2016: America

In 2016 the 12 Come and Play concerts celebrated a range of musical genres from North and South America. Copland’s Variations on a Shaker Melody demonstrated each of the orchestra’s instrumental families as Copland’s theme passed from one section to another. John Williams’ famous Hollywood scores made an appearance and presenter Tom Redmond used the captivating music of Rey’s theme from ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ to introduce the children to the idea of leitmotifs, aided by his wonderful Yoda impression! As always, the children had plenty of opportunities to join in with the Hallé, including singing Ai Caramba Samba and In New York City’s Streets, the latter composed by Neil Bennison and Education Director, Steve Pickett, as well as arrangements of Jobim’s One Note Samba and Bernstein’s ‘Mambo’ from West Side Story.

Contact us

For more information about Come and Play or any other Education projects, please contact our 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.

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