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Posted on: 13 September, 2022

Orchestra ONE Project 30 – Fantasy

Welcome, adventurers!

After Orchestra ONE‘s 29th project, participants were asked what themes and ideas they’d be interested in exploring when Orchestra ONE met in the Summer of 2022, and Fantasy was a hugely popular choice.

The genre of fantasy is wide reaching and conjures up all sorts of amazing images of magical beasts, wizards and sorcerers, mysterious spirits, dark forces of evil and perhaps most notably, heroic adventurers embarking on the quest of a lifetime. From ‘The Lord of The Rings’ to ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ and beyond, our young musicians and their tutor team have been delving deep into the epic imagery and themes of their favourite fantasy media to create their own fantasy world and characters, which in turn inspired their music making this week. We invite you to join our fellowship and journey with us on our magical, musical adventure.

Crafting a quest

The heart of every great fantasy adventure is a story – good must overcome evil as the hero goes on their journey.  Project 30 made their own brand new story together to build their new composition around. The narrative inspires the music and vice-versa, as you’ll hear, and the participants themselves narrate the sotry throughout.

We invite you to read the story below as you listen to the music composed by this project’s participants in this video, and get spirited away into the fantasy world of O1’s 30th project…

The epic tale begins…

Our story begins in an alternative dimension, in a large city not unlike one we might recognise. In many ways, though, life is very different. Many of the common laws of physics do not apply. Time travel is possible, as is the ability for humans to sidestep between different dimensions, if they are lucky enough to discover a portal.

The population of this city is ruled by a corrupt government, led by an evil prime minister, who uses a mysterious magic system to control the people.

Music has been banned for several generations and the people have been put under such a trance that they no longer recognise its existence. It is a forgotten phenomenon.

Venty is a young man who works in a bar. Aside from recognising the wider social problems, he is quite content. He enjoys his work and the company of his close friends.

One evening a ragged old man walks into the bar. Venty immediately decides he is either crazy, drunk or both, but there is something strangely familiar about him. The old man seems preoccupied with a sculpture that has hung on the wall for as long as Venty can remember, which has never particularly appealed to his curiosity. It has a large wooden body and a single string stretching vertically along its length.

The old man, who introduces himself as Tyven, tells Venty that it is called a cello and that it was once capable of making the most beautiful sounds. When Venty asks what sort of sounds, the man looks around shiftily before leaning in and whispering into Venty’s ear,


Tyven explains to Venty that music is the key to unlocking the magic system that the government has used to force the people into social imprisonment for so long. If only someone could rediscover music, they could use its magical power to free the people.

Tyven tells Venty that he must go on three quests in order to obtain the three missing strings from the cello. Once the instrument is complete, he will gain access to the magic system. For each quest he must visit a different dimension and confront a version of himself, each one more evil and powerful than the last.

Always one for an adventure, Venty accepts the challenge on behalf of humankind.

Tyven leads Venty to the store cupboard in a back room of the pub. He takes a piece of chalk from behind his ear and draws the shape of a door on the back wall of the cupboard. To Venty’s astonishment, a real doorway magically appears in its place. It is, of course, a portal to another dimension. Tyven hands Venty the piece of chalk and he steps through.

Venty’s first quest takes him to a nightmarish land, full of fire and brimstone. Just as Tyven had foretold, the keeper of the first cello string is an evil version of Venty himself, complete with a fire-breathing pet dragon. A brutal battle ensues amid the flames, but Venty eventually slays both the beast and its owner and collects the spoils.

Venty’s second quest is to a frozen waste land. A blizzard rages and shards of ice fall from the sky, threatening to impale our hero. Though half blinded by the snow, Venty can just make out a terrifying shape approaching: a huge, ferocious warrior dressed from head to toe in furs – more bear than man – but once again with Venty’s own essential features. This time, his opponent’s companion is a yeti, twice the size of its master and trained to kill dimension shifters.

Clearly outweighed, Venty realises he must employ brain rather than brawn. He reaches into his pocket to retrieve the bar snacks that he always keeps there. With a wink at the yeti, he tosses the packet at the monstrous doppelgänger who catches them in surprise. The yeti instantly pounces on its master, mauling him horribly in its determination to reach the snacks. So it’s true, Venty thought as he pocketed the second cello string…yetis really do love scampi fries!

The third quest takes Venty to a water world – a liquid planet with nothing solid in sight except for a few rocks that protrude from the vast ocean. Venty stands on one of these for stability as he awaits his final nemeses. Sure enough, it isn’t long before two figures rise from the waves…a merman version of himself and a terrifying sea serpent – the fabled kraken!

Venty reaches into his pockets for more trusty snacks. Empty! Frantically, he scans his surroundings for inspiration but all he can see is a large pink shell floating on the surface of the water. What good could that possibly do, he thinks, fishing it out nonetheless. As he stands looking from the shell to the approaching monsters, he hears a whispering voice in his head – Tyven’s voice, he is certain…
“Blow it.”

He raises the conch to his lips and blows

The serpent is instantly mesmerised – entranced, it seems by the sound. Without difficulty, Venty is able to persuade the creature to turn on its owner, swallowing the fish man whole.

Triumphant, Venty returns to the bar. Tyven takes the cello down from the wall and expertly attaches the missing strings. He reaches into his bag and produces a stick with what looks like a ribbon of hairs attached, almost like a horse’s tale? He draws the hairs across the strings, producing the most exquisite sound.

Everyone in the pub stops in their tracks. This is the first time any of them have heard music. The effect is instant and dramatic. Soon the whole crowd has discovered its voice, joining Tyven in a series of rousing folk songs.

What starts as a happy chorus, however, quickly becomes an angry mob, as the people realise they have been denied this gift their whole lives. The mob spills out onto the street, singing passionately as it sweeps through the town towards the main square where a government rally is taking place. Their collective voice reaches a feverish crescendo as they round the final corner. The evil prime minister, mid speech, is frozen in horror.

The people have rediscovered the music that has been denied to them for so long, thus ending the spell and transferring the power back to the masses. Music is all powerful, just as Tyven promised. Without a shot being fired nor a blow being cast, the cabinet succumbs to the power of the humble melody and surrenders its power at once.

Freedom and democracy are restored to the land and Venty is universally regarded as a hero.

As for the old man? Venty never saw or heard from him again.