Young musician surprised mid-orchestra rehearsal by his favourite radio presenter

28 May 2024, 17:27 | Updated: 31 May 2024, 17:44

9-year-old violinist Patrick is surprised by his favourite radio presenter, as Zeb Soanes turns up unannounced at his orchestra rehearsal.
9-year-old violinist Patrick is surprised by his favourite radio presenter, as Zeb Soanes turns up unannounced at his orchestra rehearsal. Picture: Zeb Soanes

By Siena Linton

A nine-year-old violinist was taken by surprise when his favourite radio presenter arrived at his orchestra rehearsal unannounced.

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When nine-year-old Patrick arrived at his youth orchestra at the weekend, violin in hand, he thought he was there for the usual rehearsal, nothing out of the ordinary.

Little was he to know that his mother, Lynette, and teachers at the English Symphony Orchestra youth programme, had orchestrated a great surprise for him.

Patrick is a devoted listener to Classic FM in the evenings, listening to Relaxing Classics with Zeb Soanes every night at bedtime. He occasionally texts the studio, and has even sent Zeb a hand-painted mug, for his evening tea whilst on air.

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So when Patrick’s teacher at the ESO youth orchestra, Noriko, got in touch to invite Zeb to their next weekend course, he was happy to oblige.

“It just so happened that this request coincided with my visit to the Hay Festival to talk about my book, Peter the Cat’s Little Book of BIG Words,” Zeb told Classic FM. “So I broke the journey on Saturday afternoon to surprise Patrick.

“We had to be very careful I wasn’t spotted and I sat at the back of the gallery listening to the orchestra rehearse, and then popped down to surprise Patrick when they took a break. They even asked me to conduct them.”

Patrick was so honoured that his favourite radio presenter had taken the time to visit him that he offered Zeb a special solo performance of ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ from The Lion King, accompanied by his teacher Noriko on the piano.

“Patrick was so serious, determined to play every note perfectly. It was incredibly moving for all of us who were watching – and he played beautifully,” Zeb said.

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“The English Symphony Orchestra are doing wonderful work to encourage young musicians,” Zeb continued. “Many of the children I saw play on Saturday will be performing in Worcester Cathedral at the Elgar Festival,” which takes place on 29 May.

“Their focus and discipline was truly impressive – in the hands of their wonderful teachers, husband and wife team James and Noriko.”

Our best wishes go to all the English Symphony Orchestra youth performers, and many thanks to Patrick for being such a dedicated Classic FM fan!