The following report was presented at Perth Youth Orchestra’s Annual General Meeting on Monday 28th September, 2015.
Perth Youth Orchestra is in its 53rd year. Founded in 1962 by two Perth muisicians, Louis Barnett and John Davie, with a small group of interested parents, it gave its first concert on 25th June 1964. The orchestra is a registered charity in Scotland.
In the past year the orchestra has:
- Performed at the Childline Concert
- Performed in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at Greyfriars Kirk
- Played at the Perth Festival of the Arts Dedication Service
- Competed in Perform in Perth
- Held two concerts at Perth Concert Hall
- PYO Fiddle group played at Edinburgh Castle
The PYO Committee have been beavering away behind the scenes, meeting with the Council to champion the Instrumental Music Service, changing our legal status to a SCIO, and fund-raising with a car boot sale, and DVD/book sale. A special thank you to our Treasurer, Steffi Anderson, for successfully applying to trusts for essential funds. I am grateful to all our committee members and helpers for their time and effort.
This time next year we will be looking for a new president, Treasurer and Friends co-ordinator. So it would be great to have some new committee members joining this year to learn the ropes, so that they can step into some roles next year.
I am pleased to say that the Instrumental Music Service is no long going to be moved into a separate Trust, but will stay within the Council. It is being moved from Cultural Services in to the Education and Children’s Services dept, which will promote stronger links with the school system.
We are looking forward to the trip to Prague next July, when PYO will be playing in several venues and exploring this historic, unique city. Thanks to Andrew Mitchell and his sub-committee the immense amount of work involved in organising a tour. We have a busy year ahead of us organising the tour, and fund-raising for its costs.
Of course none of our endeavours would be possible without the unflagging enthusiasm and talent of our conductor, Allan Young and his team of tutors.
Rachel Weiss (PYO President)
Following on from the success of two excellent Autumn concerts, auditions took place in September 2014 with rehearsals resuming in October 2014.
This year the orchestra again had quite a few 6th year pupils leaving from the brass and cello sections in particular.
The orchestra’s first commitment would again be the Annual ChildLine Christmas Concert in December. As usual pieces from a lighter repertoire were selected to allow this new ensemble time to get used to playing together.
Childline Programme: A Festive Christmas and Miss Saigon Suite
The concert was of a very high standard. All groups performed very well with PYO bringing the event to a rousing Finale with the Miss Saigon selection including helicopter. The new young members of the orchestra in particular showed that they had quickly adjusted to this level of music making! The concert hall was filled to capacity and in excess of £12,000 was raised for the charity.
Taking into consideration where the various strengths (and sometimes the weaknesses are!) is imperative for repertoire selection for Youth Orchestras. The aim as always is tackle something that is a real challenge but achievable, fun and musically fulfilling.
Following on from ChildLine, a short piece was chosen for the orchestra in the form of Aaron Copland’s Billy the Kid Suite.There were initial challenges with the new young players to rise to the challenges of this piece but slowly it started to piece together.
Perform in Perth
The orchestra performed the Miss Saigon Suite as a Finale to Perform in Perth’s Band Day and played very well considering there was no rehearsal and it had been the previous Monday that the orchestra had last played this piece.
The quality of playing at this year’s event was again extremely high and once more provided the adjudicator, Sandra Taylor with an incredibly difficult task.
The successful soloists this year were Neil Coe, Romance for Viola and Orchestra by Bruch and Jamie Salem-Dalgety with the Oboe Concerto in D Min by Albinoni.
Aberfoyle Music Camp was extremely successful with an incredible amount of hard work being undertaken.
The programme was confirmed as:
Copland: Billy the Kid
Bruch: Romance for Viola and Orchestra – Soloist: Neil Coe
Albinoni: Concerto for Oboe and Strings – Soloist: Jamie Salem-Dalgety
Mussorgsky arr. Ravel: Excerpts from Pictures at an Exhibition
Marquez: Danzon no 2
Music Camp Concert
After an unfortunate hiccup in the Billy the Kid Suite the concert settled down with our two concerto soloists acquitting themselves admirably. Once again it should be noted that the young new members of the orchestra really responded well to their particular challenges. Pictures had some fine moments but also some passages for improvement for the Autumn Concerts.
Festival of Arts
As usual the orchestra led the worship at the Perth Festival of the Arts in St John’s Kirk which was well received by a large congregation.
A group of fiddlers from PYO travelled through to perform at Edinburgh Castle as part of the WW1 centenary in June. A large crowd enjoyed the selections of traditional music played from the Minstrels’ Gallery.
The orchestra had two rehearsals over the first weekend of the new term. These extra sessions allowed the players to get the programme for Edinburgh and Perth sufficiently polished and were extremely beneficial. The two Monday rehearsals alone would have been insufficient to allow the orchestra the level of performance it is recognised for.
This was our fifth trip to Greyfriars and it was nice to be performing again in this great church and fine acoustic. The concertos were particularly good in this venue and the concert was enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience. I felt that this was the best Greyfriars concert we had presented.
It was a concern that there might be a backlash after the very fine concert at Greyfriars but the orchestra again performed admirably although the Concert Hall acoustic is less forgiving but completely honest. All in all a very good finale to the season and Danzon no 2 bringing the house down!
To all the PYO tutors for their relentless work and enthusiasm!
To the Perth Youth Orchestra Committee led by Rachel for their continued dedication and support.
Thanks to all who contributed to another successful year.
Allan Young (Conductor, Perth Youth Orchestra)