Musical prodigy recruits his family for charity concert in his village

    Thomas Nettle

    A YOUNG musician who has performed for Barack Obama, the Dalai Lama and Pope Benedict XVI has organised a charity concert in his home village of Leigh.

    Thomas Nettle, 15, is one of the 160 members of the exclusive National Youth Orchestra, where he plays the cello. He is also a specialist musician at Wells Cathedral School in Somerset.

    They are all encouraged to raise money for the orchestra so he has single-handedly put together a charity concert next Saturday [June 3] at St Mary’s Church in Leigh.

    The nerves shouldn’t get to Thomas too much, seeing as he has performed for notable world figures as a chorister in the Westminster Abbey Choir.

    “I remember being on tour in Rome once, singing at the Vatican, our choir singing together with the Sistine Chapel Choir – the first time a non-Roman Catholic choir had ever sung with them – for the St. Peter’s Day Mass in the presence of the Pope.

    “The service was incredibly long and, in the middle of it, the choir master of the Sistine Chapel, Massimo Palombella, started chatting to me.

    “Barack Obama was incredibly nice when I met him, as was the Dalai Lama. Even the MPs across the road in the Houses of Parliament were always very friendly when they were in the Abbey,” he revealed.

    You could say Thomas was destined for success, considering the musical pedigree of his family.

    His father, Terry Nettle, is a viola player with the English National Opera while his mother Joanna Nettle is a flautist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. And Isabelle, his sister, is studying violin at Guildhall School for Music and Drama.

    “It’s always nice playing with my family; we’ve played for concerts, birthday parties, and weddings together, and it is always great fun. We each chose some pieces for the programme, and then I finalised it. For me it’s really good to be able to hear my arrangements and see if it all works, and get good advice back,” he said.

    Although the talented family may intimidate the amateur music fan, Thomas wants to ensure the concert is hospitable to everyone’s tastes – so they will play a mixture of old and new songs.