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County Youth Orchestra

The County Youth Orchestra in Bedford Corn Exchange ~ 3rd January 2006. The soloist is Tasmin Little:                     Click for full sized image
The County Youth Orchestra in Bedford Corn Exchange ~ 3rd January 2006.
The soloist is Tasmin Little: Click the image for full sized version.

When this orchestra was established in the early 1970's very few of the members actually came from within the remit of the Bedfordshire County Music Service. The majority of players were within the Harpur Trust schools in the town of Bedford itself. It took time for the talent in our state schools,  throughout the County to be nurtured and developed by the network of peripatetic teachers that had been established by the early County Heads of Music. Michael Rose, the current orchestra's conductor, came to Bedfordshire in 1972 as Head of Music, and under his baton this orchestra has always had a tradition of excellence, which in the spring of 1999 was recognized by the winning of a Sainsbury's Award for Youth Music followed by the recording of a concert in Bedford Corn Exchange by Classic FM.

The Youth Orchestra's concert at Bedford Corn Exchange on 4th January 2003 marked 30 years under Michael Rose's baton - a staggering total of almost 150 concerts. Many people have now been through the Youth Orchestra with Michael and a number have now made their own name in the world of professional music-making. Click here to see some of these names.

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During recent years the orchestra has toured widely visiting countries such as Cyprus, Germany and Spain, and has also performed in many prestigious venues in the UK. In the summer of 1998 the orchestra visited Arezzo in Northern Italy, which is Bedford's twin town in that country and in July/August of 2000 the orchestra visited Prague, capital of the Czech Republic as part of their tour of the country.

July 2002 saw the orchestra touring to Eastern Germany to take part in the "Festival of Mitte Europe" in Plauen. This was then followed by another concert in Bad Schmiediberg, a spa town close to Leipzig, where a standing ovation for their performance was received.

July 2004 saw the Orchestra touring again - this time to the Tuscany region in Northern Italy and visited Arezzo once more. Click here for pictures from this tour.

Entry to the Youth Orchestra is by audition only, among members of the 2nd Youth Orchestra, and the Youth Bands. Auditions take place two or three times a year.

To see a listing of some of the music recently performed by the County Youth Orchestra click here.

Photos from recent Youth Orchestra courses can be found by clicking here.