Bellingen Youth Orchestra will be happy campers

Bellingen Youth Orchestra will be happy campers

THE BELLINGEN Youth Orchestra (BYO) is once again leading the way in the provision of exceptional musical experiences for young musicians on the Mid North Coast.

After a tumultuous year in 2020, with many young players disheartened by the lack of opportunity to play alongside their fellow BYO players, the BYO committee acted quickly to organise a camp for all their players, ensuring, as ensemble leader Elizabeth Scott remarked, "that 2021 will be kick-started with a motivational bang!".

The orchestra is a non-for-profit organisation established to ensure accessibility of music for young people across the Bellingen Shire. BYO provides opportunities for players to be involved in all elements of the orchestral experience. This includes access to high calibre music teachers and performers.

The music program begins in the early years and continues beyond high school, enabling and promoting cultural and artistic education. BYO is committed to fostering partnerships with other musical and community groups.

The orchestra prides itself on its ability to work as a team, with high calibre musical teachers and conductors including Anne Phelan, Elizabeth Scott, Jacquie Gill and Amber Davis. With so much support from the wonderful team of music teachers already in the BYO, amplified by the mutual admiration and respect shown for each other, BYO players have no choice but to feel part of an extraordinary community.

It is this sense of community that the BYO will continue to foster within the camp environment.

For their inaugural camp, they are excited to be able to access the wonderful Coffs Harbour Adventure Centre and are grateful for the support of the Coffs Harbour Christian School, who have kindly donated classrooms ensuring that sectionals can occur for players to work in small group environments with specialist teachers for each instrument.

The Bellingen Youth Orchestra successfully obtained a small grant from the Bellingen Shire Council and is thankful for that.

The camp will be an opportunity to reignite the Bellingen 'Family' spirit and help players to reconnect with their music and each other.

"Our rehearsal sessions and concerts were greatly impacted in 2020, which was disheartening and challenging for everyone in our organisation. Many of the players in our main ensemble had to be separated due to COVID regulations in order to rehearse and almost all of the concerts were cancelled," Anne Phelan said.

"This greatly affected their passion for and commitment to their playing."

The camp will not only bring the players together in a fun, exciting, positive and engaging atmosphere but will also provide highly structured musical opportunities where the players can work closely with our local and visiting music teachers to develop their musicianship.

The camp will culminate in an afternoon gala concert where all ensembles will play for their families and members of the local community.

This camp will be exceptional with the involvement of a number of highly experienced and internationally recognised musicians travelling from all parts of Australia. Alongside our local teachers, the BYO is excited to welcome Elizabeth Neville - who has worked with many of Britain's top orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra of London, Hallé Symphony Orchestra, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. She is currently a cello player with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Joining Elizabeth in the string section will be Ursula Nelius. Ursula has also been involved with various orchestras including the Munich Radio Orchestra as well as winning a 1st violin job with the opera and ballet orchestra at the Gaertnerplatz Theatre. She has also performed with the Opera Australia Orchestra where she was regularly invited to take on principal roles within the violin sections.

Other visiting teachers including Phillip Arkinstall (Associate Principal Clarinet of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra since 2009) and Bridget Bolliger will provide the players with the full immersive orchestral experience. Bridget has appeared as concerto soloist with the St Gallen Symphony Orchestra, Basel Symphony Orchestra, Basel Radio Orchestra, Collegium Musicum Basel, Gruppo Concertistico della Svizzera Italiana (Lugano), Orquesta Sinfnica Simn Bolvar al Teatro Massimo (Palermo), Orquestra Sinfonica do Norte (Porto, Portugal) and the Sinfonica de So Paulo.

Visiting local musicians Pete Skelton and Arlene Fletcher will also share their expertise with the BYO community. Pete is far and away the best drummer north of Sydney and will provide the BYO percussionists with an opportunity to refine and develop their skill set.

Arlene is a renowned double bassist and is known for her work with Tim Rogers, The Twoks, Sidney Creswick, Luke Howard, Xani Kolac, Andrew Kimber Quartet and Tara Minton.

David and Gillian Helfgott, the orchestra's patrons, will visit the camp to offer their support and meet the visiting musicians.

If you would like to support the BYO financially with a donation to ensure that all players can attend the camp and assist with the cost of visiting musicians, email for information. As a non-for-profit, the BYO relies heavily on the generous support of the community.

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