West Bromwich orchestra devastated after van loaded with equipment is stolen

Musicians at an arts charity have been left ‘devastated’ after their van, loaded with thousands of pounds worth of equipment and instruments, was stolen following a recording session.

A white Fiat van similiar to this one was stolen
A white Fiat van similiar to this one was stolen

The People’s Orchestra and singers from The People’s Choir spent last weekend at Trefoil House in Birmingham city centre recording a new work to celebrate this year’s Commonwealth Games.

Members of the West Bromwich-based orchestra finished the session late on Sunday afternoon and packed up the Fiat Professional van and their other vehicles in readiness to leave.

After waiting to download some digital content onto laptops and say their goodbyes it was noticed that the white van, which was parked in Gough Street, had disappeared.

It contained sound and video recording equipment, percussion instruments, drum kits and staging curtains.

“The van is vital to us,” said Sarah Marshall, founder and chief executive of The People’s Orchestra.

“We were launching a big band this Sunday but the van is gone and the percussion has gone and we will never get it back in time.”

Sarah said the van had been specially modified to help transport the orchestra’s equipment.

“This is a disaster for our small charity.

“The vehicle and equipment are the result of many years of fundraising and they will take a long time to replace.

“It’s a devastating blow and if anyone knows anything, please contact the police.

“Our charity helps a lot of people through its music making but now we need your help.”

Founded in 2012, The People’s Orchestra features a mix of talented musicians of all ages who come together to perform concerts across the Midlands.

It created The Rusty Players Orchestra, for musicians looking to resume playing their instruments, and The People’s Choir which performs film, show and light popular music.

The orchestra also developed a volunteer programme called TPO Bridge, which helps local unemployed people back into work.

On Sunday the orchestra and choir were recording a work by award-winning film composer John Koutselinis to celebrate the 2022 Commonwealth Games which Birmingham is hosting.

Sarah Marshall said the orchestra is appealing for the return of the van, registration BL66 VNH - which has a distinctive tail lift and kick step - and its equipment.

Anyone with information is asked to please contact the police on 101, crime reference number 20/102908/22.

A gofundme page - Stolen Orchestra Van - has also been launched with the aim of raising £1,000 to replace some of the stolen equipment. Anyone willing to donate is asked to visit the page.

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