Perth Youth Orchestra are putting the finishing touches to their 2017-2018 season. They were invited to represent Perth, along with the Julie Young Dance school, to take part in the International Youth Band Festival. This week (23rd August) they travel to Edinburgh for a concert in Greyfriars Kirk. For almost forty years their concert date in the capital, during the Festival, has been a real highlight for its young musicians. Performing as part of the official Fringe programme, they have been competing successfully each year with over 30,000 shows to win a discerning and appreciative audience for their music.
Mr Allan Young, coordinator of Perth and Kinross’ Instrumental Music Service, conducts over 80 musicians in a programme that opens with the American composer, Robert W. Smith’s ‘Into the Storm’ and concludes with the Soviet Armenian composer, Aram Khachaturian’s ‘Widow of Valencia Suite’.
The occasion provides an exciting global platform for leader Nicholas Baughan and the orchestra’s three young soloists; Sophie Chisholm (xylophone), Shona Rae (Bassoon) and Jess McFarlane (trumpet) performing works by Mayuzumi, Weber, and Goedicke.
Sam McLellan, an S6 pupil at Perth High School, continues his series of guest appearances at the podium, conducting the orchestra in ‘Mars’ from Holst’s suite ‘The Planets’.
Sam began playing the piano at the age of 4 with Elspeth Everett and more recently with Peter Evans. In S1 he took up tenor saxophone with tutor, Philip Alexander, and has enjoyed many years playing in Perth and Kinross Big Band and Wind Orchestra. Next month he starts his music studies at Edinburgh University.
Sam says, “My passion for conducting grew from attending masterclasses with Nigel Boddice at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and at choral conducting classes with Amy Bebbington. Currently he studies conducting under Peter Evans, who is a concert pianist and the conductor of Edinburgh’s Meadows Chamber Orchestra.”
“I am a Young Ambassador for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), an exciting role which has led to conducting instruction from Holly Mathieson and the opportunity to guest conduct the RSNO in June.”
For around twenty of its members the autumn concert series will mark the end of their time with the orchestra. New members will be auditioned next month.
Already, planning is well underway for next summer’s concert tour to Tuscany. The orchestra was last in Italy in 2013, during its 50th anniversary celebrations, where it performed at the Florence International Festival of Youth Orchestras.
Tour coordinator, Mr Andrew Mitchell explained, “The orchestra has travelled across Europe from Spain to Estonia. The decision to return to Florence, and the beautiful Tuscan countryside, has been a popular one, due to the stories of the huge audiences during our Golden Jubilee Tour in 2013. On one evening, in the city’s Piazza della Signoria, over 2000 people stood to listen, with hundreds of others enjoying the music from their tables in the surrounding restaurants.”
The orchestra returns to Perth, with the same programme, for the last concert in their season, at 7.30pm on Monday 27th August, at Perth Concert Hall.