Mission Impossible? ...


... Absolutely not. Saturday's concert at QES was a success by any standards and the theme of film music was fun, evocative and well played. From Harry Potter to Star trek it was all wonderful, but the Thunderbirds Theme had oldies like me drifting back to our childhood and grinning all over our faces. The percussion section especially did themselves proud - ooh those kettle drums and that faultless snare, keeping beat. Wonderful!

But is was all good and these words of praise wouldn't be complete without a special mention for our very own cellist, Matthew Bell. It's not very often that an orchestra gets to World Premiere a piece of music, but this year WYO has has managed it twice. The 60th Anniversary gave us Musik's Empire by Anthony Milledge, but the QES concert gave us Firestorm and the Phoenix, by Matthew Bell. Matthew wrote the piece especially for WYO, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the orchestra which he has been a member of for some years. I think it is a tribute to both him and Noel that the orchestra took this piece on board and performed it at a public concert. It had depth and passion and gave me goosebumps! A really marvellous achievement for Matthew and WYO.


Thanks to all who gave us a wonderful night.


WS Kendal   


WYO’s 60th Anniversary Concert June 2008


Thank you to everyone involved in the staging of such an adventurous event. I felt that it demonstrated a real commitment to music making from the engagement of the young people, the families, the WYO committee, staff and of course the musical leadership of the WYO. It was good to see a packed church. I don’t think I’ve been to, or participated in a concert that contained such a vast range of items, from an historical, diverse and unique instrument context. Undoubtedly there was something for everyone in the mix. Most importantly it has exposed young musicians from the WYO & Amabile Girls’  Choir to a level of music making and participation that all of you can be extremely proud of.

Simon Yeo, Traded Services Manager,

Learning Support Service, Children's Services, Workington. June 2008



The WYO 60th Anniversary concert was a truly wonderful event, not just because there was so much which was special and extraordinary going on, but because of the unique opportunity it has given to its young players. Not only do they get to perform a huge variety of music, play alongside world class singers, play with the unique and unexpected Carnyx and Didgeridoo and play with a choir of truly astonishing calibre, they also got to perform a world premiere of a piece of music composed especially for them. It just couldn’t get any better than that. If I had my time again, I would want to be part of WYO. What an exceptional organisation you are – well done to all concerned.

Comment from a spectator at 60th Anniversary Concert. June 2008



"Westmorland Youth Orchestra makes a huge difference to the life of our local communities. Young people from across the county gain confidence, make lasting friendships and develop impressive musical skills through their involvement with the Orchestra. Westmorland Youth Orchestra helps to motivate young people to take part in wonderfully constructive activities with the common focus of preparing for public concerts. I am really proud of Westmorland Youth Orchestra and they deserve strong support to continue in their outstanding work."

Tim Farron MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale. January 2008



“I am delighted to hear about this exciting event and anniversary”.

Howard Goodall, National Singing Ambassador and Composer, December 2007



“What a wonderful and heart warming organisation the Westmorland Youth Orchestra is.”

Lord Melvyn Bragg, Author, TV and Radio Presenter, December 2007





Review of concert at St Mary's Church Windermere, 14th March 2008


Conductor Noel Bertram inspired the talented musicians of the Westmorland Youth Orchestra to give a memorable performance at St Mary’s Church, Windermere for the start of their 60th Anniversary year. The evening was enhanced with welcome music by groups from primary schools in Hawkshead and Ambleside, and promotion by the Windermere Rotary club. Borodin’s colourful piece “on the Steppes of Central Asia” was followed by a committed performance of Goldschmidt’s challenging Passacaglia. A double bass quartet played a quirky arrangement of a Handel Sonata, and there were splendid solos by Heppy Deane (flute) and Dan Crompton (cello).


Violinist, and orchestra leader, Gareth Brookfield, gave an exquisite and mature performance of Massenet’s Meditation from “Thais”. Gareth remembers becoming interested in the violin at primary school when he was given the chance to experiment with the instrument, and more youngsters need to follow his example because balanced orchestras need strength in depth within the string section.


The orchestra worked hard to achieve the precision required in the Prelude from Charpentier’s Te Deum.  The Vaughan-Williams Fantasia on “Greensleeves” gave the woodwind opportunities for expressive playing. The Ashokan Farewell by Ungar was beautifully performed. Bernstein’s showpiece, the “Candide” overture, brought the concert to a rousing conclusion.


David Coker