Altogether for web of success

EPIC awards-Andy Jackson(L) receives Cobweb orchestra award.
EPIC awards-Andy Jackson(L) receives Cobweb orchestra award.

A MUSICAL group with a strong contingent from Morpeth has spun a web of success culminating in a national award for its internet sensation.

The Cobweb Orchestra, a network of eight amateur bodies in the north of England, has thrived since it started in 1995 and now there are more than 150 members.

Individual groups meet weekly to rehearse, but join together for study days, workshops, performances and residential weekends.

Representatives from all of them came together for an inspired ‘flash mob’ performance of Ravel’s Bolero, filmed at the Eldon Square bus station in Newcastle. The video had more than 78,000 hits on the YouTube and Yahoo websites.

And this has seen the orchestra win the Innovation section at Voluntary Arts England’s inaugural Epic Awards. It also received the runner-up prize in the Creativity category.

The group, which has 50 members in total, has become very popular in Morpeth and an average of around 30 meet to rehearse in any one week.

Conductor of the Morpeth group Lizelle Kirby said: “Having been bitten by the Cobweb bug about 12 years ago, and instantly smitten with the open-access ethos, it has been a pleasure and a privilege to be involved with this fantastic organisation and a part of its growth.

“It’s wonderful that the dedication and enthusiasm of all ‘Cobwebbers’ has been recognised by receiving this award.”

The prizes, which were presented at the House of Lords, included cash, membership of the National Association of Local Government Arts Officers and an award-specific prize of mentoring or training.

The orchestra’s origins lie within the Northern Sinfonia’s community outreach work. Its other seven groups meet in Tebay and Dalston in Cumbria, Consett, The Sage Gateshead, Spennymoor, Middlesbrough, and York.

Members are often lapsed players who have taken up their instruments again or adults who are new to an instrument.

The Morpeth group meets at the St James’s Community Centre, Wellway, on Tuesday evenings from 7.30pm.

For more information, including on how to join the group, visit or e-mail