A ROVING Swindon musician who has taken on the challenge of forming an orchestra made up of strangers he has met on the London Underground has passed the first milestone.

Shaun Buswell held an intimate gig, which was used as a rehearsal for the main show next month, at the Duke of Wellington Hall in Whitehall with a band formed of 30 commuters.

The rules of the 12/12/12 challenge stipulate that the band of between 30 and 100 people must be ready to perform at one of 12 top London venues by December 12.

However, the performance on Wednesday is now a warm-up to the main event, which has been moved to the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on January 26 after the Daytrippers charity for children with disabilities and life-limiting illnesses lent its support to the project.

The newly-formed Underground Orchestra performed music by composers Holst and Dvorak . Shaun, 35, said: “The performance was pretty good, everyone seemed to enjoy it.

“The conductor of the orchestra said the quality of the musicians I have managed to find is really high. “I have been pretty lucky as quite a lot of them are professional musicians.

“ The focus now is to get bums on seats for January 26 so people can witness what we have put together.”

Shaun, who is well-known on the Swindon music scene, has succeeded in recruiting the orchestra after a gruelling year of approaching strangers.

He said: “It’s quite a long process and I haven’t really taken it all in to be honest. “It’s been an incredibly long time and lots of work. At last I can wake up in the mornings not having to go out and do that job anymore. “It will be nice to go out and not have to speak to people carrying instruments. I think I will have to condition myself not to do it.”

Shaun, of Stratton, has also played a mini-concert in the London Eye and a pre-show at the Union Chapel in Islington with 22 of the orchestra.

Under the rules of the challenge, which is supported by Transport For London, the musicians must be carrying their instrument – or part of it – when Shaun approaches them for the first time.

Leila Talmage, of Daytrippers, said: “When Daytrippers heard about Shaun we realised he had set himself a huge musical challenge, against the odds considering he cannot read or write music.

“Not only does he have to meet each of his musicians personally on the London Underground, but he has to engage them enough to get them to play his music while never breaking one of his many set rules.

“We were inspired by this huge undertaking as the disabled children and their families we work with also face their own challenges daily. We loved the similarity and wanted to celebrate it.”

The main Underground Orchestra event will premiere a documentary of Shaun’s journey carrying out the challenge, along with a live music performance.

Visit www.121212.org.uk or follow @121212challenge on Twitter.