"Marvellous stuff" - Evening Standard
The Toy Symphony is a fun concert for children and adults.
Most of the pieces involve sounds made by toys combined with The Drones' many instruments. Birds, helliballoons and horns whirl through the air, the duck chorus joins in on one song. It is quite likely that some of the music will come from behind or among the audience as well as the stage.
The Drones are not condescending to the younger audience and some of the material is quite challenging and very varied in mood. Adults often say it's the thing they have taken their children to that they have enjoyed the most. At the end the stage is always knee deep in children inspecting and trying out the toys and instruments.
Children can be asked to bring a toy or instrument
and to join in on some numbers.
The repertoire is always developing and the Toy Symphony is not fixed. It often includes :-
Glory Flower - Fast Alec
starting with a drone, helliballoons take off. A slow tune with didgeridoo is followed by a fast dance tune featuring saxophone.
click to listen to this for a good example of a piece that all ages respond to.
horns whirl to a cello accompaniment,
the harmonium explodes,
cymbals give industrial rhythms,
Short Sleeved Shirt
photo...Alan Bostock...see linksbird calls accompany and birds fly away at the end.
The Third Mode
a very Eastern sounding scale is used in this melody (Phrygian mode, for those that wish to know).
this song tells of Baby Gray, 'who will not say "Have a nice day"'.
click to hear, the instrumentation includes flower pots, musical saw and teapot.
The New River Train
the audience join in and someone is chosen to blow the whistle.
The New Polka - Bambolina
those who have brought toys play along and everyone can dance in this up-beat finale.