AYO Garden Party

Knowing that New England weather can be unpredictable, all fingers were crossed on the morning of the annual Rosemary Leitch Garden Party, this year held at Chevy Chase on Dangarsleigh Road. The young musicians from the three Armidale Youth Orchestras could not have asked for a better day to perform, and the crowd of 100 enjoyed some beautiful music making, punctuated with food and drink from local caterers and parents. The Youth Wind Ensemble under the direction of Paul Marshall delivered a triumphant return of this important ensemble, after a one-year hiatus. Many of the works they performed are scored for much larger Concert Bands (including Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Saint-Saen’s Danse Macabre), and the students played with conviction. Joanna Fairs-Wu followed up with the Armidale Youth String Orchestra, who gave a performance that belied their young age. There were many highlights within their program, with their rendition of Vivaldi’s Autumn – Winter – Spring proving very popular. Ending the program was the Armidale Youth Orchestra conducted by NECOM Director, Mr Russ Bauer. Their arrangement of Grainger’s English Country Gardens was well-suited to this outdoor concert, with the right to conduct the orchestra being auctioned off to the highest bidder. Rossini’s Overture to the Barber of Seville proved to be a stirring conclusion to the event. Special guest at the Garden Party was Rosemary Leitch herself, former mayor and one of Armidale’s greatest supporters of the arts and youth music. NECOM and families would like to thank Caroline Downer and the AYO Parent Support Group for the planning that went into this successful event, and Corinne Arter for allowing the concert to be staged in the beautiful grounds of Chevy Chase. All three groups and their conductors will now shift their focus to preparation for the ensembles section of the local Eisteddfod.