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Tours and events


After the excitement of our musicians performing in the Massed Ensemble at the 2016 Music for Youth Prom at the Royal Albert Hall, GYJO were invited to perform in the final platform on 15th November.  Read more in our blog


At 9:00 on Monday 14th November 2016 over 200 young singers and instrumentalists from around Gloucestershire were eagerly boarding their coaches to take them to the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London for their performance at the Music For Youth Proms 2016.  

Read more in our blog


In July 2015 over 60 members of two of our county music groups - Gloucestershire Youth Wind Orchestra and Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra - travelled to Germany for a tour of The Black Forest.

On their return home some of the members shared their memories with us:

Emily's story:

After arriving to hear the strings in rehearsal (at midnight!) we headed off for the journey down to Triberg in Germany for the Gloucestershire Music 2015 tour! After many hours of travelling, we finally arrived tired but excited. The strings headed outside for another rehearsal in the glorious sunshine, whilst the rest of us unpacked and sorted everything out for the following day
Day 1 took us to Lake Titisee for a bandstand concert. What a gorgeous place! The bandstand overlooked the Lake, and we played a variety of music to an appreciative audience. After this we were able to have some free time exploring the town, which included people having some yummy Black Forest Gateau, and myself, Osh and Tom (the other 2 student helpers) persuading Steve Legge to invest in a pair of some quality Lederhosen shorts. They are fabulous!

We then headed to Strasbourg for our evening concert in the church. We had a 3 course meal in a rather splendid youth hostel in the centre of the city, which was excellent. It was still very very warm and I don't think we had ever been as grateful for a church being cold as we were then. The strings played 'Summer' from Vivaldi's Four Seasons as part of their programme, which featured Jen Statham on violin - absolutely fantastic playing!
One of the highlights of the tour was the concert in Baden-Baden (Germany's answer to Cheltenham, Beaumont-sur-Mer and Monte Carlo we decided). After some rain in the morning, it got really sunny in the afternoon and by the time we played it was very warm and sunny! The concert was on a bandstand and a very impressive one at that...the way that it was designed made the acoustics very good and it sounded fantastic. We had another good audience who were also very enthusiastic.  Lauren Thornell (percussion) also had a fab time during one of the pieces when the triangle fell out of her hand! Luckily this hilarious moment was captured on video so it will now never be forgotten!
Our final concert was in Bad Griesbach. It was a beautiful journey there, however with beautiful scenery comes hairpin bends and massive drops! Definitely an interesting journey! The concert went well (apart from the fabulous downpour of rain half way through), and we also got another guest conductor to conduct GYWO.  Definitely another one to watch out for in the future!

The afternoon took us to Triberg for some gift shopping, and then onto Gutach for tobogganing. This involved one or two people on each toboggan going up an enormous hill, and then letting yourself go down at whatever speed you dared to! Think of a roller coaster, where you're closer to the ground and where you're in control of the brake!
After returning from tobogganing, it was quiz time.  Phil Storer had prepared 2 music rounds for said quiz, 'classical' and TV tunes. The'Classical' round included music from several films, music by Karl Jenkins and a version of the theme from 'Gabriel's Oboe', that was played on classical guitar?!  After a few rounds of the quiz, we handed out the tour awards...these included 'Best Domino' - Lauren Thornell for her triangle-dropping performance in Baden-Baden, 'Outstanding section' - trumpets, most 'likes' in a sentence - Jacob, the award for perpetual 'what,where & when questions went to Jen Statham...and many others.
After a very early start on Monday morning, we journeyed back to the UK arriving back in Colwell at midnight.  Many memories made and good times were had in the Black Forest!
Happy days for 60 students, 3 student helpers, 1 tour manager, 2 drivers and 7 members of staff

Emily Jenner

Hannah's story

After going on tour to Belgium in 2013, I didn’t think a tour could have been better than that, but this tour to Germany has topped it!
When I look at the itinerary, it looked like we had a lot of concerts in a short space of time, with a lot of travelling here there and everywhere however, it was a lot of travelling here there and everywhere but where ever we went, the concert venue was great, the views on the coach were amazing and the places we visited were lovely.

Not one of the concerts we did were the same, which I loved the most as you never know what’s going to happen. When Steve brought up a ‘guest’ conductor to conduct a piece for GYWO, the amount of smiles that appeared on people’s faces was priceless (even though the two little boys might now be scared for life!!)

When we were originally told that our rooms were going to be chosen for us, no one was very keen on this idea as you always want to be with your friends only, however getting put in a room with other people that I didn’t know too well meant I now have new friends which I wouldn’t have had if we had chosen our rooms ourselves!
My favourite part was the closeness of each person on the tour, sharing their laughter with one another and not having one moment where there wasn’t one person smiling (even though we had little or no sleep!)

This tour could be my last music tour with Gloucestershire music and I defiantly won’t forget it.

Hannah Green

George's story

This years music tour to the Black Forest in Germany was splendid. It began and finished with a 17 hour coach journey but we filled the time with Mexican waves, watching films, and sleeping. Also, the coach offered a banquet of views such as the White Cliffs of Dover, the golden corn fields of northern France, and the mystical valleys of the Black Forest. We were based in a hostel in one such valley near some beautiful waterfalls. The hostel staff were very friendly, helpful and didn’t at all mind our (or certainly my) poor grasp of the German language.
There were a few of us who were linguists and in concert would introduce our pieces to the audience in flawless German. The concerts went very well and we all performed with gusto. Stretching from Handel to Pharrell Williams, our repertoire was extremely varied which meant that we could offer lively music at bandstands whilst having plenty of sombre pieces to perform in St Thomas’ Church in Strasbourg. Our fantastic conductors (Steve Legge and Glyn Oxley) would sometimes demonstrate the capabilities of the different groups by getting them to perform with no conductor or even with a young child from the audience conducting. Our first concert was in Titisee next to a beautiful lake surrounded by scenery that could have been mistaken for the setting of Lord of the Rings. The next performance was in a peaceful church in Strasbourg where the reflective acoustics meant that it was often impossible to tell the end of the note from its ghostly echo. We played next in Baden-Baden in a bandstand masquerading as a giant ice-cream scoop. This peculiar shape, however, had wonderful acoustics that are extremely difficult to find in outside venues. Our final concert was in Bad Griesbach where, in true English fashion, we ignored the rain and performed outside on a patio.
That is not to say that we spent the whole time playing music. There was also spare time were we explored the local towns, buying souvenirs and experimenting with the native cuisine. One very peculiar dish that some of us came across was spaghetti-ice which was ice-cream and strawberry source made to look like a plate of spaghetti with bolognaise; it was strangely delicious. We also enjoyed a session of tobogganing which was very similar to being in a roller-coaster but with only one or two people per cart and with these people controlling the breaks. Each cart was pulled up a large hill then released to career down the steep slope with the riders screaming their heads off all the way to the bottom.
The trip was organised by a small group of terrific staff including conductors, student helpers and even a tour-guide. They all pulled together to make the tour enjoyable and safe for everyone involved
I thoroughly enjoyed the 2015 Gloucestershire Music trip to the Black Forest and would encourage anyone with the opportunity to go on a tour with Gloucestershire Music to take it.

George Dickinson

 Photos from the tour...






"On the 11th July 2014 Gloucestershire Youth Wind Orchestra set off to the Colwell Arts Centre where we had one final rehearsal before travelling to Birmingham Symphony Hall to play at the Music for Youth festival. The rehearsal went very well as all our hard work from the previous weeks fell into place.

The atmosphere on the bus was one of optimism as we all looked forward to playing at this wonderful venue, following in the footsteps of many illustrious musicians. There was also a smattering of enthusiastic support on the coach, made up of very proud family and friends of the young musicians.

We arrived in Birmingham at around 12:30 in the afternoon and took our instruments to a holding area within the Symphony Hall. Excitement was now mounting; we had a couple of hours to wait so some went to listen to the competitors who were performing before us. Then it was time to make our way backstage, ready to go on.

Before we knew it the compere announced: “Please welcome the Gloucestershire Youth Wind Orchestra”. A quick look of reassurance from Steve Legge, our conductor, and we walked onto the stage. The sheer size of the hall took your breath away. Taking our seats, we waited expectantly for the cue from Mr Legge to raise our instruments, take a deep breath and launch into our first piece.

The performance was over in a flash - the general consensus from the audience and supporters seemed to be that the band produced a very impressive sound, and Mr Legge said he was very pleased. The adjudication was extremely positive, as they singled out for praise the Tenor Horns, Clarinets and Brass, in particular,

We now await the final verdict, which will inform us whether we’ve been invited to play at the Royal Albert Hall in November this year. If we are, this will be an added bonus to what was already a very enjoyable and memorable day of music making."

David Crowe, GYWO member

"What a finish to the 2013/14 year for the Gloucestershire Youth Wind Orchestra. On Friday 11th July the band travelled to the magnificent Birmingham Symphony Hall where so many of the world’s greatest Orchestras have performed over the years.

The Music for Youth staff welcomed us with their usual efficiency.  We then stored our instruments and looked for the nearest coffee shop.  The band took to the stage at 15:00 and I must say that the Orchestra’s appearance on stage was very polished.  The band performed On Cloud Nine by Richard Saucedo, At Dawn they Slept by Joy Bocook & I want you back by Freddie Perrins arr M Sweeney ( the signature tune of GYWO).

This has been a very exciting year for GYWO with a visit to the HQ of the Central band of the Royal Air Force and a joint concert with them in Cheltenham Town Hall. We also took part in the National Concert Band Festival being awarded a Platinum in the area Festival and Gold in the National Festival.

The Group now looks forward to a new intake in September 2014 and after saying goodbye to those off to Further Education or Work other events which our Director Steve Legge has in store for the ensuing year. This will include a Concert Tour of the Black Forest in Germany with Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra and guests in July 2015."

David Mills, GYWO Administrator

Photos - Steve Green


VIDEO: I vow to thee my country, Menin Gate        VIDEO: Hall of memory, commissioned piece

Sixty members of two of our county youth groups - Gloucestershire Youth Wind Orchestra (GYWO) and Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra (GYO) - performed at Brussels Cathedral and as part of the world famous Menin Gate evening service, as part of a summer tour to Belgium. Here, Ryan Morgan, one of the young musicians, and David Mills, tour administrator share their experiences.

Ryan's story:

For me the highlight of the tour was being able to play at the Menin Gate Ceremony.  Every night at 8pm buglers play the Last Post to remember the fallen soldiers of Britain and the Commonwealth who lost their lives in World War 1 at the battle of Flanders.  These soldiers have no graves and their names are carved into the walls.

As a member of Wycliffe Combined Cadet Force (CCF) and I am in process of applying to be a musician in the Armed Forces.  This was a huge honour and an experience I will never forget. Emotions ran high within me as the buglers played and the 2 minutes silence followed by the laying of the wreaths.  

Whilst playing was something else, I felt so proud and this feeling was immense and I felt humble to take part, the acoustics inside the Menin Gate are fantastic and sent shivers down my spine as I remembered the fallen, thinking about their families who had no bodies or graves.  This gave me more determination and pride to play well, follow my dream and wear my uniform with pride.

David's story:

After 12 months of planning, members of Gloucestershire Youth Wind Orchestra (GYWO) and Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra (GYO) set out on the 15th July for a concert Tour to Belgium. There were 61 students from the top county Music Service Groups whose ages ranged from 11½ to 19 years, led by Steve Legge, Director of GYWO and Glyn Oxley, Director of GYO together with 6 other staff.

On the Tuesday morning the first stop was the Oostende Bandstand, in the middle of a square surrounded by Cafe’s. They were received very well and the coach then took them to St. Bravo Cathedrale in Ghent where an afternoon recital in the magnificent church was given a warm reception.

It was then on to the Green Room Theatre which is part of a school attached to the Cathedrale where they were fed prior to the last concert of the day. A good audience attended and after a rather long walk to find the local coaches who were to take them back to Ypres, a tired Group went straight to bed.

Wednesday again started early with a journey to Brussels to visit the fascinating Historical Musical Instrument Museum and on to the Cathedrale des Saints Michel et Gedule to perform an afternoon concert. Again a beautiful building a rather fluid audience but well received.

Thursday was a highlight of the Tour with morning visits to the Tyne Cot War Cemetery and the In Flanders Fields’ Exhibition which takes one through all the horror and suffering which took place in the Ypres area during the First Great War, before another concert was given.

The Menin Gate - and a specially commissioned piece

The culmination of the Tour came on the Thursday evening when we had been invited to take part in the Menin Gate Ceremony, Ypres. This magnificent Gate/Monument commemorates the names of all those lost during the First Great War but have no known resting place. Each night since the Monument was built the road has been closed at 8pm and the Last Post sounded by the Ypres Fire brigade Buglers.

Gloucestershire Music had commissioned a special piece of music called “Hall of Memory” composed by Liz Lane, who also attended the Ceremony. Beside this piece the Group also played two Hymns and the National Anthems of Belgium and the UK, two of the students laid a wreath in memory of those from Gloucestershire who were commemorated there. The Ceremony was very moving and attended by hundreds of people. 

Everyone felt that the Tour had been interesting, enjoyable and worthwhile.

David Mills, Tour Administrator

Photographs: GM


It all started in November 2013 with a visit by students of GYWO to the Central Bands HQ in London where they were invited to join its rehearsals.

From that visit GYWO were invited to take part in a joint Charity concert with the World renowned Central Band of the Royal Air Force at Cheltenham Town Hall on the 22nd May 2014.

The Concert started with GYWO, conducted by Steve Legge playing a selection of pieces which they had previously played at the National Concert Band Festival in the Birmingham Conservatoire National Festival and the Area Music for Youth Festival in Cheltenham (GYWO has been invited, on this performance to take part in the National Music for Youth Festival at the Birmingham Symphony Hall in July 2014). This was received very well by a very appreciative audience.

After the interval the Central Band took the stage and played a wonderful selection of music, again very much appreciated by the audience.

GYWO then joined the Central Band and Steve Legge was invited by the Band’s Director of Music to conduct the joint piece. This was a wonderful finale to an evening which will be remembered by many and showed off the talents of the GYWO Students and the Central Band. The students were buzzing.

The Central Band closed the evening with the Royal Air Force March Past.

David Mills, GYWO Administrator.

"It was a brilliant evening, and two totally different bands.  The RAF band with their experience, professionalism and range.   The Glos Youth band with their energy, ability and enthusiasm.   Thank you – a wonderful evening, and have been happy to share my experience with other councillors"  Cllr Paul McMahon, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People

"The Central Band of the RAF had a great time performing with at Cheltenham Town Hall with the talented musicians of the GYWO – they have worked tirelessly to achieve a standard of musicianship that was far beyond our expectations – a great performance and most importantly you were all enjoying yourselves! Congratulations to all!"  Flight Lieutenant Richard A Murray, Central Band of the RAF.

To see some of the photos from the evening go to https://flic.kr/s/aHsjYkjvbE

And check out video on YouTube


On Tuesday 29th October 2013, thirty four members of the Gloucestershire Youth Wind Orchestra and six from the Swindon Youth Senior Concert Band were fortunate enough to spend a day in the company of the world renowned Central Band of the Royal Air Force. The young musicians arrived at the bands new premises in Northolt (North London) and were invited to sit alongside the band making an impressive wind band of 70 players. Under the direction of the Central Bands chief musical director, Duncan Stubbs, the players worked intensively through Jay Bocooks's 'At Dawn They Slept' and Ron Goodwin's 'Where Eagles Dare'.

A brief lunch at the mess was followed by brass, woodwind and percussion sectionals before the band reformed to record the pieces for posterity.

Steve Legge (MD of the Gloucestershire Youth Wind Orchestra) said: "We are fortunate to be working alongside the Central Band of the Royal Air Force on no less than four occasions this academic year culminating in a joint concert at the Cheltenham Town Hall on May 22nd 2014. This was a truly inspirational day and the students rose to the challenge of the discipline and high standard that the musicians of the RAF band expects."

Daisy Faulkner (flautist with the Swindon Youth Senior Concert Band) commented: "I had such a good day, it was lovely meeting the professional musicians and having a chance to play with them. It really inspired me."

Tom Keene (trombonist with GYWO) said: "I learnt new techniques and skills from the central bands professional players. This will help me as a trombonist. It was a great day."


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