Suddi Raval

A 25-person orchestra is set to perform house music classics at the majestic Gorton Monastery

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Stemming from our involvement in the video game industry, Simon Withenshaw and I have been involved in orchestral music for the best part of the last 20 years. Both of our backgrounds stem from club culture, with Simon a DJ and promoter whilst I’ve mainly been a recording artist and producer.

The biggest record I was involved in was Hardcore Uproar – it was the biggest record of the year at the Haçienda nightclub and our band, Together, was later signed to Pete Tong’s FFRR label. So when both the Haçienda and Pete Tong began to perform dance classics using orchestras and chose not to use Hardcore Uproar in their sets I was initially a little gutted, but then it occurred to us we could do something instead! We felt more than sufficiently qualified but we didn’t want to commit to putting on an event until we had two things.

Firstly the best venue we could find and secondly a really good version of Hardcore Uproar that would blow the crowd away. And a few weeks after much painstaking work Simon orchestrated a truly beautiful reworking of Hardcore Uproar and used a dash of Stars Wars, which was a huge influence on the original record. I then found the Gorton Monastery, one of the most beautiful buildings in Manchester, and armed with these assets we approached Alison Limerick’s management. After showing them the venue she agreed to come on board to perform her amazing dance classic Where Love Lives.

Then we had to find an orchestra and an entire crew for the whole production.

The key to finding the rest of the team was BBC cameraman Mark Hilton, who had contacts with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. He introduced us to Simon Robertshaw, who happens to have a very similar name to Simon Withenshaw. Simon Robertshaw had been a violinist with the BBC Philharmonic for 15 years and in his own time has been studying to be a conductor. He has amassed an orchestra of his own called the Skaparis Orchestra and together we worked out how we could perform a string of dance classics.

The buzz surrounding the night has been very exciting as the date of the event gets closer. We’ve some very fine talent performing on the night including Luke Neptune, who has found success as a performer in his own right at Classic House events and Bekka from Nightgeist who recently performed at London Pride.

Top and tailing the event are DJs Richard Moonboots and Jason Boardman, who run the Aficionado nights and record label, Mark XTC, who is a former DMC Mixing Champion, and Phil Rose of the Northern Edit nights.

The Classical Uproar concert featuring a 25 piece orchestra and live guests is on Friday 25 August at Gorton Monastery, Manchester. Tickets: £30 in advance from and more on the door. More info: 0161 223 3211, and’s our interview with Alison Limerick

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