MUSICIANS with the Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra are gearing up for a special 30th anniversary celebration this weekend, writes work experience reporter Jack Bishop.

They won't be celebrating lightly either with the world premiere of upcoming Forest composer Ryan Probert’s work The Bears, a performance by 2023 Gloucestershire Young Musician of the Year violinist Isaac Williams and songs from American greats Gershwin and Bernstein sung by Ukrainian soprano Nadia Postolatii.

The historic event for the orchestra is taking place at 7.30pm on Saturday (July 8), in the Church in the Woods at Parkend.

Musical director Fiona Crawley has come up with yet another “outstanding” programme since taking over two years ago, the organisers say.

The orchestra’s 30th anniversary commission of The Bears will include an introduction by this “innovative” young composer.

He will explain why he chose this controversial Forest legend as the theme for his “extraordinary” work, which involves a full orchestra, church organ, guitar, saxophone and multiple percussion.

Another young talent, violinist Isaac Williams will perform one of Saint-Saen’s most famous works Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso.

The Gloucestershire Young Musician of the Year will show why he won this year’s prestigious contest with a virtuoso performance of this “exciting” piece.

The former Sir Thomas Rich’s School pupil is now a scholarship student at London’s Trinity Laban Conservatoire.

And returning to sing with the orchestra following last year’s concert for Ukraine, is “super soprano” Nadia Postolatii, who hails from the war-torn country and is currently studying for a Master of Vocal Performance at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

This standout programme also features Mozart’s much-loved The Magic Flute Overture and Ravel’s Bolero of ice-skating fame. Guest conductor will be Will Sharma.

Sponsors for this special anniversary event include Ernest Heal & Sons Construction Ltd, The Forest of Dean Rotary Club, West Dean Parish Council and The Honourable Company of Gloucestershire Charitable Trust.

And the retiring collection will benefit Parkend Community Orchard.

Tickets are £10 on the door for adults (free for children and students and all Ukrainian families).

For more information about the "friendly" orchestra, which meets for rehearsals on Thursday evenings in term time at Newnham St Peter’s CofE Primary School, Newnham-on-Severn, visit the website at