The 2019 Armidale Youth Orchestras Gala Concert was held at Lazenby Hall, UNE on Sunday 18 August and was attended by hundreds of music lovers. The Armidale Youth Wind Ensemble took us around the world with a variety of traditional folk tunes from different countries, and the Armidale Youth String Orchestra took us on a journey through time playing some lively Mozart from the Classical period, sublime Respighi from the early 20th century, and the toe-tapping ‘Fiddle Fever’ by contemporary Australian composer Keith Sharpe. The Armidale Youth Orchestra took us an emotional journey with some sprightly Rimsky-Koraskov, evocative Schubert from the early Romantic period, fantasy and folklore with Stravinsky and finishing off with some heart-warming Cole Porter.
One of the highlights of the concert was the finale conducted by Paul Marshall. All AYO players combined to perform ‘Warrior Legacy’ by Soon Hee Newbold. Newbold is a contemporary American composer, conductor, musician, and actress, and the performance of her orchestral piece befitted the title superbly! This piece was first introduced to the AYO ensembles at the annual Sawtell music camp in February this year. Aside from a quick rehearsal before the concert, the combined ensemble had not played this piece since February, and the audience would not have guessed! We think this may become a Gala Concert tradition!
The Armidale Youth Orchestras celebrated their 50th birthday last year, and the concert on Sunday confirmed that the AYO ensembles show no sign of slowing down! The growth of the Armidale Youth Orchestras has meant that the 100 students now perform across five ensembles – the Youth Wind Ensemble, the Symphonic Winds, the Youth String Orchestra, the AYO Sinfonia and, of course, the 50-piece Armidale Youth Orchestra. Congratulations to the players and conductors of the Armidale Youth Orchestras! Your talent and passion for music-making is inspiring!