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Brighton Youth Orchestra and Brighton & Hove Youth Percussion Ensemble Western Bohemia tour

Players from Brighton & Hove Music & Art’s (BHMA) talented Brighton Youth Orchestra (BYO) and Brighton & Hove Youth Percussion Ensemble (BHYPE) have returned from the annual European tour this July. This time travelling to Czech Republic the ensembles performed in spa towns across the region and at the Czech Museum of Music in Prague.

For more than 40 members, aged between 13 to 19, the tour is part of BHMA’s programme of activities as an opportunity for students to develop their performance skills and professional music development.

Peter Chivers, Head of Brighton & Hove Music & Arts said:

“Part of our remit at BHMA is to prepare young musicians to develop their instrument skills and develop as performers. Touring is a large part of a musician’s life and we hope this opportunity will give them an insight into what it’s like to be on the road.”

The Western Bohemia tour culminated in a public performance in Brighton at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts on 11 July where both ensembles played brilliantly to parents/carers, friends and tutors, whilst ending with final farewells to players leaving the ensembles for their next steps in life.

BYO conductor Andy Sherwood shares a few highlights from the tour:

Despite the long coach journey there, the tour was filled with excitement and is a rare, extended chance for students to meet and bond. Through the daily rehearsals (and concerts!) the tour encouraged the BYO and BHYPE to work hard and get things better; the ensemble; fine tuning; technical challenges and musically, as well as having fun and building potentially life-long friendships.

For the concerts, both the BYO and BHYPE’s performances got better and better. They played to large and entranced audiences, sometimes receiving standing ovations, and lots of smiles (including the bus tour driver) uniting guests, players and tutors by music.

Is the annual tour worth it? Unequivocally yes! Often life changing and at least inspiring for students and staff pulling together. The tour is not a luxury activity but a highly focused musical tour with hard work and play, and an incredible opportunity and unmissable part of life that will always be remembered for the friendship and love it engenders as much as anything else.

Ahead of the tour we heard from 17-year-old, BYO percussion player, Milligan:

“The whole group are really excited to have the opportunity to learn what it’s like to be a musician on tour and to visit new cities and performing in front of audiences who have never seen us before. It’s also great for us to practice as much as we can so we can play for our friends and family back in Brighton at the end of tour concert. We can’t wait!”

Big well done to the BYO and BHYPE players and to all staff members involved!

If you want to see video snippets and images from the tour and more be sure to check out our Facebook @BHMusicandArts and Instagram @bhmusicandarts.

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