Peterborough Youth Orchestra goes large

On 29 Aug-1 Sept 2017 Peterborough Youth Orchestra (PYO) runs its third annual four-day workshop for budding musicians at Ormiston Bushfield Academy, with a gala concert on the final day. The week provides young musicians with the opportunity to work alongside tutors with professional-level performance experience – and this year will be taking on a wider range of students than ever before. The Moment talks to Robin Norman, PYO founder and Head of Performing Arts at Ken Stimpson School.

This will the third annual PYO Summer Workshop – but what’s new for 2017?
This year it is expanding to give more people a chance, so as well as the full Peterborough Youth Orchestra (PYO), there will be a second orchestra – which we are calling PYO Too – for students who have not been playing for quite so long. The main orchestra is Grade 6 and above, and PYO Too will be Grade 3 and above. A number of people have also been asking about a youth jazz ensemble, because there hasn’t been one in Peterborough, so we’re also starting the Peterborough Youth Jazz Ensemble. All three ensembles will work side by side with professional musicians towards a concert on the final day.

Why are the PYO Summer Workshops important?
Many schools now don’t have orchestras, so this gives more young musicians a chance to come together and play in an orchestra and have that experience of training and playing with other people. The other thing is the social aspect. Students tend to stay in their school groups, but through the orchestra we’ll be bringing together people from across all Peterborough’s schools, and beyond.

How and why did PYO first come about?
I come from a background in King’s Lynn where I started in youth orchestras and remember them being fantastic places to learn to play in groups and make new friends. When I moved to Peterborough about six years ago and first got involved with Music Hub I realised there wasn’t anything like that in the city, so I got involved in the formation of the City of Peterborough Youth Ensembles. That was great for students up to about Grade 5, but we realised there wasn’t anything for people to go on to above that. That was when I got talking to Music Hub about getting a summer course together with a youth orchestra. For the first one, in 2015, we had 23 students. Last summer we had 33 and then we did a February workshop this year which had 38 – so, it is growing!

Has the music scene improved in the city?
In the last couple of years there’s definitely been a shift. Lots more organisations are working much closer together – there’s the Music Hub working with PHACE, and also with local schools. It’s really joined up thinking that is improving the opportunities for everyone. Music Hub also provide financial support, so we can keep costs down for parents. We want as many young people as possible to be involved and to really enjoy what they’re doing.

The new ensemble bring jazz into the mix – how important is it to cross genre boundaries?
As a music teacher I see people in my school who are heavily into musical theatre, orchestral music, rap, rock, and the camaraderie when they are all doing something musical together is great. They say music is a universal language, and it really is. If people have a love of music, no matter what it is, we should be nurturing that relationship.

Bursaries bring great opportunities to budding young players

The Peterborough Music Hub is offering bursaries to eligible young musicians in support of lessons with local music teachers. Successful applicants will be able to show natural flair and a commitment to learning through recommendations from private teachers or schools.

Bursary applications are means tested and will help low-income families (and others with demonstrable financial needs) to support a child’s music education and enable them to fulfil their musical potential. The funding can contribute to the cost of private lessons, provide additional training opportunities and/or membership of the city’s Peterborough Centre for Young Musicians.

This is a great time to make an application, before the start of the autumn term. The Hub can also assist with free instrument loan and offer advice on locating tutors and other training providers.

Peterborough Centre for Young Musicians calls out for votes to bag a share of bag charge fund

PCYM is bidding to bag a massive cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative for its Peterborough Centre for Young Musicians: Percussion for All! fundraising campaign. Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to local community projects.

Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant. PCYM is one of the groups on the shortlist. The Centre operates out of Ormiston Bushfield Academy in Orton on Saturday mornings during term time. The Centre – opened in October 2016 – provides sessions for the city’s young musicians, aged 5-18. It currently works with junior and senior level wind, brass, piano and singing ensembles, as well as special classes for very young players. This autumn, PCYM aims to launch both guitar and percussion ensembles too.

PCYM is a division of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and its links with the world renowned conservatoire provides wonderful opportunities for members looking to attend further training and enter professional music careers.

The fundraising campaign through Tesco will support investment in the provision of tuned percussion instruments, helping to establish an exciting new ensemble for PCYM – appealing to the city’s drummers and percussionists. It will open opportunities for young people who love drumming, rhythm and performing in different styles and genres. The project within PCYM will engage with young people at the very early stages of their percussion instrument learning journey and support those showing musical skill, potential, interest and enthusiasm but are in circumstances where it is unlikely that they will continue without specific intervention. Pupils will be able to loan instruments for free so they can practice at home.

The Centre Manager Kirsten Barr said: ‘It is fantastic that PCYM has been selected to participate in this exciting and truly local fundraising campaign. We hope that Peterborough’s music lovers, shopping in Tesco stores and needing extra carrier bags this summer, will decide to support the Centre and help develop it into a truly regional destination for our young musicians. Everyone can support our campaign by promoting it through social media. Follow our fundraising on Twitter and Facebook – @PmhPcym and PeterboroughCYM – and share our efforts with your family, friends and colleagues.’

Voting is open in many local Tesco stores throughout July and August. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.

Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered over £30 million to more than 4,600 projects up and down the UK. Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups every time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.

Lindsey Crompton, Head of Community at Tesco, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for July and August. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see them come to life in hundreds of communities.’

Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said: ‘We’ve been thrilled to see the diversity of projects that have applied for funding, ranging from outdoor classrooms, sports facilities, community gardens, play areas and everything in between. We’re looking forward to learning the results of the customer vote and then supporting each group to bring their project to life.’

Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities. Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online.

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