It’s half term this week and I decided to sign up for Southwark Youth Orchestra (SYO) which is for all young musicians grade 5 upwards. Although I spent a year playing in the Sinfonia at Lewisham Saturday Centre, it was quite a small group so, joining the SYO for its residency at the Southbank Centre was a brilliant opportunity to participate in a full orchestra. Another reason I signed up was that S (a friend I made at Take it from the Top) contacted me to ask if I was going.
At SYO I was one of four trumpets. Others in the brass section included two french horns, two trombones and a tuba. One of the trumpeters was Ella Vickers, a classical trumpet student at Trinity Laban who had come along to support our playing. It was a new experience for me to play as part of a trumpet section in an orchestra as I was the only trumpet in the Sinfonia. I can’t believe how many pieces we learned over the course of three days. There were six in total, many of which were from the BBC Ten Pieces initiative. My favourite was Bizet’s Toreador Song from Carmen as the trumpets had a solo.
The course finished with two performances. The first was in the Royal Festival Hall where SYO joined the Orion Orchestra for the Noisy Notes concert. Sue Perkins conducted us for the Toreador Song. Rehearsing with her was a great laugh because of her entertaining comments (being entertaining isn’t something that I think of as being part of a conductor’s job!). Later, we performed all six pieces in the Clore Ballroom to an audience of family, friends and general public.
It’s been a great few days and it’s something I’d love to do again.