AYO Garden Party 2024

After two days of rain preceding the planned date, the annual AYO Garden Party was moved from Chevy Chase to the indoor wet weather venue at PLC. 


The weather on the day was beautiful. There was also a sunny mood inside the venue as many parent volunteers were chipping in to set up the event. The guests arrived to a spread of slices and scones with clotted cream. There were regulars plus many new faces, making for a large and appreciative audience.


Conducted by Joanna Fairs-Wu, Armidale Youth Strings (AYS) opened the concert with Tall Ships, Gypsy Dance and Archaic Voices. They played with lots of energy and excellent accents. 


Armidale Youth Winds (AYW) delighted the audience with Russian Sailors Dance, Dark Ride and Bohemian Rhapsody conducted by Louisa Sindel-Marshall. Then, in collaboration with the AYO winds and brass, they played a groovy number called Tripwire.


Sinfonia (the strings of AYO) performed Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol, which is a series of lively Spanish folk songs.


The Armidale Youth Orchestra (AYO) closed out the concert with Prokofiev’s Montague and Capulets from Romeo and Juliet, Vaughan-Williams’ English Folk Songs Suite, and Holst’s Jupiter, conducted by Robert van Gend. The Holst seemed to resonate particularly with the audience, with several making a point of mentioning how much they liked it.


Some NECOM teachers (Paul Marshall, Jack Cavanagh, Malcolm Liddell) as well as a parent (Li Ling Chen) and an AYO alumnus (Max Guppy) joined the ensembles for the Garden Party. Their contribution is appreciated – it is essential for the young players to see the experts up close and play alongside them. 


Robert van Gend