Young musicians from across Mid Sussex join forces for a memorable performance

More than 100 pupils from five secondary schools came together for the inaugural Mid Sussex Schools’ Orchestra Day.

Thursday, 24th January 2019, 4:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:56 pm
Mid Sussex pupils enjoying the Orchestra Day. Photos contributed

The event, facilitated by local charity West Sussex Music, was held at Oathall Community College and provided an opportunity for young musicians of all abilities to experience the thrill of playing alongside peers, as part of a large ensemble.

Lizzie Holmes from the charity worked with the schools’ heads of music to coordinate the event which saw pupils from Downlands Community School, Oathall Community College, St Paul’s Catholic College, The Burgess Hill Academy and Warden Park Secondary Academy, enjoy a full day of music-making.

They were joined by instrumental teachers from West Sussex Music, professional musicians from Ensemble Reza, as well as their own school music leaders.

“The Orchestra Day was a real success, the pupils involved were a credit to their instrumental teachers, and school music departments. It was a pleasure to work together with music teachers across the locality to bring this event together,” said Lizzie.

West Sussex Music works to provide enriching, high quality musical experiences for young people across the county.

Chief executive James Underwood said: “Through our curriculum support, professional development opportunities and facilitating role, we work hard to keep music within the very fabric of secondary school life.

“It’s wonderful to see our collective efforts coming together, as they did at Oathall. Seeing over 100 young musicians perform as an ensemble was incredibly powerful and I’m sure it’s an experience that none of the pupils will forget.”

The Secondary Schools’ Orchestra day is just one of the large-scale musical experiences that West Sussex Music offers children locally.

The charity also provides a broad range of progressive ensemble opportunities at its Haywards Heath Music Centre, also based at Oathall Community College on a Saturday mornings.

Every week during term time, children can enjoy a range of musical activities including bands, choirs, orchestras as well as lessons and aural and theory classes.

The West Sussex Music Centres not only bring children together through a shared love of music but also offer a clear progression route on to the county level West Sussex Youth Orchestras and Choirs and beyond that to Junior Conservatoires and national ensembles.

For more than 50 years, West Sussex Music has also supported projects that enable access to cultural opportunities for disadvantaged and disaffected young people through its partnerships with other organisations and it plays a valued role as the Music Education Hub for West Sussex.

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