Another wonderful year of lots of music-making for the Armidale Youth Orchestra! A very big thank you to our conductors Joanna Fairs-Wu and Paul Marshall who have gone the extra miles to keep our orchestra program working so well.
It’s been a busy year of events – starting with Sawtell Music Camp in February – a much loved weekend of beach, sand, sun and orchestral playing – what a combination! This year we welcomed guest conductor Ben Castle, who worked with AYO for the weekend. We all enjoyed having him so much, that he has agreed to return next year.
Sawtell is always a superb lead-up to the Garden Party in April. The Rosemary Leitch Garden Party was held for the first time at Chevy Chase. Coordinators Stuart and Katrina George did a sterling job with $5000 raised for the orchestra. Particular thanks to Corinne and Phil for hosting our fundraiser in their garden. We had a bit of a struggle with the weather which didn’t cooperate, but it was a very special community event. The audience had an in-orchestra sound experience as our impromptu umbrella marquee.
May was Eisteddfod time – and both AYO and AYSO played in a number of sections. It was an important performance opportunity for our students and allows our ensembles to be heard in the wider community.
School performances also featured during the year – AYO performed Walk through the Orchestra in a combined school performance at NECOM in August. AYSO headed out on the road – to Glen Innes with 2 school performances to over 600 students.
And the year finished with the Gala concert in November – this time with the theme of Music from the Movies. Who can forget the star performance of guest conductor Darth Vader?!
Our program would not be possible without the support of our sponsors for activities over the year including Rosemary Leitch, John Hadfield Piano Tuning, Armidale High School, PLC and TAS, NEGS. The Endangered Instrument Scholarship has been supported by David Moffatt.
2018 looks to be such an exciting year with lots of new and exciting activities for AYO’s 50th birthday. The Armidale Youth Wind Ensemble has been reinstated – and we have 16 players already signed up for next year. This Ensemble will be taken by Paul Marshall, Joanna Fair-Wu will continue with AYSO, and we welcome Russell Bauer as the conductor for AYO next year. Our big birthday bash has been scheduled for 19 August – and we have commissioned Paul Marshall to write a special piece for the orchestra for this occasion. We can’t wait to hear it!
Caroline Downer, Chair AYO Committee