Over two days on July 4 and 5, more than 70 young musicians from Armidale and surrounds (including Coffs Harbour) came together in the Old Teachers College to form a Youth Orchestra of incredible size and sound. Under the baton of Ann Phelan from Bellingen (who has been leading the workshop for 16 years), the students learned five orchestral works that many school-aged ensembles would take weeks to prepare. Considerable thanks must go to the many tutors who worked with students in smaller instrumental sections, teaching them their parts carefully so that Ann was able to pull everything together in a short time with limited rehearsals. At a concert on the Thursday afternoon all the pieces were presented, with Leroy Anderson’s Irish Suite, The Greatest Showman, Summer Dances and A Pirate’s Legend proving to be hits with the appreciative audience. Ancient Echoes of Time added an extra treat for the workshop, with former student, Jonathan Bruhl returning to take the conductor’s podium as part of a special conductor mentoring program.
Feedback from this year’s JOW:
“I thought it was really fun! I learned a lot and enjoyed working with [my tutor] Dave.” (Alexei, 11, French Horn).
“The music camp was a great opportunity to play music in a large group and meet new people. The music was interesting and all the pieces were very different to each other, which kept you on your toes.” (Felix, 13, Cello).
“I’ve been attending the JOW for at least four years and every year I enjoy being able to come back and gain new insight into my technique and making new friends along the way.” (Will, 15, Percussion).
“The experience of being a tutor at the JOW was incredible. To be able to guide the young players through each piece and help them to play it well was very rewarding. I would happily do it again” (Sophia, Viola tutor).