The Really Terrible Orchestra is coming to the City Halls in Glasgow on Saturday 13th October as the first – and only – gig in this year’s world tour.
The RTO brings together people who love playing music and wanted to play with other people as an orchestra, but know they aren’t good enough to get into any other orchestra. A few people decided to start their own orchestra for people who played instruments really badly. That was in 1995 and for years the highlight was playing for friends and family. But then they had a chance to play for other people – and were a huge hit.
They have had concerts at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, in London, Utrecht and New York – and now Glasgow. The whole point of the orchestra’s title is that people know what to expect. As the orchestra say, they always live up to their claim. Now their example is spreading and there are 2 RTOs in the United States and a Really Terrible String Orchestra with the same philosophy and musical standards.
“With its blend of humour, musicality and lack of technical prowess, the players surge through a lively programme taking the audience with them, creating a wave of excitement and hope that nothing will go wrong.” (Review of a RTO concert)
The RTO doesn’t see playing badly as a problem. They’ve turned what other people see as a difficulty into a strength. They call themselves “the cream of the musically disadvantaged” and their website lists reviews of concerts as their Triumphs.
Celebrating excellence is good. But the RTO celebrates other parts of human experience.
– It brings together people who enjoy each other’s company.
– It is the joy of making music, any music.
It is being optimistic – hope that they will improve, even if it is not likely, not by much, and not going to be soon.
– It is people coming together and doing something to fill a gap rather than accepting there was something they couldn’t do.
The RTO understand that making music this way is good for their mental wellbeing as well as for their audiences.
“Playing in the RTO can make us all feel better however badly we play.”
Check out their website. It tells you more about the RTO and has clips of their music.
And you can always get together with some friends and make music yourselves. If it’s too good, find another instrument that you play badly. If you keep practising, you may one day be bad enough to join the RTO, or have your own Really Terrible band. And you’ll have fun as you go.
Community Reporter team