Jo Ashcroft



I joined WYO in 1997 (i think) as a percussionist, believe it or not!! Noel can remember me looking like Animal from the Muppet Show, behind the massive timps when I was still quite little, probably pulling a crazy, quite scary face cause he asked me to bang the drums as loudly as I could...and he got what he asked for!!


I started playing the flute in the orchestra about a year later (cant remember when exactly) and worked my way up through the section. My main aim was to play the solos in the Dances with Wolves Suite we played! I played the Chaminade Flute Concertino with the orchestra in 2004, my last year with WYO, taking it to the Royal Northern College in Manchester as well as the Lakes School in Windermere.


At the moment Iím at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama in Glasgow, studying the flute in my third of four years. Its going well. I play in the Academy Wind Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra; have been involved in a side-by-side scheme with a professional group called the Hebrides Ensemble where a few of us students worked alongside the masters (!!); am playing in a Britten opera in May this year; have played in master classes with amazing flautists; was a finalist in college's 'Governors Woodwind Solo Recital Competition'; and Iím filling in any gaps in my timetable with chamber music - I play in a woodwind quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and French horn) and we also made it through to the final of the 'Governors Chamber Music Competition', a flute 'cello and piano trio, a flute and harp duo (with harpist Annakate Pierson from Windermere - its such a small world!) Öand also a newly-formed Baroque group with a violinist, cellist and harpsichord player. Phew!


"Itís very hectic trying to fit everything in and practice as well, but itís better to be busy than not in the world of the Arts!!"


What did WYO do for me?! Where do I start?! It was my first taste of orchestral playing, and long may that continue for young people in the area - that first time you play in an orchestra is one of the most amazing feelings and anyone in their right mind will remember it forever. I played my first concerto with WYO and it is such a brilliant feeling to play as a soloist with an orchestra supporting you, and not many musicians get to do that.


Apart from the musical things that WYO did for me, there are the many friends that I made throughout the years and will hopefully be in touch with for a long time and there are the happy memories too; like all the times Noel told the flutes off for chatting in rehearsals (itís always the flutes in any orchestra... oops not supposed to say that now - so unprofessional!) and the time when I was playing the timpani in Dances with Wolves and had forgotten to turn the second page of music out so had to make a bit up - right in the middle of the percussion climax with the gunshots and stuff - scary at the time but funny to look back on now!


I can also still sing and clap (at the same time) the Dave Brubeck tune 'Take Five' - something I perfected in WYO...sounds stupid but itís really hard...and a really cool tune! There are so many happy memories; I could go on forever Iím sure!


Plans for the future are to carry on studying. I hope to do a post-graduate course in London when I am finished here in Glasgow and then there is the possibility of studying abroad in France or Germany. The doors are beginning to open for me and hopefully they will continue to open so that I have as many options as possible! Eventually I hope to be a chamber musician working and touring with several groups so I never get bored...and do some teaching on the side to earn some bread money! Thatís the dream, but itís a tough world for musicians so we'll see. My email address is but please only send me nice emails.