County-Wide Opportunities

Buckinghamshire County Ensembles 2019/20 Season

We are delighted to announce the new season for BCYO, BYWE, VBCYC & VBCTC

Buckinghamshire County Youth Orchestra (BCYO)


Musical Director: Tom Horn

The orchestra has a strong reputation for high quality performance both at home and abroad, having enjoyed tours to Hungary, Prague and Iceland over the past four years, as well as many UK concerts. Repertoire is selected to provide exciting and engaging programmes that will extend our young players and give them opportunities to perform in larger settings ready for their next steps as musicians.

Buckinghamshire Youth Wind Ensemble (BYWE)


Musical Director: Ed Hodgson

The high levels of musicianship in this ensemble means that it produces performances of exceptional quality, playing repertoire designed to challenge each player and provide them with a unique chamber ensemble experience. Players work alongside professionals in rehearsal to develop both their technical knowledge as well as their musicianship skills

Buckinghamshire County Concert Band (BCCB)

David Batsman

Conductor: David Batsman

The Buckinghamshire County Concert Band has been created to give our wind, brass and percussion players from across the county a chance to play in a large wind ensemble enabling them to play a wide range of repertoire.  The ensemble is for performers who are grade 3 and above (exams need not to have been taken). This band will eventually perform alongside the Buckinghamshire Youth Wind Ensemble, a group for our County’s senior players at the fantastic facilities at Stowe School.  The Spring/Summer fee is £65 for all sessions. Click here to join!

Voice Bucks County Youth Choir (VBCYC)


Musical Directors: Fiona Firth & Edwin Pitt Mansfield

VBCYC is an auditioned choir for experienced young singers who enjoy learning and performing a variety of music to a high standard. It is a county-wide ensemble performing mixed, choral repertoire in a friendly and supportive environment. The 2019/20 season will feature an eclectic range of music, ranging from Baroque to Contemporary, spanning different languages and offering singers a chance to work on solo repertoire.

Voice Bucks County Training Choir (VBCTC)

Musical Directors: Fiona Firth & Edwin Pitt Mansfield

VBCTC is a non-auditioned ensemble suitable for less experienced singers that serves as an introductory ensemble for high level choral singing. Promising candidates outside of this bracket will be considered. It will provide training in key areas of choral singing such as sight singing, vocal range extension and general ensemble musicianship, a bridge ensemble to the full VBCYC.

Programme of events:

All three of the senior groups exist to provide access to high level repertoire working with the best young musicians in the county. We recognize that at this level, many young people are pursuing music seriously and so the schedules for these groups are designed such that you can participate in more than one group should you wish. This also allows university students to return to Bucks to take part and we encourage them to do so.

These groups go on an overseas tour every other year and will have been to Prague for a concert tour this summer. Therefore, in the 19/20 season there will be residentials for the two instrumental groups and a mini-tour in England for the Chamber Choir.

Members should be aware that other performance opportunities for the senior groups may arise during the year and we will give as much notice as possible for these. The dates below are firm and must be fully committed to except in exceptional circumstances. As most players are in their upper school years, the summer term schedules ensure that they do not interfere with exam preparation.

Sunday 20th October Sunday 27th October Sunday 29th September
Friday 20th December
Sunday 22nd December*
Sunday 8th December Sunday 3rd November
Sunday 24th November
Sunday 15th December (Rehearsal + Concert)
Sunday 5th January Friday 3rd January Sunday 26th January
Sunday 23rd February Thursday 16th April Sunday 1st March
Sunday 15th March Friday 17th April Sunday 29th March
Saturday 18th April
(Rehearsal + Concert) **
Saturday 18th April
(Rehearsal + Concert) **
Sunday 10th May
BMT Summer Festival – Sunday 5th July – all groups
Wednesday 22nd July
Saturday 25th July*
Sunday 11th July
17th – 19th July
Concert tour
August 25th – 27th
Concert course
Sunday 26th July (Rehearsal + Concert)

* Residential course, finishing with concert
** Shared rehearsal and concert

  • Applications for all groups are open until the first session
  • Existing members will not be required to audition
  • For new applicants, auditions will be arranged individually with the directors
  • Rehearsal and residential locations with timings will be sent out to all members at the start of the year
  • All rehearsals are full days except for VBCTC who rehearse from 10 – 12.30am


All three senior groups are open to any young person up to the age of 22 of the required standard. Applications are considered for any child currently or previously resident or at school in Buckinghamshire and from any adjacent area where similar provision is not available.

BCYO & BYWE are open to players at Grade 6 level or above on their instrument. We will always consider applications from students working towards Grade 6 with the support and recommendation of their teacher and then assess their suitability at audition.

VBCYC is open to any musician who has reached minimum standard of Grade 5 or higher in any instrument. All new singers will be expected to audition for a place in the ensemble. First study singing lessons is not essential, but some singing experience and an appropriate level of music reading and musicianship skills are important.

Voice Bucks County Youth Training Choir is non-auditioned and for ages 10 – 16 as a guide. Applicants should have some music experience and be comfortable with basic notation, although enthusiasm and a “love of singing” are far more important. (A recommended musical level of around Grade 3 would be advised). The session on Sunday 29th September will serve as a trial session after which membership will be confirmed to ensure that members have the necessary capability

To apply for any of these groups, please complete the online form below, or download here and return it to the address shown.


Existing members of BCYO, BYWE and VBCYC are not required to audition. New members will be contacted for an individual audition where necessary. All BCYO string players will be assessed at the first rehearsal and positioned accordingly.

Auditions for VBCYC will take place by individual arrangement following application.
We will endeavour to arrange auditions in the most convenient location across the three BMT music centres (High Wycombe, Amersham, Aylesbury)

Applicants will be required to sing/play a solo unaccompanied piece of their choice and undertake some unseen sight reading/singing.

Membership Fees:

Fees for the 2019/20 season are as follows:
BCYO / BYWE / VBCYC 1 group £350
2 groups £400
3 groups £450
VBCTC Only for this group £200

Fees include the cost of all elements of the programme, including residentials/tours

  • This can be paid in full or in three instalments – details following application process.
  • Subsidies are available for students eligible for FSM (50%) and siblings (15%).

Access to all senior county groups is driven by ability and opportunity. We want all eligible and committed young musicians to be able to take part. If the membership/tour cost presents a challenge, then please contact the Director of Music for a confidential discussion.

County Groups Application Form 2019/20

Download and return the application form here, or enter online using the form below.

Personal details

Select groups(s) by ticking each one that you wish to apply for.

Bucks County Youth OrchestraBucks Youth Wind EnsembleVoice Bucks County Youth ChoirVoice Bucks County Training Choir

Joining any of the senior groups requires the commitment to attend all the dates listed above.

Do not send any payment now – once registered you will be contacted to agree your payment plan.

Student Leadership Programme

BMT is keen to promote meaningful leadership opportunities for young people. This programme will provide excellent young musicians in the county the opportunity to achieve ArtsAward at Bronze, Silver or Gold level, which are comparable awards to GCSE and A-Level qualifications.  For more information, please visit

Arts Award Supporter

To apply for the Student Leadership programme, students will need to complete a formal application and be willing to make a significant contribution to music-making in the county. 

Community Projects

BMT is the core organisation of the Bucks Music Education Hub and as such supports and co-ordinates a number of community projects. Details of these can be found on the News feed and the events and Projects page of the BMEH site.