County-Wide Opportunities

Buckinghamshire County Ensembles 2020/21 Season

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

Buckinghamshire County Youth Orchestra (BCYO)

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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)

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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

Voice Bucks County Youth Choir (VBCYC)

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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 2020/21 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 intrinsically connected to the senior Youth Choir and is suitable for less experienced and younger singers (10 – 16). The group is an introductory ensemble for students wishing to gain experience towards high level choral singing. It provides training in key areas such as sight singing, vocal range extension and general ensemble musicianship. VBCTC serves as a bridge ensemble to the full VBCYC with the two groups often performing joint repertoire.

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 the coming year will include a tour to Jersey in July 2021 with several fantastic concerts in great venues with large audiences.

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.

BCYO BYWE VBCYC VBCTC
Saturday 24th October

Sunday 25th October

Sunday 1st November Sunday 11th October Sunday 11th October
Saturday 2nd January

Sunday 3rd January

Sunday 15th November Sunday 15th November
Saturday 19th December

Sunday 20th December

Sunday 13th December Sunday 13th December
Saturday 13th February Sunday 28th February Sunday 17th January
Saturday 20th February

Sunday 21st February

Wednesday 14th April

Thursday 15th April

Saturday 17th April

Sunday 18th April

Sunday 28th February
Sunday 28th March
Friday 16th April * Friday 16th April * Sunday 27th June ** Sunday 23rd May
Tour rehearsal day for all senior groups: Sunday 18th July Sunday 27th June **
Concert Tour to Jersey: Monday 19th – Friday 23rd July

* BCYO & BYWE            JOINT CONCERT ON FRIDAY 16TH APRIL

** VBCYC & VBCTC       JOINT CONCERT ON SUNDAY 27TH JUNE

*** 5-day tour to Jersey will include 4 concerts for each group

 

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

 

Please note that whilst this is our desired programme, if we are further affected by Covid-19 then we will re-schedule if necessary

Applications:

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. It is not essential to be having singing lessons, but some singing experience and an appropriate level of reading and musicianship skills are necessary.

VBCTC is for ages 10 – 16 and applicants should have some music experience (approximately Grade 3 equivalent) and be comfortable with basic notation, although enthusiasm and a love of singing are far more important. There will be an informal audition at the first session, after which membership will be confirmed. If the group is not the correct fit for a singer, then advice will be offered regarding which of the other BMT choirs will help students build their all-round musical skills.

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

Auditions:

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 2020/21 season are as follows:
BCYO / BYWE / VBCYC 1 group £800
2 groups £850
3 groups £900
VBCTC Only for this group £200

Fees include all elements of the programme, including the full cost of the tour

  • All 2019/20 members will be eligible for a discount of £200 on these 2020/21 fees to reflect the disruption to the 19/20 season’s programme due to Covid-19
  • Due to the ongoing uncertainties of Covid-19, you will be asked for an initial payment of £100 with the balance due from February 2021 as one or three payments, ensuring that we will by then be much more certain that the tour will go ahead
  • 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 cost presents a challenge, particularly in the current situation, then please contact the Director of Music at BMT for a confidential discussion via director@bucksmusic.org

County Groups Application Form 2020/21

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 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. 

    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.