The University of Warwick Symphony Orchestra has just returned from an all-expenses paid trip to India where they played at two extravagant weddings.
Subrata Roy, founder and owner of Sahara, India’s second largest company, paid for the 100-strong orchestra to be flown to Lucknow to perform at the weddings of his two sons.
Mr Roy decided that he wanted an amateur European orchestra to play at the celebration. Recommended by an agent in Birmingham, the Warwick Symphony Orchestra were approached just 3 weeks before the weddings. The orchestra was flown out on the 8th and 9th of February, with all of their instruments, and put up in a hotel for a week.
With time to spare, the staff, students and ex-students who make up the Symphony Orchestra were able to see the sights of Lucknow and experience both extremes of life in India. “We had a great deal of fun,” commented Orchestra member Charlotte Hunt. “We visited all of the tourist sights, the markets and local music shops then we also got to spend time in the home of one of the wealthiest men in India, eating some of the finest food.”
The media have estimated that the weddings cost around £30m, with 2000 Mercedes flown in to transport guests, and reports of 1800 chefs and 2000 security personnel.
The orchestra played at both weddings on a revolving stage in front of 30,000 high-profile guests, including senior politicians and celebrities. Subrata Roy was so impressed with them that he has invited them back again. Negotiations are currently underway for their return.