Autumn Concert at The Lakes School, 29th November 2014

Jointly promoted with Windermere Rotary Club


It is always a delight to hear young musicians perform and the recent concert by the Westmorland Youth Orchestra was no exception. Clearly, there are some talented young people in this orchestra. The concert got off to a confident start with a performance of two movements from Vaughan Williams’ tuneful English Folk Song Suite, ably directed by student conductor, Josh Ayrton. Then came music by Maurice Ravel, the Forlane and Menuet from his suite Le Tombeau de Couperin. This is difficult music for inexperienced players to bring off and there were some rough edges; nevertheless it did give an opportunity for section leaders to exhibit their skills. One of the highlights of this concert was the performance of Weber’s Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra, with the demanding solo part expertly realised by Jack Horrocks, a member of the orchestra. His playing seemed effortless as he negotiated his way through the many rapid passages in this difficult work with the orchestra giving him firm support. In Holst’s well-known Mars the Bringer of War from his Planets Suite, players in the percussion section distinguished themselves by their tight control of the composer’s motor rhythms and the concert ended with a delightful performance of George Butterworth’s lovely Banks of Green Willow. Clive Walkley


Summer Concert at Kendal Parish Church, 18th June 2014

Orchestra displays Breadth of Talent


The Westmorland Youth Orchestra’s uplifting end-of-year concert showed an impressive range of talents in solos, conductors and composition. Holly Chalcraft and Freya Rock demonstrated virtuosity and the ability to lead in an exciting, rhythmic performance of Bach's Double Violin Concerto. Mary Ormerod left the audience at Kendal Parish Church wallowing in her Double Bass's velvety tones in Bryan Kelly’s Caliban and Ariel suite. Josh Ayrton demonstrated mature assertiveness when conducting the wind and percussion, bringing out a "softer... more lyrical side" to Scott Joplin. He was matched by David McGregor conducting his own composition Waltz, bringing the programme to a rousing end. More burgeoning talent was on display in the cheerful 'Welcome Music' from Stella Foxcroft's increasingly popular WYO Brass group. The concert began with three movements from Tchaikovsky's 'Pathétique' Symphony under the baton of Music Director Roland Fudge. The passionate final movement, enriched by powerful bass instruments, was played with assured control and expression. The WYO said goodbye to several loyal players, notably Leader Chalcraft, who was awarded the Probus Shield for outstanding contribution. Long-standing supporters Olive Clarke and Roger Bingham became the first recipients of the ‘Front Benchers’ cushions.


Lizzy Buckle


Spring Concert at QES, Kirkby Lonsdale, 29th March, 2014

Youth Orchestra looks North

Scandinavian music, tackled with the ensemble’s characteristic gusto, was the theme of the Westmorland Youth Orchestra’s Spring Concert on 29th March, with Swedish composer Fredrik Holm’s bassoon concerto a highlight.


Under the baton of Roland Fudge, the concert got off to a majestic start with Sibelius’s Finlandia, which offered the orchestra an opportunity to showcase its range and attack. The mellifluous lines of Grieg’s Two Elegiac Melodies, punctuated by a reading of Last Spring by Aasmund Olavsson Vinje, provided a tender and moving contrast. This was followed by a lively and gutsy solo by principal flautist Ellen Gibson, The Comet by Mark Brewer, on piccolo, an instrument rarely seen in a solo capacity. After the interval the Lancaster-based Holm performed his own bassoon concerto, Foot-Paths. His resonant tone was complemented by the constantly attentive orchestra, who at times resorted to the innovative accompaniment of clapping and banging drum sticks. The orchestra finally navigated the beautiful but fiendish Karelia Suite skilfully, bringing the concert to a rousing conclusion. The evening, at Queen Elizabeth School, Kirkby Lonsdale, opened with jazzy and relaxed Welcome Music from JFS All Stars, led by WYO resident double-bassist Stuart Lewthwaite.


Libby Gibson