A little about Westbourne's own orchestra.
We are a charity orchestra in Bournemouth with an average strength of around 50-60 instrumentalists. We were first formed in 1930 and have given regular concerts ever since, even during World War 2, when we performed 248 concerts for troops stationed in Bournemouth!
Sir Dan Godfrey, then conductor of the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra (now the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra), who lived in Westbourne, was the first President of the Society.
The orchestra continues to flourish and performs all kinds of music from classical to selections from musical shows. We performed around six concerts annually, many in aid of charities and good causes. We rehearse at St. Ambrose Church, 72 West Cliff Road, Westbourne, on Friday evenings from 7.30 to 9.30 pm.
The objectives/aims of the Westbourne Orchestral Society are to:
Promote and help popularise classical music by the presentation of concerts, normally six per year, and thereby providing education in the art and science of music.
Provide a means by which musicians of various grades of competence can share the joy of making music together.
Form its playing members into a symphony orchestra to encourage musical talent and appreciation.
Raise funds for various charities.
Our Conductor – Lee Marchant
Lee Marchant was born and educated in Bournemouth and started learning the double bass at the age of 8 with Barry Glynn, who inspired him to become a bass player and conductor. Lee then went on to study double bass and conducting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with Mary Condliffe.
As a freelance bass player, Lee has performed with many orchestras and ensembles across the country and abroad as well as recording.
His musical travels have taken him to Columbia and South Africa as well as across Europe conducting in major venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, The o2, Bruges Cathedral, Adrian Boult Hall, Bournemouth International Centre and the Birmingham NEC Arena.
In 2007 Lee took over the baton from long-standing conductor Sam Newgarth as Principal Conductor of the Westbourne Orchestral Society and is only the 5th conductor in the orchestra’s history. As well as a busy freelance career, Lee is also conductor of Bournemouth University Orchestra, Guest Conductor of the National Scout and Guide Symphony Orchestra and Tour Director for Ealing Youth Orchestra, London.
Recent conducting repertoire has included West Side Story Symphonic Dances, Rimsky Korsakov’s ‘Scheherazade’ and choral works such as Faure’s requiem, Carmina Burana, Vaughan Williams ‘Sea Symphony’ and Beethoven 9.
Lee has also worked in musical theatre for the last 19 years conducting over 60 shows including Les Misérables, Phantom Of The Opera, Miss Saigon, Hairspray, Grease and My Fair Lady.
Lee is a champion of youth music, working with many children’s orchestras and youth orchestras and is Assistant Head of Service for Ealing Music Service, London.
Our Leader – Stefan Defilet
As a school boy in the Bournemouth area, Stefan was very involved in the local music scene, eventually leading the Bournemouth and Dorset Youth Orchestras, and the orchestra of ‘Gli Amici Della Musica’.
Four years at Trinity College of Music in London followed and within two weeks of leaving Trinity, he got a job with the Canadian based violin show ‘Barrage’. Four years later, he had played with them in 16 countries on 4 continents and it was time to move onto new pastures, so he moved to New Zealand for 6 months, where he played with the Auckland Chamber Orchestra and several string quartets.
Back to Bournemouth in 2005, and Stefan now enjoys a varied teaching and freelancer’s career. He has played with many orchestras including the BSO, numerous string quartets, and currently leads the Westbourne Orchestra. He’s been a member of the Westminster Chamber Orchestra since 2016. Recording highlights include BRIT award single of the year Girls Aloud ‘The Promise’, Pet Shop Boys, Alesha Dixon and several CDs with the BSO. He plays in two bands, ‘The Bomo Swing’ and ‘Black Market Jazz Duo/Quartet’.
He has recently been commissioned by SoundStorm to write an 80 minute world music show ‘Around the World in 8 days’, which will be performed by hundreds of BCP school children at the BIC in July 2022.