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Summer Concert 2014

Sunday 6th July saw the end of term concert – a celebration of achievements at music centre.  We were treated to an exciting mix of everything from classical Bach through 1960’s R&B to 1990’s Brit-pop!

The Junior Music Centre sang and played recorders beautifully, we heard Indian Warrior and Kites on Recorders and Music Man and The Sun Has Got His Hat On from joint Recorders, Foundation and Music Maker groups.

The Junior Wind Band played The Sun Has Got His Hat On (R Butler and N Gay, arr. T Monday) and The Entertainer (Scott Joplin, arr. T Monday) which sounded great and really got feet tapping! This was followed by the Junior String Orchestra playing Trumpet Tune (Purcell, arr. Watson Forbes), “Landler” from First Suite for Strings (Christopher Wiggins) and Cakewalk (Catherine and Hugh Colledge).  The Junior Orchestra gave a confident and hugely enjoyable performance of Waltzing Matilda (Traditional, arr. Terry Catherine), Minuet (Haydn, arr. T Monday and J Lewis) and Bare Necessities (Terry Gillkyson, arr. T Monday).

Two of our small ensembles performed pieces they have been working on.  Dance of the Cygnets (Tchaikovsky) and Let Her Go (Passenger, arr. K Robey).  These were very well received and a credit to the hard work of the musicians involved.

Before the interval, the Choir sang a great version of (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher (C Smith, R Milner and G Jackson, arr. M De-Lisser).  The three soloists sang brilliantly and it really was an uplifting end to the first half!

With everyone refreshed after the interval, the Senior Wind Band, Senior Strings and Senior Orchestra performed.  The Senior Strings sounded fabulous and gave us The Universal (Blur, arr. S Turner), Andante Festivo (Sibelius) and Stand by Me (Ben E King, arr. K Robey).  The equally fabulous Senior Wind brought us performances of You’ve Got a Friend in Me (Randy Newman, arr. John Higgins) and a very enthusiastic performance of Tequila (Daniel Flores, arr. Paul Lavender) – complete with brilliant solos and audience participation (“TEQUILA!”).

The Senior Orchestra performed Sleeper Awake (Bach, arr. Jerry Brubaker), Ravel’s Bolero (getting everyone in the mood for the upcoming Paris tour) and Mamma Mia (an ABBA medley arr. Roy Phillippe) bringing the evening to a suitably upbeat end!

Summer Concert 2014

Special thanks have to go to the team of brilliant volunteers setting up & packing away, manning the desk, running the raffle, serving refreshments and helping the evening run smoothly.  A big congratulation goes to all of the performers and tutors.  Thanks also to the trustees and our sponsors, Quartet Foundation, Thornbury Round Table, Thornbury Rotary, Thornbury Town Council, Renishaw, Thornbury Tesco, John Lewis Music Matters and Co-operative Community Fund.

First music centre after the summer holidays is Saturday 13th September.

Looking forward to next term!!

BBC launch ‘Ten Pieces’ Music initiative – TAMT signed to be a ‘Champion’

You’ve probably seen in the media that the BBC have launched a new initiative to get primary school children listening to classical music. With ambassadors for the project including violinist Nicola Benedetti, trumpeter Alison Balsom, and singer/songwriter Cerys Matthews, it is a massive undertaking involving music organisations across the UK.

Each of the Ten Pieces, which you can find listed on the project’s homepage, has been recorded by a BBC orchestra, and a special film has been created which will be shown in cinemas and schools during the year.

There is a fantastic mix of music including Stravinsky, Mozart and even a specially commissioned piece by young composer Anna Meredith.

TAMT are pleased to announce that we are fully sign-up ‘champions’ of the project. This means we’ll be kept up to date with national events, and our young players will be taking part in a national music initiative!

In November, SCYO will be performing a special concert aimed at young children of ‘Peter and the Wolf’, and it seemed a perfect opportunity to perform one of the ‘Ten Pieces’. There is currently an online vote for players and supporters to choose between Mussorgsky’s ‘A night on a bare mountain’ and Grieg’s ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’.

It’s an exciting project, and during the year we hope that every young musician within TAMT will have come into contact with the whole initiative in some way – watch this space!

SCYO – ‘Symphony in a Day’ 2014

Wow! What a day. I can’t believe we packed so much into just one afternoon…!

It was great to have so many players, new and old, join us in the Armstrong Hall at 1pm. We quickly took to the stage, and by 3pm we had conquered the 1st and 4th movements of the Dvorak (sort of!). There was some fine playing from the strings, particularly the violins, as well as careful work from the oboe & cor anglais.

At 3 o’clock we welcomed Alexander Technique Teacher Lisa Clarke. Lisa gave a 1hr presentation and interactive lessons to the orchestra, explaining how Alexander’s principals can be used to improve performance, overcome performance anxiety / stage-fright, and how it can help reduce strain. The presentation began with a simple (and then not so simple!) ball game, which illustrated perfectly the way we naturally hold our breath when things get tricky or complicated – something which easily interferes with a musician’s performance. Lisa then talked to us about habits which we may not realise we have – for example, can you fold your arms the opposite way to ‘normal’? How do you move your body when you pick up your instrument? The remainder of the class focussed on the position of the head joint – it’s surprising, but not uncommon that most people do not realise wear the joint is, but once you become aware of it (and the weight of your head), you can move more easily.

There was a chance for the whole orchestra to benefit from Lisa’s expertise. By focussing on breathing, the cello section (already making a mighty sound) were able to play louder, and more freely, aware of the space around them.

south cotswold youth orchestra

There was then a chance for some quick 1-1 interactions. Flautist Antonia was shown how focussing on her head position and balance allowed her sound to project more, and she could focus more on the notes. Conductor Chris also had a lesson on how much strain can be caused by naturally making himself smaller when conducting.


After some more rehearsing, which included a practice of the Britten ready for the Music for Youth performance – which really came to life with four trumpets! – there was a chance for the players to eat tea with some entertainment in the form of Bone Appetit rehearsing on the stage!

At 7pm it was showtime. The first half of the concert was a performance by the stunning ‘Bone Appetit’. This trombone quartet comprises trombonists and bass trombonists who are in their third year at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. They performed for Gwent Music Service’s ‘Tiddly Troms’ earlier in the day, and have recently performed on BBC Radio3. They were polished, classy and a hit with the audience. Amongst the pieces they played were some Welsh hymn tunes with a twist, The Pink Panther, William Tell and… well, not wanting to spoil it for future audiences, let’s just say ‘You Raise Me Up’ has a special surprise!

trombone quartet performing music in south gloucestershire

music in south gloucestershire - thornbury music trust


After interval drinks, it was time for SCYO to take to the stage. They began with a performance of Britten’s ‘Soirees Musicales’. SCYO are privileged to the only orchestra of this level representing the South Gloucestershire area at the Music for Youth National Festival this year. The work was confident and assured (helped by our new-found additions in the trombone section!) with great clarinet, flute, oboe and violin solos in particular.

South Gloucestershire based Youth Orchestra

The Orchestra then showed-off their hard work earlier in the day with Dvorak’s mighty Sixth Symphony – the orchestral work which made Dvorak famous! The acoustics of the hall were excellent, and it was great to hear each section highlighted in their own way. The performance was certainly fun and lively!

South Cotswold Youth Orchestra - South Gloucestershire finest musicians

What a brilliant day – it was great to be able to bring the orchestra together in this way, and we’re all looking forward to Peter and the Wolf in November with our guest narrator.

Oh yes… There’s Music for Youth next on July 12th though!

News from the Junior Music Centre

Can you guess which song the Juniors were learning this week…?


Early Years at TAJMC learn about strings

What a morning for the Early years groups this morning – getting to know the String family of instruments – the cellos and the basses were getting a lot of attention!

strings1 strings2 strings3

Young Composers’ Competition – National Schools Orchestra

The Performing Rights Association and the National Schools Orchestra are offering a fantastic opportunity to young composers aged 14-25. There is a £250 cash prize and the opportunity to have your piece performed in a concert in London by alumni of the orchestra.

Full details of the competition, which closes on July 20th, can be found via the link below:

Brilliant young Trombone Quartet to perform in concert with SCYO

bone1We’re really excited to announce that the brilliant trombone quartet Bone Appetit will be performing in a concert with the South Cotswold Youth Orchestra. Currently studying at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, the quartet perform to high acclaim both on the stage and in education workshops. Recent performances include ClassicFM Live, Radio 3’s In Tune at the Hay Festival, and they are resident musicians for Welsh Rugby Union at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff.

They play everything from Bach to Bruno Mars, Pharrell Williams to Mozart.

The Quartet will be performing in the first half of the concert, which is at 7pm on Sunday June 22nd at the Armstrong Hall, Thornbury. Earlier in the day they will have held an open rehearsal for the SCYO players to watch, and ask questions. The second half of the performance will be the South Cotswold Youth Orchestra performing Dvorak’s Sixth Symphony which they will have been rehearsing that afternoon.

There are no advance tickets for the concert (donations on the door), with doors opening at 6.40pm. There will be interval drinks.

Further pictures and the poster below, or you can hear the group via the player too!


Timetable for SCYO ‘Symphony in a Day’ announced

On Sunday June 22nd, some of the finest young musicians across South Gloucestershire and Bristol will come together at the Armstrong Hall in Thornbury to learn a symphony in a day. This year, the symphony is Dvorak’s Sixth Symphony. Dvorak’s Sixth Symphony was one of the first large-scale works to bring the composer international recognition. Dedicated to the conductor of the Vienna Phil at the time, Hans Richter, it sees Dvorak blend his nationalistic idiom of Czech folk music with a more Germanic Classical-Romantic form.

The musicians will meet at 1pm, and the day promises to have a real mix of activities for everyone:

1pm-3pm – Rehearsal. Under the skilled baton of Chris Sanders (a graduate of Bath Spa Uni and in demand as both a trumpeter and Musical Director), the orchestra will begin preparations on the symphony.

3pm-4pm – Alexander Technique Masterclass with Lisa Clarke. Lisa is a qualified and experienced teacher of the Alexander Technique. As well as her busy practice in Clifton, she specialises in work with schools, in particular those working in sports and the arts. The Alexander Technique includes principals on how to use the body more efficiently,  decreasing strain and helping to prevent injury, as well as allowing the individual to reach their true potential. Lisa will also be on hand to answer an questions the player have.

4pm-5.45 – Rehearsal. Preparations will continue on the Symphony. There will also be a rehearsal of Britten’s Soirees Musicales, ready for the orchestra’s special performance at Music for Youth in Birmingham on July 12th.

5.45-6.15 – Open Rehearsal with Bone Appetit. This young and exciting trombone quartet form the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama will be holding an open rehearsal and discussion session with the orchestra players. It is a great opportunity for them to watch a chamber group rehearse, as well as asking them questions about life at music college and the application process.

7pm – ConcertThe first half of the concert will be with Bone Appetit, with SCYO performing the Britten and the Dvorak after the interval (refreshments available). There are no advance tickets, and donations on the door.

I hope you can join us for what promises to be a fantastic evening of musical entertainment.

If you have a young player (gr4+) on an orchestral instrument, there are still a couple of places available – but you must contact immediately!


SCYO Invited to take part in MFY National Festival in Birmingham

Today the South Cotswold Youth Orchestra were invited to perform at the National Festival in Birmingham. Run by Music for Youth, the National Festival is a week-long celebration featuring several thousand of the country’s top young musicians, taking over various venues across the city. There are workshops, performances, stalls and street performances – with music in Symphony Hall, the Town Hall, Birmingham Peoples’ Library and the Birmingham Conservatoire, the mood is more akin to Glastonbury!

SCYO have been invited to take part in a celebration of the composer Benjamin Britten. Earlier this year the group performed his ‘Soirees Musicale’ to great acclaim, as part of the Britten and Beyond Project. As one of only 23 groups across the globe chosen to take part in the project, they will be performing at the 520-seat Adrian Boult Hall. As well as their own performance, they will be joining forces with other groups to perform a newly-arranged work. It promises to be a great day, with the orchestra performing at national level. The day will also contain workshops and opportunities to watch other groups. Plus the performance will be webcast around the globe!

There are more details about the day at, or you can watch highlights from last year’s festival below.

Applications now open for NYO

NYOGB wants to give the UK’s most dedicated young musicians every opportunity to participate in our vibrant, challenging orchestra. We look for musicians and composers who combine considerable technical aptitude and flair for orchestral playing with a taste for adventure, open minds and a great team spirit. Our members have a responsibility not simply for themselves as performers but for each other and as ambassadors, encouraging other young musicians to deepen their relationship with orchestral music.”

Find out more on their website:

Watch TAMC Perform at Cheltenham

We’ve uploaded a number of new videos to the TAMT youtube channel

Like this one: The TAMC Senior Orchestra performing a Greenday medley at Cheltenham, as part of the 2014 Music for Youth Regional Festival.

A Brilliant Celebration of Britten with SCYO

Friday March 14th was concert night for the South Cotswold Youth Orchestra. With a packed audience at St Helen’s in Alveston, the orchestra were buzzing with excitement. The concert opened with Mozart’s ‘Prague’ Symphony which, whilst Mozart’s 38th Symphony, is widely accepted to be the first true symphony in the form we know it today. Written when Mozart was high on the success of his opera, it was written for a special trip to Prague. The first moevement, the longest in any symphony of the 18th century, begins with a powerful Adagio which the orchestra handled very well, before erupting into a fiery Allegro. The last movement is another tour de force, with the strings and wind playing independently, with the music moving through a variety of keys. It is a testament to the ability of these players that they kept their concentration, and their cool, throughout the whole performance.

We were then delighted to welcome our orchestra leader Esmae to the piano, where she performed the second movement of the Brahms Piano Concerto No.2 in Bb. Esmaes performance was not just technical accurate, is showed a great depth of musicality as the music passes between the orchestra and soloist time and time again. Esmae received a fitting enthusiastic reception from the orchestra, and was seen talking to audience members about the piano and her playing at the end of the concert.

SCYO then closed the concert with a performance of Britten’s ‘Soirees Musicales’. This was a part of the centenary celebrations of the English composer taking place around the globe. The orchestra was selected to take part in the Britten and Beyond project ( which sees youth groups from around the world coming together to learn and play the music of Britten, and share their experiences of his music. You can visit the orchestra page on the website, and the two pictures below were taken in the concert just before they played the work. The performance itself was technically adept. There were brilliant solos from our clarinet, oboe, trumpet and flute principals, as well as a great sound and brilliance from our strings and percussion. A real treat to hear a youth orchestra play so well. Well done!

Junior Music Centre progression

The Trustees and tutors of TAMT have been thrilled with how the children attending the Junior Music Centre (TAJMC) have been developing over the past terms. We have taken on a second tutor to enable us to cater for the growing numbers enrolling and this also will allow us to provide additional parallel sessions for those children who are progressing quickly. At some point, the children will be encouraged to move groups to allow them to continue their learning at a suitable pace. These transitions will take place at a suitably identified time in consultation between the tutor and parent/carer. Our aim is that their musical journey through TAJMC will hopefully lead to the children starting music lessons in an instrument of their choice and eventually joining TAMC.

Interactive online tool from the LSO

Play LSO (

Want to know what it’s like to be onstage with the London Symphony Orchestra? This site allows you to change camera angles, sit in different sections and get a bird’s-eye view of life onstage with one of the world’s greatest orchestras!

Online Music Theory Tools

Music Learning Tools . net (


This site is a collection of invaluable tools for those wanting to improve their musical ear or improve their theoretical knowledge. The site will pose a series of questions on various aspects of music theory including:

  • Knowledge of the formulae for scales
  • Ear training: recognising intervals
  • Recognising Key Signatures

It’s a great way to improve your skills with just a few minutes here and there – and an incentive to improve your score as you go along!

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