TAMC Head to the Albert Hall!

Thornbury Area Music Centre choir are heading to the Royal Albert Hall in London.

It’s not the Proms, but ‘The Scratch Youth Messiah’. Alongside youth choirs from across the country, TAMC membes will be performing Handel’s Messiah, from scratch (ie, without prior rehearsal!). There will bea chance to learn the music at TAMC, of course, but hundreds of musicians will converge on the Albert Hall for a special, one-off performance.

The organisers, Really Big Chorus, have written:

Winner of ‘Best Classical Music Education Initiative’ in the 2015 Music Teacher Awards for Excellence, the Scratch Youth Messiah was launched in 2013 and is a stress-free and enjoyable way to introduce young singers (under 25s) to the most famous choral work in the UK choral tradition. A unique formula allows choirs to sing as much as they can comfortably manage and listen to other young choirs singing the rest, with the backing of a professional orchestra and soloists.

The basic requirement is that you sing just three core choruses: ‘And the glory of the Lord’, ‘Hallelujah’ and the final ‘Amen’. After that you can sing as much as you feel able to. Learn the music in your own time, then join others on the day at the Royal Albert Hall for a morning rehearsal and a thrilling afternoon performance.

The Scratch Youth Messiah is organised by ‘Concerts from Scratch’, the team behind Really Big Chorus, with more than 40 years’ experience of promoting large-scale choral concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, notably our flagship event, Messiah from Scratch.


Let’s Play Scheme Big Concert!

Wow, what a year it’s been for the Let’s Play scheme. It seems like we’ve only just started (the first classes were in January) and they’ve reached the end of the year.

But we’ve certainly packed in a lot. In March the students made their first public appearance with great enthusiasm. At Thornbury Baptist Church parents were given short demonstrations and performances, led by the children, on clarineos, flutes, pbones and violins (you can find out more by clicking the link). Then, just a few weeks ago the pbone students were treated to a masterclass from the brilliant Bone Appetit Trombone quartet from Wales.

What do the classes involve? The 45 minute sessions are group lessons which feature clapping, rhythm, call-and-response games, warm-up techniques as well as instruction on the instruments themselves. After two terms of tuition the various groups had made excellent progress. The trombones were marching around the playground whilst playing, the violins were playing confidently with 1st fingers and the bow, whilst the clarinets and flutes had learnt a number of tunes and their G-major scale. All of the work is backed-up by online music resources, including backing tracks to help the children work at home between sessions.



Their performance at the TAMC concert on the 11th July at Castle School was a fantastic showcase. The violins began the concert, first with a sparkling performance of the ‘Wallace and Grommit Theme’ (a favourite with the group), and followed this with ‘Here it comes’ – a piece featuring the first finger in the left hand and some specially-devised food-based rhythms in the middle section. The trombones then made a surprise entrance from the back of the room, marching in to their ‘Hot Cross Bones’. Taking their colourful instruments to the stage, they wowed the audience with ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ as well as a piece played as a round. The last group showcased was the woodwind group. Having learned a whole octave of notes, the players had been working in smaller groups, so quartets and quintets of players took it in turns to perform well-known tunes such as ‘Ode to Joy’ and ‘London Bridge’ with confidence and projection. Well done to everyone.

Then the Grand Finale – ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen! WIth the Let’s Play pupils onstage, and the TAMC Intermediate Orchestra on the floor before them, they joined forces for a spectacularly enthusiastic performance.


Dury Loveridge, one of the tutors and creators of the course said, ‘When we devised the Let’s Play programme last September we could only have dreamed of how much it has come to achieve. Every pupil has thrown themselves into learning their instrument with such dedication and enthusiasm, and what they have accomplished is truly remarkable. They were all beaming with pride at the end of the performance, and TAYM has started a whole new generation of young musicians on their musical journey’.

Around 90% of the children who took part have already signed-up to continue in September (2 of them have moved into the TAMC groups already). The new course, ‘Let’s Play Plus’ will see the groups continue their instrumental classes alongside playing with the Intermediate Orchestra (with coaches giving them extra help in the orchestra). The clarineos will graduate on to clarinets in September too, giving them a chance to really work on their sound on a full-sized instrument.

September will see a new intake of Let’s Play pupils starting too. Classes will be on clarineos, pbones and violins on Saturday mornings at Marlwood School, as part of the Thornbury Area Junior Music Centre. They are a fantastic and affordable way for young children to start learning a musical instrument and places are filling fast. You can find out more on the TAYM website by clicking here>>>




Let’s Play Pbones meet Bone Appetit

trombone lessons in south gloucestershireBefore their appearance at the recent Rockhampton Folk Festival, the fantastic Bone Appetit trombone quartet from Wales came to do a workshop with the Thornbury Area Youth Music “Let’s Play” trombone class.  After some fun warm-up exercises, the group split up to learn the different parts of the theme tune from “Indiana Jones”.  The performance, with 13 trombones, on the folk festival stage was a treat.
We’re really proud of our young trombonists” said Chris White-Horne the children’s tutor.  “They’ve only been playing a few months and for them to learn this piece and then appear on a stage with the lads from Bone Appetit shows how quickly they’ve learnt .”
bones1Bone Appetit is from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.  They have played many high profile concerts including an appearance at Classic FM Live, regular performances at the Millenium Stadium and as resident miusicians for the Welsh Rugby Union.  The quartet often performs educational and outreach concerts, introducing the trombone to audiences across South Wales and beyond.
Thornbury Area Youth Music provides musical activities for children of all ages.  The innovative Let’s Play scheme started in January to introduce young children to new instruments and prepare them to join the training bands and orchestras.  “Let’s Play has been hugely successful,” says Chris Smith, Chair of TAYM, “We’ve been delighted with the children’s success and our classes for next year are filling fast.”  For more information about Let’s Play and Thornbury Area Youth Music see here

South Cotswold Youth Orchestra – Jazz Day 2015

On Sunday June 28th, some of the finest musicians in South Gloucestershire joined forces for a special ‘Symphonic Jazz’ Day.

Starting at 1pm, these young musicians had just 4 hours to learn the repertoire they would be performing in a concert at 6pm, and they really did rise to the challenge – complete with soloists from the orchestra. As if this wasn’t enough, at 3pm they were joined by jazz trumpeter and tutor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Gethin Liddington. Gethin has played with many of the great bands and soloists of the modern jazz world, and gave many words of advice about improvisation to the orchestra, as well as briefly working with a select group of soloists on a daring quasi-improvisatory work… But more on that later!

The concert began with some brilliant student soloists. Principal oboe Sophie opened the concert with ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’, delivered with style and confidence. This was followed by a solo jazz and blues piece by Ellen – with some very jazzy slides and rhythms. The last of our soloists was Principal clarinetist Katie, performing ‘Gypsy Dance’ on the alto sax which built from a gentle start to a frenzied finish with impressive handling of fast passages which wowed the audience.


The first half of the concert was closed by a specially-formed jazz quartet, featuring the orchestra’s tutor Dury Loveridge on bass, joined by Gethin, Mark (Head of Music at the Royal High School in Bath) and Adam (Head of Jazz Studies at Bath Spa Uni). They performed 4 pieces, ‘All the things you are’, ‘I can’t get started’, ‘There will never be another you’ and ‘Footprints’. With a variety of styles and virtuosic shows in the solos, it was the perfect mood for a summer’s evening.

The SCYO performed the second half of the concert. There was a great mixture of styles for the orchestra to get into. The concert opened with Shostokovich’s arrangement of ‘Tahiti Trot’ (or ‘Tea for Two’). The story goes that Shostakovich arranged the music in under an hour as a challenge from a friend – showing why he is one of the greatest musical orchestrators to have lived. We were then transported to the world of Gershwin’s ‘Porgy and Bess’ in the composer’s original version. This included some strong soloists, and concluded with the ever-popular ‘Summertime’.

orchestra`1Remember that off-the-wall piece? Yarde’s ‘Wah-Fi’ was next. If features seven lines for the various sections of the orchestra to choose from, with section leader’s signalling which line they should play next – it’s not easy to signal ‘7’ with your fingers whilst playing a cello! With three soloists from the orchestra standing to play their own free-form solos it really showed what the players were made of – some definite jazz soloists in the making!

The concert closed with Count Basie’s staple ‘Jumpin’ at the Woodside’ with fantastic dynamic control from the orchestra in an arrangement that featured every instrument to the fore at some point.

Well done to everyone involved, and that you to our visiting jazz specialists.

Have a brilliant summer, and we look forward to seeing you all at the next SCYO course starting in October, where the jazz theme will continue with Bernstein’s ‘Mambo’!

Dury Loveridge.


Young Musicians take to the stage after just a few lessons!

As we enter the second term of lessons for our Let’s Play! students, it seems timely to mention what they’ve achieved so far.

Around 50 young budding musicians are taking part in the scheme, playing trombone, clarinet, flute and violin. Each week they meet for 45 minute sessions focussing on instrumental technique, rhythm and pitch games and exercises and other fun musical activities.

Just before the Easter break, with lesson numbers yet to make it to double figures, they performed in their first concert. In a smaller side venue at Thornbury Baptist church, around 50% of the students taking part arrived, in concert dress, to show parents and onlookers just what they’d been up to.

First up were the woodwind players. The flutes and clarinets combine to form a wind ‘super group’. There were demonstrations of the ’12-second’ and ’16-second’ warm-ups which the players are encouraged to do daily to improve their breathing and sound production. The audience were then treated to a 12-bar blues piece followed by a duet – with the flutes and clarinets alternating parts.

Next up were the trombones. With some very capable presentations by the young players on how their instruments worked (or perhaps better termed, ‘come apart’!), the children stepped forward and showed the various warm-up games that they do on Saturdays. They played a couple of pieces, ending with ‘hot cross bones’.


Finally the violinists closed the concert. There were performances of ‘supercalifragalisticexpealidocious’, a calm rendition of ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ and a rousing blues piece – all played with the bow.

It really was fantastic to see so many young players beginning their instrumental lessons with Thornbury Area Youth Music. Most have been making great use of the online resources, including backing tracks to perform at home. All of the children were on a high after the concert, buzzing (quite literally in the case of the trombones!) with enthusiasm, which is a testament to the work of tutors Chris, Sarah and Dury.

As one parent put it, “the children absolutely love it, with the enthusiasm of the tutors shining through”.

Thornbury Music Centre – Open morning

Play a musical instrument?

Want to?

Put those skills and that enthusiasm to good use at one of the many groups offered at Thornbury Area Music Centre.

Saturday April 18th 2015 from 9:30am

Marlwood School, Alveston, Thornbury

Who’s it for?
TAMC has windbands, string ensembles and orchestras, and it’s for anyone who plays an orchestral instrument (wind, strings, brass, percussion) to any level – whether you can only play three notes or have taken your grade 8.
TAJMC is for younger children aged 4-7 who want to learn about music in one of the three classes.

Do I need to book?
No – Just turn up on the day. If you’d like to know more about what TAMC and TAJMC have to offer you can email us at info@thornbury-music.org

Music for Youth Cheltenham Festival 2015

On Sunday 8th March we went to Cheltenham to perform at Music for Youth’s 2015 festival. The Training Orchestra and Cello Quartet both performed brilliantly! Congratulations and thank you for all of your hard work!

We saw other groups perform and played the pieces we had prepared. Our performance was adjudicated and some of the adjudicator’s comments were:

Holst – Mars
This was a really good arrangement and you made a good job of it. Your performance really grew in stature as you went on. Next time you play it, keep counting those crotchets...”

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
The music was marked ‘Lively’ and it certainly was! You had a good crisp approach taking care over the changing rhythm and it sounded bright and fun – Well Done! Next time you play it – if you have the tune play a bit louder and when you don’t – play quieter!”

Suggestions for Development
Keep going – you are a musical bunch with huge potential. You’ll get even more confident if you really watch your conductor and count vigorously (especially during long notes).”


Training OrchestraCellos


The musicians said:

“It was my first big performance and I was tense but I got in the rhythm of it and enjoyed myself”

“Thank you for teaching us”

“Thank you very much for teaching me new notes and music. I really have enjoyed it”

“I liked it very much and enjoyed the performances”

“I really enjoyed playing on a big stage and enjoyed playing Mars”

“It was my first time and I enjoyed it lots”

“We really enjoyed performing as a group for the first time” (Cellos)


Well done everyone – thank you for your great performances!

SCYO – Two fantastic Carnival Concerts!

On Friday March 6th, at St John’s church in Chipping Sodbury SCYO presented two fantastic concert performances of Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals.

10982911_849555861749899_982134352231169910_oThe first concert, a ‘bring your bear’ concert was aimed at younger children. By 5:30 the church was full of bears and children alike with over 130 tickets reserved. As the orchestra tuned, children, bears, elephants (At least one of each of the animals from Saint-Saens work was spotted somewhere in the church) settled in for the concert.

Both concerts opened with Victor Herbert’s March of the Toys from the musical ‘Babes in Toyland’. Whilst not as well known as recent hits like ‘Into the Woods’, the musical mixes fairytales and nursery rhymes as characters and stories collide, and has received a Disney film version too. The March begins with a triumphant fanfare, which returns to herald each new section of music. The cellos set a marching tempo with their pizzicato (albeit in a worrying minor key) and then the violins and later the woodwind take us off on a triumphant march. The articulation was perfect, and there were some excellent ‘cheesey’ slides in the strings (the conductor had asked for ‘that 1920’s string sound where it sounds like they’re only playing with one finger’). It had pace, and the tempo changes were handled brilliantly by the orchestra.

11046767_857834534255365_3543801331697667735_oIt was then on to the main attraction – Saint-Saens’ magnificent Carnival of the Animals. The composer wrote the work for friends whilst on retreat in Austria, and forbid his Parisian publishers permission to print the work until after his death, fearing he would not be taking seriously. Since then it has become one of his most performed works. It had a special note for some of the orchestra – Saint-Saens was once organist of the Eglise de Madeliene in Paris, where the Music Centre performed on tour in 2014.

There was magnificent playing throughout. The work opened with the roar of the lions, with great bowing from the strings. Our clarinettist James and leader Esmae took on some piano duties in Kangaroos and the tongue-in-cheek Pianists movements respectively. Katie and James did a marvelous job as offstage cuckoos, and special mentions go to cellist Jack and bass clarinettist Alice for their solos in The Elephant and The Swan.

The orchestra truly prove themselves to be amongst the finest musicians in South Gloucestershire, with great changes in pace and dynamics. Particular highlights for the audience were the Fossils (including excellent xylophone playing from percussionist James) and the tranquil Aquarium.

11043196_857834474255371_5510425326652677010_oBut the concert didn’t end there… 2014-15 has seen TAYM take on the role of a Ten Pieces Champion. The BBC Ten Pieces is an initiative across UK primary schools to get more young children involved in classical music. By the end of the year TAYM will have performed most of the Ten Pieces as well as taking part in workshops.

Tonight’s piece was John Adams’ A Short Ride in a Fast Machine. Inspired by the composer’s experiences being taken for a drive by his brother in a Lamborghini, it is a roller-coaster of a work for both the orchestra and the audience. As conductor Dury said, ‘it really is a case of starting the engine and then the conductor is just along for the ride’. It was played with great enthusiasm, and had become a hit with the orchestra. There was a great deal of detail with clear articulation and good dynamic range.

11034466_857834584255360_3276892491279897401_oTo put on not one but two concerts just hours apart really is a testament to the hard-work and enthusiasm of the players involved. The orchestra presented itself well, and gained yet more of a following from some inspired young musicians. It really was an event for all to be involved in to be proud of and marks the continuation of a great year for the group which has involved both the Music for Youth National Festival and last term’s Peter and the Wolf concerts.

As one audience member summed it up,  “Brilliant! Great soloists and a fab programme. Very well done”

You can hear some highlights of the concert on the player below.


BBC Inspire Young Composers Scheme

You can find out more about the following BBC composer’s initiative via their website>>>>

Inspire Young Composers’ Competition 2015

 “The BBC’s long-established and justly celebrated Inspire Competition is the UK’s leading event for young composers – and a wonderful opportunity for musically curious people aged 12 to 18” Judith Weir CBE, Inspire Competition judge 2015

The BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers’ Competition provides what most composers only dream of; the chance to have your music performed by professional musicians at the BBC Proms and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Winners also receive a BBC commission for a high-profile performance and are mentored throughout the process by a professional composer.

“Hearing my music broadcast on BBC Radio 3 for the first time…it’s a moment I’ll never forget!” Grace Mason, winner of the 2013 Inspire Competition (Senior category)

All competition entrants will be given priority booking for Inspire Days during the 2015 Proms season: free workshops where you can create music alongside professional musicians and like-minded young composers from all over the UK. Previous workshops have explored electro-acoustic composition, film music and everything in between.

Best of all, it’s all free! If you’re aged 12 to 18 and write your own music, what are you waiting for? Enter the competition and see where it takes you…

BBC Inspire Logo

Awards for Young Musicians – Closes March 13th

Each year the ‘Awards for Young Musicians’ offers grants of up to £2000 for those children aged between 5 and 17 to buy instruments, fund extra lessons or take part in course. The text from the website (you can find out more here>>>) is as follows:

Annual Awards programme

Our 2015 Awards applications process is now open.

If you are aged between five and seventeen you can apply;  we give awards of between £200 and £2,000, in total up to £100,000 per year; in 2014 we made Awards to 125 young musicians, some of whom we’ve been helping for several years, assisting with all the major costs of a young musician’s training, such as extra tuition, buying an instrument, travel and specialist courses.

Our key criteria

We support instrumentalists making music in any genre, and our key criteria are:
– Financial need (all applications are means-tested)
– Exceptional musical talent and potential

Awards can help with costs including:

  • Buying or hiring a musical instrument
  • Music lessons
  • Weekend music schools
  • Music courses
  • Orchestra fees
  • Travel
  • Applicants will need to:

    – Show evidence of financial need
    – Have ideally achieved a distinction in your last music exam – or, if you haven’t taken exams, show       evidence of this level of ability
    – Be recommended by your music teacher and an organisation, orchestra or group where you play or practise.

‘Let’s Play!’ off to a fantastic start

Saturday January 24th saw the start of something momentous for the trust – with around 50 children arriving at Thornbury Area Music Centre for the very first session of the new ‘Let’s Play!’ scheme. The scheme sees young children taking their first steps on a musical journey, with the opportunity to learn either the flute, clarinet, trombone or violin. Players are loaned an instrument for the time they are enrolled in the classes, and take it away each week to practice new pieces or techniques. What’s more, they get the chance to see where they are aiming for each week as the orchestras, string ensembles, wind bands and other groups take place around them at Marlwood School.

So how have they been getting on?

The flutes and the clarinets have made an amazing start. The clarinets are light-weight and in c, which means they can learn the same notes as the flutes making for a great sound. By learning together the clarinettists can learn about the flute too, and vice versa. Week one was spent learning about the instruments, how they work and the basics of how to make a sound, but by week two there was no stopping them! Each young musician is playing with confidence already, and we’ve they’ve already learned the notes A & B, including a performance of a piece called ‘Witches Brew’ led by a few of the children taking it in turns to ‘be the teacher’ or leader.

learning an instrument in South Gloucestershire - Let's Play!

The flutes and clarinets getting to know their colourful instruments!

Next door the trombones have been getting to grips with their fantastically coloured instruments. They’re learning a version of the trombone called the ‘pbone’. It is a (virtually) indestructible  plastic version of the trombone. It works and sounds just like a real trombone. Week one was spent playing fun warm-ups and learning the basics of how to produce a sound. Their tutor Chris was over-whelmed with how well they all did, and sends a weekly emails to parents letting them know what their young musicians have been up to and what they can expect next week. By week 2 they were all playing the note f with a teddy bear (their favourite from home) helping them with their posture and breathing!

learn music in South Glos with Thornbury area music

The triumphant trombones with their tutor, Chris

And let’s not forget the violin class. Some pupils have their own instruments, but most a being loaned an instrument from the trust.  Each of the players has learned the basics of posture, and by week one they were already singing and playing a song about the zoo animals to help them remember their open string names. By week two they had mastered a special version of Supercalifragilisticexpealidoscious! They have also mastered the art of standing posture for when they ‘perform’, and there seem to be a few budding teachers and team-leaders in there too as they count the group in!

learning violin in south glos with thornbury area music

The violins in week one learning the ‘Zoo’ song!

It really is a great thing to see so many young people arriving so enthusiastically with their instruments on a Saturday at Marlwood, and to see the trust inspiring a new generation of young musicians from South Gloucestershire as they embark on their musical journey. Some keen-eyed readers may have noticed the subtle rebranding of the trust’s logo and website over the last few weeks, as we change the TAMT name to ‘Thornbury Area Youth Music’ – a name more befitting an organisation now running instrumental classes, a flourishing music centre, junior music activities, and a youth orchestra for more than 150 children ranging from ages 4-18!


Peter and the Wolf Competition for children 12 and under

peterposterwebOn November the 14th, TAMT will be presenting two fantastic performances of Prokofiev’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’. This is a magical and captivating musical tale for children and adults alike, featuring all of your favourite characters: Peter, Grandfather, the hunters, a duck, a cat, a bird… and of course the wolf! The music will be performed by the South Cotswold Youth Orchestra, and narration will by actor John Telfer – known to millions as the Rev. Alan Franks on Radio 4’s The Archers.

peterandthewolfAs part of the concert, we’re giving children aged 12 and under (on Nov 14th) the chance to win two fantastic prizes – a copy of the animated version of Peter and Wolf signed by Mr Telfer, and copy of the fantastic artwork created for the event by internationally recognised illustrator Rosie Brooks.


There are two ways you can enter:

1) Draw us a Picture!

Draw us a picture of your favourite scene from the story.  Or even one of the instruments from the orchestra. The more colourful and fun the better!

2) Write two sentences about Peter and the Wolf!

Tell us what your favourite part of the story is. Tell us who your favourite character is and why. How it makes you feel. Anything about it really. Again, the more interesting and unusual the better.

The rules are simple – You must be aged 12 or under on November the 14th 2014, and all of the work must be your own.

How to enter:

Writing competition: Email your child’s sentences, and their name/age to info@scyo.co.uk

Picture competition: Either scan, or take a picture of their artwork – you can then email this to info@scyo.co.uk

If you have any difficulties, please email us and we can let you know alternative ways of entering!

All entries must be received by Monday November the 10th!


Britten and Beyond @MFY2014 – The full video

The full video of the Britten Centenary celebration at Music for Youth’s National Festival is now online. The SCYO performance is at 11m 48s onwards, but it’s well worth watching the whole thing to see what the project is all about!

SCYO perform at National Festival to celebrate ‘Britten and Beyond’ Project

Youth Orchestra in South Glos - SCYO - performing at National Festival

Posing outside Symphony Hall – SCYO at Music for Youth National Festival

Sunday July 12th saw the South Cotswold Youth Orchestra take part in a special performance on the last day of the Music for Youth National Festival in Birmingham. The National Festival is a week-long celebration of music making featuring pop, urban, classical, wind bands, music centres, symphony orchestras and more. The festival sees performance in Symphony Hall, Birmingham Town Hall and the Adrian Boult Hall, and as part of its celebration of 10 years in Birmingham, there were various fringe performances taking place in the library and marquees around the city centre.

britten_100_logoThe SCYO were invited to perform at a special performance celebrating the centenary of composer Benjamin Britten. During 2013/14, SCYO have taken part in the Britten and Beyond Project, which has seen 20 selected groups from across the globe establishing links with one another and exploring his music (you can find out about SCYO’s partners at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome here). The culmination of this project, involving Music for Youth, the British Council and the Britten Foundation, took place in the Adrian Boult Concert Hall, within the Birmingham Conservatoire.

When we arrived, we were introduced to Pete Letanka, who would be leading a workshop involving all of the players for the afternoon. Pete is a jazz pianist & composer, and a very experienced workshop leader having led education projects with the Royal Opera House and London Philharmonic Orchestra. We would be learning two songs, one a specially commissioned work to celebrate the project and another based on ‘Cuckoo’ from Brittens Friday Afternoons. A chamber group of musicians from SCYO went to learn their music.

SCYO Chamber RehearsalMeanwhile, in the Recital Hall Pete led a high-energy and fast-paced workshop which involved us working with pupils from Grantham Prep School to learn the songs, complete with actions, focussing on aspects of pitch and rhythm.

SCYO Music for YouthAfter a brief rehearsal in the Adrian Boult Hall, at 4pm the celebration began. The event was being filmed from various angles to be broadcast on the internet, and the screen above the ABH stage certainly kept the audience on their toes!

Clips and messages from the groups around the world were broadcast on the screen, including Bulgaria and Armenia. A teacher from the Maynard School in Exeter was interviewed about her school’s involvement, and then it was time for the SCYO to present the first ‘live’ performance. The videos really gave the players a chance to see what a big, international project they had been involved with.

Performing at the Music for Youth National Festival

SCYO performing Britten in the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham

The Orchestra performed three movements from Britten’s ‘Soirees Musicales’ – The rousing March, the dancing Tirolese, and the foot-stomping Tarantella. All of the players really rose to the ocassion, performing with professionalism and expertise. There were brilliant solos from flute, clarinet and oboe, and the strings really worked together to make a cohesive sound. The audience certainly showed their appreciation at the end!

After the performance, more clips were featured involving groups further afield, before we came to the grand finale. Pete taught the audience their part (yes, the audience provided some extra backing rhythms!). Before we performed ‘Cuckoo’ and Pete’s own composition. Everyone involved was impressed at the way the SCYO players threw themselves into this piece – both those playing instruments and those singing. It showed real enthusiasm and true professionalism – learning and performing a new piece within an hour takes courage and concentration.

Britten and Beyond Performance

Britten and Beyond Performance – The Grand Finale

The entire performance, including the clips and messages, will be online to watch again shortly and we will post a link when it’s up. With the whole thing filmed from various angles it should be brilliant to watch again and we can’t wait. And no, no one was immune to the occasional close up on the big screen!

Britten and Beyond - the big screen


A big ‘thank you’ must go to Judith for organising everything, and Music for Youth for their excellent organisation. We hope to continue our links with some of the groups involved too. It really was a fantastic experience for everyone, tutors and pupils alike, and it’s been a privilege to be involved in such a project.


News from the SCYO twinned orchestra

As part of the Britten and Beyond Project, the South Cotswold Youth Orchestra have been establishing partnership links with Cecilia Luvenilis Orchestra in Rome. Although the orchestra is relatively new, it is part of the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia, which was established in its present guise more than 130 years ago. As far back as the 16th century, musicians hoping to play in the Papal Kingdom had to pass a special exam there before they could do so. It includes amongst it former pupils the Honourary Academy Award holding composer Ennio Morricone, most famous for his score to ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’.

The Cecilia Luvenilis Orchestra has around 30 pre-degree level musicians gaining performance experience and coaching from the Conservatoire’s professors and staff. Below is the initial letter we received from them:

Dear Dury and the South Cotswold Youth Orchestra,

I would like to introduce you to the newly formed Cecilia Iuvenilis Orchestra.  Alfredo Santoloci, the director of the Santa Cecilia Conservatory, has founded the orchestra aiming to bring together pre-degree students to gain experience in high-level ensemble playing.

The orchestra began rehearsing early this year and performed its first concert a few weeks ago on the 8th June.

There are 30 young musicians aged between 10 and 20 years including some degree-level students. All instrumental sections are present in the orchestra and we are looking forward to more students joining next academic year.

For the opening concert, we performed orchestrations of piano works by Clementi, Mozart, Schumann, adapted by Marco Massimiliani, a degree-level composition student, along with adaptations by both Maestro Santoloci and Marco Massimiliani of music by Vivaldi.

The orchestra is currently on the summer break and will perform its next concert in October.

We look forward to hearing more about your concerts and will be sending photos shortly!

Best Wishes,

Marco Massimiliani

The group have been joined with the SCYO via the British Council, and we hope to establish stronger links with the group during the next Academic Year. We were thrilled earlier this week to receive an email including a video link from their first concert in their new guise.

Dear Dury and the South Cotswolds Youth Orchestra,

We’d like to share with you a clip of our first performance as the Cecilia Iuvenilis Orchestra. The concert took place on 8th June in the Sala Accademica of the  Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia, was conducted by Maestro Alfredo Santoloci and teachers, parents and friends made up the audience of about 150. We are looking forward to starting rehearsals in September after the summer break and are particularly excited to be performing in October for the Pope!


Best Wishes,

Marco Massimiliani and the Cecilia Iuvenilis Orchestra

You can watch the video below, and we look forward to hearing more from them, and sharing news of our ‘Symphony in a Day 2014′ and Music for Youth Trip with them!


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