Young Oxfordshire musicians to shine in Schools’ Concerts

Stars from the Oxfordshire County Music Service will perform to their peers in a series of Schools’ Concerts.

The Oxfordshire County Youth Orchestra and Oxfordshire Youth Brass Ensemble will play to more than 1,300 schoolchildren at the Sheldonian Theatre on Friday, January 25.

Three concerts will be held throughout the day and a stunning repertoire will include film music from The Greatest Showman and How To Train Your Dragon, plus an orchestral overture to Hansel and Gretel.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Music Service epitomises the council’s vision for thriving people and communities and as a traded service, supported by the county council, its funding is derived from income and grants including from Arts Council England.

Jonathan Cox, senior manager at the Oxfordshire County Music Service, said more than 30 primary and secondary schools would be sending pupils to the Sheldonian to experience the thrill of watching a live orchestra.

He said: “Our annual Schools’ Concerts aim to inspire pupils to learn more about the music they will hear and maybe to learn an instrument.

“The pupils learn about the different instruments of the orchestra; the pieces and the composers who wrote the music.”

Making the grade

The County Youth Orchestra is the Music Service’s top youth orchestra, made up of students aged 13 to 18 who have reached Grade 7.

They are conducted by Dr John Traill, Director of Music at St Anne’s College, Oxford, and lecturer at a number of higher education establishments including Royal Holloway, London.

The orchestra rehearse on Saturday mornings and have a busy schedule during the year. They have performed at world-class venues including Birmingham Symphony Hall and the Royal Albert Hall, London.

The orchestra will also be travelling to Italy this summer to perform on a concert tour. There are still places available for suitably-qualified pupils. Details of the audition process can be found here.

The Oxfordshire Youth Brass Ensemble features 16 young musicians from the county’s two top orchestras, rehearsing on Wednesdays at the Centre for Music in Bayswater Road, Oxford.

They can also look forward to a busy schedule in 2019, having recently earnt rave reviews for their part in Oxford Bach Choir’s Christmas concert at the Sheldonian.

In for a treat

Cllr Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, Cabinet member for Cultural Services, said: “The county boasts some wonderful young musicians and those pupils attending the Sheldonian Theatre to enjoy these concerts are in for a treat.

“The concerts are of great educational value and I am sure several schoolchildren will be inspired to take up a musical instrument once they have watched their peers perform.”

The Music Service strikes a chord in the lives of 8,000 children each week and offers activities across a broad range of music genres – including three county orchestras, choirs, ensembles for specialist instruments, Early and Baroque music, junior and senior rock schools, music technology, songwriting clubs, Stringbabies classes for preschool and Reception children, a Dixieland jazz ensemble and four highly-successful Big Bands.