County-Wide Opportunities

Applications for the 23/24 season are now closed. Applications for the 24/25 season will open in May 2024.

Buckinghamshire County Ensembles 2023/24 Season

We are delighted to announce the new season for BCYO, BYWE, BCYC & BYJC

The Buckinghamshire County Groups exist to provide access to high level repertoire working with the best young musicians in the county. Our programmes will also include some partnership and masterclass opportunities with established professional musicians.

We recognise 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.

All groups are open to any young person up to the age of 22 of the required standard.  Applications are considered for anyone currently or previously resident or at school in Buckinghamshire and from any adjacent area where similar provision is not available.  We are also happy to welcome university students who wish to return to Bucks to take part.

The 2023-24 programme will include a 3-day, 2-night residential for each group.

The Buckinghamshire County Groups perform at major venues and festivals all in the UK and Europe, including most recently St John's, Smith Square in 2022.  They will tour to Belgium in the Summer of 2023 and have previously toured in Jersey, Prague, Budapest and Iceland.

Download the 23/24 brochure here

Buckinghamshire County Youth Orchestra (BCYO)

Tom Horn

Musical Director: Tom Horn

Orchestral Manager: Melinda Priestley

Comprising the county's finest young orchestral musicians, BCYO has earned a reputation for exciting, high quality performances.  Each season, the ensemble tackles challenging orchestral repertoire with performance opportunities not only in Bucks, but also at prestigious venues in the UK and abroad.  Under the expert guidance of conductor Tom Horn, members are also supported by professional tutors who will challenge them to achieve their highest standards in playing.  In the coming season, the orchestra will undertake a residential course to prepare a variety of repertoire, including the feature work: Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.

Tom Horn developed his pasion while studying Music with Acoustics at Southampton University.   He trained with notable conductors like Peter Stark, Peter Ash, Toby Purser, and Robin Browning.

Tom has worked with various Youth and Amateur Orchestras in the South of England, collaborating with renowned musicians including Nicola Benedeti, David Owen Noris, and Sir Mark Elder.  Curently, he serves as the Musical Director for multiple ensembles, including the Buckinghamshire County Youth Orchestra, Pely Concert Orchestra, Marlow Orchestra, Aylesbury and Slough Youth Orchestras.  Additionally, he is involved with the Haslemere Music Society and founded the Charity Symphony Orchestra.

Buckinghamshire Youth Wind Ensemble (BYWE)

county2

Musical Director: Ed Hodgson

Orchestral Manager: Fay Hayhurst

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.

Ed Hodgson studied the French horn and conducting the Guildhall School of Music and then followed it with a postgraduate course at the Royal Academy of Music.  Since then he has enjoyed a varied musical career performing with orchestras including the BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Istanbul Philharmonic, Cyprus Symphony Orchestra and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra .  His West End experience includes playing in shows such as Oliver!, Wicked, Les Miserables, Gypsy, Miss Saigon, Kiss Me Kate and Warhorse, and has been a conductor on Mack and Mabel with Michael Ball, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Sinatra, Mary Poppins UK tours and has conducted the BBC National Orchestra of Wales brass ensemble for their series of recordings during lockdown.  He can be heard playing on the soundtrack of Doctor Who, Hidden Kingdom, Atlantis and Crimewatch!

Bucks County Youth Choir (BCYC)

Edwin Pitt Mansfield

Musical Director: Edwin Pitt Mansfield

Manager: Karen Wallace

BCYC is an auditioned choir for experienced young singers and musicians 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 whilst building key choral singing skills.  The 2023/24 season will feature an eclectic range of music, ranging from Baroque to Contemporary in genre and spanning different languages.

Edwin Pitt-Mansfield is an educator and musical director based in Watford, trained at Junior Guildhall School of Music and Trinity College of Music.  He Has performed in opera companies and choirs in the UK and France, specialising in lieder and English song recitals.  As an educator, Edwin focuses on teaching secondary school students and is part of the vocal faculty at Tring School for the Performing Arts.  He also teaches singing at Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School.  Edwin has conducted workshops,. presented at conferences, and serves at the Musical Director of the Bucks County Youth Choir and the choral program at Amersham Music Centre.  Additionally, he is an examiner for Trinity College London and currently chairs the Association of Teachers of Singing.

Bucks Youth Jazz Collective (BYJC)

Ralph Wyld

Musical Director: Ralph Wyld

Manager: Fay Hayhurst

The central ethos of this new and exciting group is improvisation, with the majority of time spent working in small groups on interaction, listening and leadership and will include opportunities to work with established players. In addition to preparing for performances, there is a strong emphasis on process, ensuring our young jazz musicians have the skills to play in and lead jazz ensembles, and preparing them for further studies.

Award-winning vibraphonist and composer Ralph Wyld is making his name playing original, contemporary music with artists such as Yazz Ahmed and Stan Sulzmann.  He has performed at venues and festivals across five continents, and released an album on Edition Records described as an "outstanding debut" by MOJO magazine.  As well as directing BYJC, Ralph is a tutor for the National Youth Jazz Collective, and is a Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music in jazz education.

Programme of events:

Bucks County Groups 2023-24 FINAL copy

The dates above are firm and must be fully committed to, except in exceptional circumstances.  As most members are in their upper school years, the summer term schedules ensure that they do not interfere with exam preparation.

Rehearsal locations with timings will be sent out to all members at the start of the season.  All rehearsals are full days and exact times will be sent to members at the start of the season.

Members should be aware that other performance and masterclass opportunities may arise during the year, and we will give as much notice as possible for these.

How to Apply

All prospective and existing applicants must complete an application form.

Applications for all groups are open until the first session listed above.

BCYO & BYWE

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.

BCYC

Open to any musician who has reached minimum standard of Grade 6 or higher in any instrument. All new singers will be expected to audition for a place in the ensemble. It is not essential to be having singing lessons, but some singing experience and an appropriate level of reading and musicianship skills are necessary.

BYJC

Open to players of any instrument with some experience and a passion for jazz and improvisation. They should be of a standard to play in a senior band or orchestra and most importantly be passionate about improving their skills and challenging themselves to improve.

Auditions

Existing members are not required to audition but must complete a new application form.

Prospective new members will be contacted for an individual audition where necessary as applications are received.  All BCYO string players will be assessed at the first rehearsal and positioned accordingly.

We will endeavour to arrange auditions in the most convenient location across the three BMT music centres in High Wycombe, Amersham & Aylesbury.  Auditions will be arranged individually with the directors.

Applicants for BCYO, BYWE & BCYC will be required to sing/play a solo unaccompanied piece of their choice and undertake some unseen sight reading/singing.

 

Membership Fees:

1 group £350
2 groups £400
3 groups £450
4 groups £500

 

  • Fees include all elements of the programme, including the full cost of residentials
  • Subsidies are available for students eligible for FSM (50%) and siblings (20%)
  • Payment plans can be arranged to spread the cost across the year

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 cost presents a challenge, please contact the Director of Music at BMT for a confidential discussion via director@bucksmusic.org

Further Information

Please send any questions for the Group Managers

BCYO - Melinda Priestley - mpr@bucksmusic.org

BYWE & BYJC - Fay Hayhurst - fhayhurst@bucksmusic.org

BCYC - Karen Wallace - kwallace@bucksmusic.org

Applications for the 23/24 season are now closed. Applications for the 24/25 season will open in May 2024.

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 www.artsaward.co.uk.

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.