Aonghus McGarry spoke to one of the organisers of the most interesting musical event to take place in UCD for years


An orchestra consisting of, ed and managed entirely by, generic UCD students is set to perform the ‘Hits of the Noughties’ in aid of mental health charity Aware. James Harding, stuff bassoon player within the orchestra and one of the organisers of the event, spoke to The Siren about the event and what to expect on the night; “We have a full orchestra consisting of about 50 players, playing brass, woodwind strings and percussion. We know that classical music wouldn’t appeal to a lot of students and we hope this event would show off what the orchestra can do, as it is full of extremely talented musicians.” Asked about the idea behind the event, James said himself “and Dave (Moloney) were at a music presentation as part of our studying of the theory of music. There we got talking about the possibility of running this event as Dave’s presentation was based on arranging music for an orchestra. I had experience in this field as in secondary school I helped arrange a Coldplay song for the school orchestra.”

A similar event was held last year by the Trinity Orchestra to great success, in which the album Discovery by Daft Punk was played in its entirety, and became a viral hit. James is keen to emphasise his respect for their endeavour and it’s organisers, but also emphasises the difference between the two events “They usually do albums from specific artists and often have a pit band. We are just going to use instruments from the orchestra and are doing hits from 2000 onwards.” Having seen the UCD Symphony Orchestra perform, they are undoubtedly an extremely talented set of musicians, and although this ensemble is of a different nature, If this event can live up to its near-equivalent in Trinity, it will be a massive success.

The event, held in conjunction with Arts Soc, is the first of its kind in UCD, James added that “This orchestra has been created purely for the purpose of this concert. There are many players in it from the UCD Symphony Orchestra but it is a different thing entirely” and that the work that has gone into organising such a large scale event has been considerable, coupled with the difficult task of translating traditionally arranged popular music into an orchestral setting, and that “every song has it’s challenges when being arranged for an orchestra, no matter how simple it may originally seem. It takes anywhere from 6 to 10 hours arrange a song for an orchestra properly as you have to keep it interesting to the audience, and also to the players, figuring out small little things can be a difficulty but it’s all very enjoyable”.

All organisers involved are to be commended for their innovative way of raising money for an important cause, and for the meagre price to students one gets the benefits of a brilliantly arranged orchestra and that warm fuzzy feeling from giving a few euro to a noble cause.

It is also heartening to see the musical talent that UCD possesses being showcased to a wider audience than may have been previously, and a contemporary set of songs arranged in a classical manner can only have interesting results.

James Harding adds that this is “Popular music being played by an orchestra and sung by brilliant singers, with a concert like atmosphere. It is a first for UCD and something not to be missed.”


Tickets are on sale now in the Arts Block at a cost of 6 euro for students and 10 euro for everyone else. The event takes place in the Astra Hall in the Student Centre on the 11th of April at 7:45.