Category: SCYO (page 2 of 2)

SCYO Young Composers 2014

We are proud to announce the 2014 TAMT Young Composers Competition. We are calling for young composers, aged 18 and under, to write a piece for the South Cotswold Youth Orchestra (SCYO). The piece must be between 2 and 10 minutes in length, and written for a chamber orchestra of standard classical proportions (further details enclosed). The winner will have his or her work performed by SCYO in the Spring alongside a Britten celebration which will see the SCYO link up with an orchestra from the St Cecilia Academy in Rome.

The deadline for entries is January 10th 2014. The works will be judged by a panel of experienced musicians and composers. Three finalists will be announced, and a masterclass day held in February 2014 (which all entrants can watch) where the SCYO will try-out the 3 pieces and both players and composers will be given advice and guidance from visiting composers and players.

As well as inspiring a new generation of fine young musicians, SCYO is hoping to give an exciting opportunity to young composers in the area too. The SCYO musicians will get an exciting opportunity to ask a composer why they have written certain passages and how they want it play, and the young composers will get a rare opportunity to have their piece performed by a full orchestra of some of the area’s finest young musicians.

The masterclass day and competition is being supported by the Thornbury Town Council, Thornbury Rotary, and Thornbury Round Table, and we hope the various events will be exciting for all involved.

Look out for the new TAMT publicity

The new TAMT posters, postcards and other marketing materials have been distributed in the last few weeks. They should be appearing in schools, shops, libraries and other public places near you. You can view them using the links below. If you can think of a place where we haven’t yet placed them, then please let us know.

TAMT – One year on

It was September 15th 2012 when the first official TAMT activity took place. It would be fair to say both the staff, parents and players themselves were surprised when on the first morning over 80 players arrived at Marlwood School – well above the numbers of the previous Summer’s term.

There was a lot of preparation that took place to get the musical activities that far, but since then the developments have just continued. TAMT is now a registered charity, with support coming in from across the community, including John Lewis, the Coop, Renishaw, The Quartet Foundation, Thornbury Town Council, Thornbury Round Table to name just a few.

With the Trust about to enter its second year, it seemed a good chance to see what has happened:

TAMC – The Thornbury Area Music Centre has seen its numbers almost double, with membership now in 3 figures. Every Saturday morning young musicians from 7-`18 come to Marlwood School and perform in the orchestras, wind bands and string groups. A number of children are now working their way towards Grade 5 music theory and musicianship. There are also a number of thriving chamber music groups – so many, in fact, they are taking it in turns to perform in concerts. There’s The Octaves, a full string Octet, and the youngest group, a string trio, alongside wind and mixed chamber ensembles. TAMC has held three public concerts, and has performed various ‘big numbers’ including Pirates of the Caribbean, Orpheus in the Underworld and a composition by cellist Fred Moore. It has also performed in the community, including Thornbury Town Centre and invitations to Old Down Country Park, All of the children at TAMC also took part in the Music for Youth Regional Festival for the first time.

SCYO – The AMS Programme evolved into the South Cotswold Youth Orchestra. After a successful Autumn and Spring Concert, where players performed as an orchestra as well as forming a String Orchestra and Wind Band, it has focused on its Youth Orchestra activities. All three groups performed at the Music for Youth Regional Festival, where they were highly praised, and have performed works by Malcolm Arnold, Grieg and Bach amongst others. In July, to officially launch ‘SCYO’ there was a Movie Music Day at Castle School, where the stage was overflowing with musical talent of a high standard. The course move to a 3-week intensive format for Autumn 2013, with rehearsals on Wednesdays and Fridays – Dates are available on the website.

TAJMC – The newest addition to TAMT’s activities. This will offer three classes to the area’s future young musicians, aged 4-7. There is a Foundation class, a Music Makers class and Recorder class all tutored by new member of staff Yasmin Frampton.

And that’s not all… We’ve become so busy that we’re welcoming new strings tutor Kate Robey, who will be taking over the Senior Strings at TAMC so that Dury Loveridge can concentrate on the SCYO. We’ve also needed to employ an administrative assistant, Antonia Clausen, to deal with the membership forms and various other admin duties.

And that’s just in a year… Where will be next year? And what great music will we play over the coming 12 months…?

South Cotswold Youth Orchestra – Movie Music Day

It may have been one of the hottest days of the year so far, and yes Andy Murray was playing in the final of Wimbledon, but the SCYO players kept their cool and spent the day working hard at the Movie Music ‘scratch orchestra’ day. Rehearsing from 1pm-6.30pm, there was a great variety of music to get through before the 7:30pm performance in Castle School, Thornbury.

The concert opened with Chris Sanders conducting the 20th Century Fox music before a quick segue into Alan Silvestri’s intense score for ‘Back to the Future’ with some brilliant drumming from our kit player Sam. There were some older tunes in there too, with Eric Coates’ score for ‘The Dambusters’ and Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake (both conducted by Chris). Dury Loveridge conducted the second Silvestri score, ‘The Forrest Gump Suite’ with some very delicate playing from our talented woodwind section. There was also some energetic and sonorous playing from the strings (who barely fitted on the stage) in the score from ‘Skyfall’. With anecdotes in between pieces there were further scores from ‘Gladiator’, ‘The Magnificent Seven’ and ‘Harry Potter’ (where the first and second violins swapped places). For many, though, the highlight was ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ conducted by Sarah Eales with a cello solo from Fred

As Dury, Sarah and Chris said to the players afterwards:
“Well done SCYO! At times it may have been hotter on stage than at Wimbledon Centre Court, but you all rose to the occasion tackling a large array of music with great professionalism. We were all really impressed with not only your precision, but also the big sound you all made when the music called for it. You should all be very impressed with yourselves! Now go and have a great summer, and we’ll see you all in the Autumn for a Symphony! ”  

The SCYO will next be meeting in the Autumn term over a 3-week period, culminating in a concert featuring soloists from the orchestra and a full symphony. Further details can be found on the SCYO pages.

SCYO - South Gloucestershire's Youth Orchestra The South Cotswold Youth Orchestra

South Cotswold Youth Orchestra – Scratch Day

Ahead of next term’s exciting schedule for the orchestra, there will be a special ‘scratch orchestra’ day on Sunday July 7th. The day will feature an afternoon rehearsal and evening concert, for anyone who has reached, or is approaching grade 5 on an orchestral instrument, to come and join The South Cotswold Youth Orchestra for the day.

Titled ‘Hits from the Movies’, the musicians will be rehearsing various blockbuster melodies, including Pirates of the Caribbean and The Magnificent Seven. All coached by the TAMT staff and professional musicians.

The fun starts at 1pm at Castle School, with an evening concert there at 7:30pm.

There are no auditions, but we ask that players complete the application form available on the AMS section of the website so that we can ensure there is enough music for everyone. The cost of the day will be £15 per player.

We hope you can join us for what promises to be a brilliant day!

We went to a Music for Youth Festival!

It was an early 8am start for the coach in Thornbury as two coaches took the TAMC and the AMS musicians to Cheltenham. They were just a few of the 50,000 young musicians who take part in the festival across the country, which is a showcase for talented groups and innovative performances.

In the morning session the TAMC Senior Strings performed Adele’s Skyfall and I Dreamed a Dream from ‘Les Mis’ in a brilliant performance including a guest pianist and kit player winning praise for the ‘strong string sound’. The TAMC Junior Orchestra, including ‘student mentors’ from the seniors were praised highly for their ensemble and enthusiasm. Finally the TAMC Senior Wind Band performed two pieces from their repertoire, to great enthusiasm from the audience and MFY Mentors. Staff from neighbouring music services and schools wanted to pass on their congratulations on such a strong showing from a centre which only started 6 months ago, and for the various solos which featured.

At lunch the TAMC Musicians went home, and the AMS performers got ready for their classes. The South Cotswold Youth Orchestra was praised highly for its performance of Fred Moore’s own composition ‘Last Man Standing’ which featured ferocious drumming from Josh. They also performed Radetsky March and had the audience clapping along. The String Orchestra was prased for its ‘balanced string sound’ and ‘impressive opening’ to Grieg’s Holberg Suite and The St Paul’s Suite, before the Wind Orchestra played part of Bach’s The Art of Fugue and Doug Lorenz’s (!) Uptown Midtown leaving only percussionist Josh and conductor Chris Sanders on the stage to take the applause and the praise form the mentors for their ‘great ensemble skills and watching of the conductor’.

As if the performances weren’t enough, the players had a fantastic opportunity to watch their peers from neighbouring areas play. There were brass and saxophone quintets and small ensembles, choirs, and a brilliant massed-cello ensemble. I’m sure all of the players went home inspired to practice hard!

south glos youth orchestra - the south cotswold youth orchestra at Music for Youth

Below are the 6 certificates TAMT returned home with, one for each group. Click on the picture for the full size version.

South Glos Youth Orchestra - South Cotswold Youth Orchestra        South Glos Music Centres - Thornbury Music Centre

String Orchestra - music in south gloucestershire - South Cotswold Youth String Orchestra        South Cotswold Youth Wind Ensemble - southglosmusic

South Glos Youth Wind Ensemble         Southglos - Thornbury Music Centre Senior Strings

A great performance by the AMS ensembles

On Saturday March 2nd, the AMS groups spent an afternoon rehearsing hard for an evening concert. Titled ‘An Evening of English Music’, the concert was at 7pm in St Mary’s Church Almondsbury.

A fantastic and inspiring venue, all three groups really rose to the ocassion. The concert opening with a rustic and energetic rendition of Warlock’s own orchestral arrangement of theCapriol Suite, before the groups rearranged the stage for the 2 smaller ensembles to feature. The strings gave a captivating performance of the Grieg’s Holberg Suite before summing up all of their energies for Holst’s St Paul’s Suite. The Cotswold Youth Wind Ensemble then took to the stage for two contrasting pieces, starting with Elgar’s Nimrod, and then performing Dury Loveridge’s composition written especially for them (under the pseudonym Doug Lorenz) ‘Uptown Midtown’ which involved various directions to the players on when to leave the stage during the piece. Then it was back to the South Cotswold Youth Orchestra who performed Malcolm Arnold’s Little Suite No.1 (a fitting piece for an inuagural concert, as it was originally written for the first every performance of the National Youth Orchestra), followed by Elgar’s nostalgic Pomp and Circumstance March and some audience participation in Strauss’Radetsky March.

A fantastic evening, and well done to those talented musicians who took part.

South Cotswold Youth Orchestra off to a great start

After the postponement due to the snow, it was business as usual for the South Cotswold Youth Ensembles (AMS Programme) on Saturday Feb 2nd. It was a busy afternoon of rehearsing, looking at new and old pieces ready for the March concert. The Youth Orchestra began taking a fresh look at the Malcolm Arnold Little Suite No.1, and Warlock’s Capriol Suite, arranged for orchestra from the string version by the composer himself. After the break there was an opportunity for some sectional work, both on the orchestra pieces and the smaller ensemble pieces. The Wind Band took a look at Elgar’s Enigma, whilst the Youth String Orchestra started preparing Holst’s St Paul’s Suite, before returning to the orchestral set-up to play through Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance No.4. It was particularly great to have former TAMC violist Kim come back and join the viola section for the afternoon.

It’s a busy term for the AMS groups. The concert will be at 7pm in St Mary’s Church Almondsbury, titled ‘A Concert of English Music’, featuring works by Holst, Elgar, Arnold amongst others. Then, on Sunday March 3rd all three groups will be performing at the Music For Youth Regional Festival in Cheltenham.

More details and be found on the concerts page.

Amazing first concert for TAMT

9.15am and the South Cotswold Youth Orchestra were already rehearsing at the Baptist Church in Thornbury. By 10.15 when they left the stage to get ready the audience were already queuing out the door!

There was standing room only at the back of the hall when the concert started, to a capacity audience. Beginning with the Junior String and Wind Ensembles coached by Trudy and Janet (with guest percussion from Chris Sanders and cello from Fred Moore!) with a mixture of Christmas tunes and even some Shostakovich. The Junior Ensembles always take the festive dress seriously, and there were some great Christmas accessories ranging from baubles to Antlers!

thornbury area music centre

After the Junior Ensembles there were three smaller chamber groups. A mixed ensemble, a string octet and a wind quartet all played expertly, with precision timing and great presentation.

Then the AMS groups made their debut performance. The Youth Orchestra opened with Walton’s rousing Crown Imperial, before the string orchestra played a captivating performance of Grieg’s Two Elegaic Melodies, and the wind performed Bizet’s Farandolle. To close the 1st half of the concert, the full forces of the South Cotswold Youth Orchestra were put to great effect in Malcolm Arnold’s Little Suite No.1 which featured dazzling performances and fireworks from every section of this talented ensemble.

After the interval, the TAMC Choir performed Gary Barlow’s Sing with great gusto, before the Senior Ensembles performed. The orchestra played a festive rendition of Strauss’ Pizzicato Polka before playing a composition by our very talented cellist Fred Moore. The debut performance of his work Last Man Standing was encored giving the audience a second chance to hear it’s effective use of the TAMC forces. The wind band played some Mozart, before the strings played an electric rendition of Copland’s Hoedown from Rodeo at great speed (excellent work violins!) and Grieg’s Holdberg Suite, before closing the concert with a medley of The Lion King by the Senior Orchestra.

An amazing start to the Thornbury Area Music Trust. With over 100 musicians attending and performing it was an amazing sight and sound. Well done to all who took part!

thornbury area music trust wind

junior wind players in south glos

Fantastic Start to AMS

Saturday November 10th saw the first meeting of three exciting new ensembles for TAMT:
The South Cotswold Youth Orchestra
The South Cotswold Wind Ensemble
The South Cotswold String Orchestra

The groups spent the afternoon working on a variety of genres. The String Orchestra tackled some Haydn, discussing phrasing and the various techniques of leading a sections, whilst the Wind Ensemble looked at some Bizet.

The majority of the afternoon, however, was spent as a full orchestra. With 4 desks of cellos(!) there was a substantial bass line and impressively rich lower-string sound to Walton’s Crown Imperial, with the antiphonal writing played to brilliant effect with some dazzling upper-string and viola work. The Orchestra also looked at Malcolm Arnold’s Little Suite No.1. Whilst Malcolm Arnold is perhaps best-known for his comedy works and film scores, he also wrote a number of works for school and youth orchestras in his home town of Northampton. With some rousing fanfares from the brass section, and dazzling semi-quaver runs from the woodwind, everyone is already looking forward with excitement to the groups’ first performances at the TAMT concert on December 1st.

At the end of the rehearsal, there was a trip for some of the players to see a concert at St George’s in Bristol. Featuring a great symphony by Vaughan-Williams, the highlight of the night was a dazzling performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto by cellist Kwesi Edman. During the interval Kwesi kindly met with the AMS players and came to sit with us to watch the second half of the concert. The players had an opportunity to ask Kwesi about music and his cello playing, with two of the AMS cellists in particular taking the opportunity to ‘talk shop’ with him – one of them had just started learning the Elgar Cello Concerto earlier that week.

What a fantastic start to the AMS Programme with the South Cotswold Ensembles, providing an opportunity for musicians Grade 5+ to tackle more advanced, symphonic repertoire, with players from across South Gloucestershire and beyond. The next rehearsal afternoon is on November 24th, when we will also be having a visitor discussing the experience of studying music at two of the country’s leading Music Colleges.

south glos music activity - the TAMT Youth Orchestra
The South Cotswold Youth Orchestra 1st rehearsal

the south cotswold youth orchestra cello section
The magnificent sound of 4 desks of celli in unison

South Glos music ensemble - The South Cotswold Youth violin sections
Chris Sanders giving the violins some encouragement

South Glos Music Group - Youth Orchestra trip to St Georges
The view from the gallery at St George’s

2nd Brilliant Day for AMS

After a morning session where we put the finishing touches to a large number of pieces, those in the AMS course were joined by all of the non-music centre players for an afternoon of hard work.

Two weeks since the last AMS Programme day, and it was great to see everyone return so enthusiastically. Whilst it was a little chilly in the main hall today, there were plenty of notes to fit in and keep everyone warm.

The afternoon started (after a quick rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’!) with some work on the Malcolm Arnold. Some ensemble techniques and diaphragm support for the wind chords, followed by some work on bow position and pressure for the strings in the dizzying semi-quaver passages. It was particularly great to see the wind playing those passages in the third movement holding the bells of their instruments aloft. And that’s before we get to Chris’ timpani finale! There was then some more detailed work on the ensemble and dynamics in the Walton before breaking into sectionals, where the strings looked at a new piece by Grieg.

After a break (and visit to the tuck shop), we moved to one of the music rooms for today’s guest. Chris B came to talk and play to us. Chris is a former cellist at TAMC, who is now studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London after spending two years at the Birmingham Conservatoire. After playing us some magnificent Bach, the students then had an opportunity to learn about his experiences studying cello, the application to music college, and life as a musician. I think everyone will take away something from Chris’ practice regime – 7 or 8 hours a day, starting with open strings and scales for at least an hour. We also learned about Chris’ mixed week of chamber music, orchestral and solo playing. What advice would he give himself if he could go back 5 years? ‘Do more practice, listen to more music and see more concerts’. Chris then stayed for the rest of the rehearsal to play in the AMS cello section and I know our principal cellist was grateful for a go on Chris’ antique English cello!

At the end of the afternoon there was a quick ‘sneak-preview’ for parents who saw our run-through of the pieces for next week: Arnold for the Orchestra, Two pieces by Grieg for the strings, some Bizet for the wind, and Walton for the orchestra. A fantastic start, and I can’t wait until next week’s concert!

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