Over 900 young people are members of the 20 county ensembles:- 4 orchestras, 2 Wind Bands, 2 Choirs, 4 Brass Bands, 3 Percussion groups, 2 Jazz Ensembles, 2 Guitar Groups and Symphonic Brass.
The county ensembles exist to give as many pupils as possible the opportunity to play and sing music in a wide variety of styles and in much larger groups than would be viable in schools. Members also have the opportunity to develop the skills required in ensemble playing and are able to take part in concerts at prestigious venues such as St David’s Hall and City Hall, Cardiff, often to audiences in excess of 1,000.
Many of these ensembles have been very successful in international and national competitions and have undertaken concert tours throughout Western Europe. They have been actively involved in fundraising – the Brass Bands alone have raised in excess of £100,000 to help those in the community who are disabled and disadvantaged.
Here is some information on a few of our ensembles
Choir rehearses from 5.15- 7 every Tuesday evening.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on an audition.
FOUNDATION BRASS BAND (Pictured above at the Xmas showcase 2015)
The Cardiff County and Vale of Glamorgan Foundation Brass Band is one of four brass bands in the County Music Service that serves the capital city and the Vale. The Music Service has four great brass bands, from the Beginners Brass (Saturday mornings) to the Youth Brass Band, an award-winning band of high school students. The Foundation Band is an ensemble of 50-60 children from 8 to 13, all having lessons in school. They perform throughout the year in venues across the City, including the major concert halls in St David’s Hall and the Wales Millennium Centre, and in places as varied as bandstands and community venues. Ably led by Mr Griffin and his team, this band comes together to enjoy performing brass at its best.
Foundation band twitter account
Cardiff County & Vale of Glamorgan Percussion Ensembles were formed many years ago by Adrian Evans. Celi Johnston has been directing the ensembles since 2003. There are three ensembles in total: a Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced group. The aim is to improve members’ technical ability as well as develop ensemble skills as they progress through the groups. In recent years the ensemble has begun participating in the Festival of Music for Youth. They have had three very complimentary critiques and been successful in gaining places in the National Festival held in Birmingham. In July 2014 they were invited to perform as part of the Royal Academy of Music’s Percussion Day. They also enjoy a close partnership with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama – our own National Conservatoire, and were recently took part in master classes there.
YOUTH BRASS BAND
The Youth Brass band was formed in 1974 since which time it has enjoyed a reputation for its high standards of performance. Each year the Band gives performances at some of the most prestigious venues including St. David’s Hall, WMC, Llandaff Cathedral and the City Hall, Cardiff. The Band has also toured extensively, in Europe, the USA and Canada with concerts in Quebec and Ontario, and has performed in various Disney theme parks. In 2015 the Band competed at the National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain in Manchester and was awarded a Silver medal.
The varied musical talents of Band members are demonstrated by the fact that they have gained places in the National Youth Brass Band of Wales, the National Youth Choir of Wales, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Wales, National Youth Wind Orchestra of Wales and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
The Youth Brass Band has a proud record of raising funds for charities, having raised over £100,000 over the past 35 years. In 2009 the nominated Charity was the LovElliot Trust; in 2010 the Band supported the Teenage Cancer Unit at UHW, in memory of band member Jonathan Gallimore.
SENIOR WIND BAND
For wind players who like to keep busy, Senior Wind Band is the place to go. CCVG Music Service has a long history of excellence in Wind Band playing, and this ensemble, led by Kyle Jones and Joe O’ Connell builds on this tradition, providing opportunities for players to enjoy a diverse repertoire and become highly accomplished musicians. They give regular performances at City Hall, St David’s Hall and other venues across the City. Monday night at the Friary is when the wind blows.
FITZALAN STEEL PANS
Fitzalan Steel Orchestra was formed in the early 90s when ‘Wahda’ started teaching at Fitzalan High School. The school’s best performance groups took the Urdd Eisteddfod scene by storm winning first or second place in the ensembles competitions throughout the decade. Since then Fitzalan has established a balanced provision of high performance and community interest. Within the school, the provision of lessons extends to over 130 pupils per year from a range of social, religious and ethnic backgrounds, but we also provide workshops and performances to primary and secondary schools within the area. Fitzalan has maintained its dedication to performing at Welsh medium events such as the opening ceremony of Gemau Cymru (three years running), various programmes on S4C, and the Tafwyl Menter Caerdydd (Castell Caerdydd). Other recent appearances include ‘Stella’, White Ribbon Day at The Pier Head Building and The Black History Festival at the Millennium Centre.
This group is for young players in years 7-9, who want to explore the world of Jazz, light popular music and the whole idea of improvisation. Coming together on a Thursday evening, this is a fun way to try something new, and develop playing skills on and off the printed page, with panache and style. It is also a stepping stone towards our popular Youth Band ‘Jazz News’ Led by Neil Morgan and supported by Will Rees, this band is one to watch.
YOUTH BIG BAND ʻJAZZ NEWSʼ
‘Jazz News’ caters for young people aged from 14-18 and plays a broad spectrum of music from the classic ‘big band’ repertoire to modern rock and funk. It has performed extensively throughout Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, mainly for charitable events such as the Noah’s Ark Appeal but also for more formal functions. The Band was very proud to take part in the 2006 BAFTA Cymru awards ceremony at the CIA where they were received with great enthusiasm. In July 2008 they were pleased to perform at the National Festival of Music for Youth, held in the Adrian Boult Hall Birmingham and were well received on a tour of the Rhineland, Germany in 2009.
The Band aims to make music fun, to entertain and to give band members the opportunity to perform music in as many different styles as possible.
Jazz news twitter account
This time last year marked a new beginning for our choirs, with the launch of our Training Choir, and what a year it has been. Pupils from years 4-9 meet with our conductors and accompanists for a thoroughly good sing every Tuesday night. The choir has packed a lot in to its first year, including performances at St David’s Hall and Hoddinott Hall, where they made a guest appearance with Catrin Finch and the Ardwyn Singers. This group is going from strength to strength and looks forward to another year of promoting singing across Cardiff and the Vale.
Training choir twitter account
HIGH SCHOOLS’ ORCHESTRA
The Orchestra, led by Mr Maynard and his team, aims to provide a range of exciting opportunities to support our young musicians. This is not just an Orchestra, but a real learning experience, where pupils are encouraged to play together, arrange and compose music, and explore repertoire that makes the most of their talents and abilities. In the Summer Term, they celebrated their 40th Anniversary with a passionate performance at Llandaff Cathedral, featuring Bruckner 4 and a new piece commissioned from the Welsh Composer Max Charles Davies.
The Orchestra has embarked on many tours abroad, including those to the USA, Holland, Malta, Paris, Austria and Bavaria, and keeps a busy schedule of performances here in Cardiff. This is an Orchestra with a lively calendar, who look forward to welcoming you to future events.
The Youth Orchestra consists of members between the ages of 13yrs – 22yrs who have achieved Grade 6+, and rehearse at the Friary Centre on a Friday evening from 7pm – 9pm. We do three concerts a year, one in December, one at Easter and one in July at the end of the Summer Term. Two out of the three concerts are held at the very prestigious BBC Hodinott Hall, Wales Millennium Centre.
The Cardiff County and Vale of Glamorgan Youth Orchestra was formed in 1975 and celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a highly acclaimed performance of Mahler’s 6th Symphony. The Orchestra has been on many highly successful tours including those to Stuttgart, Arhensburg, Vienna, Edinburgh, Italy and the Czech Republic.
In 1990, the Orchestra was fortunate to have Dr. Alun Francis (formerly Principal Conductor of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra) as a guest conductor. He has since maintained his connection with the Orchestra and, in 1993, was appointed the Orchestra’s Conductor Laureate. The Orchestra has also been fortunate to work with Mark Wigglesworth, the former Music Director of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
In July 1998, the Orchestra competed in the International Youth and Music Festival in Vienna and was placed joint second. In 1999, the Orchestra was invited to take part in the 20th Edinburgh Festival of British Youth Orchestras where it won the prestigious Boosey and Hawkes Youth Orchestra Award.
As the result of its success in Scotland, the Orchestra was invited to perform at an International Festival of Youth Orchestras in Florence and subsequently performed at this Festival in July 2002. Prior to this visit to Florence, the Orchestra was informed that it had won a major award in the Sainsbury’s Youth Orchestra Series.
The Orchestra returned to Italy in July 2004 where they took part in three music festivals. They performed at the prestigious Riva del Garda Festival, the first non-professional ensemble to be invited to appear there, as well as at festivals in Vipiteno and Salo. In 2008, the Orchestra toured the Czech Republic and Slovakia, visiting Prague. This was followed by a return to Italy in 2010 playing in many fine concert venues in and around the region of Verona. In July 2012, the Orchestra returned to Florence ten years after its first visit to Italy. In August 2014 we visited Rome and its environs. The Orchestra celebrated its 40th anniversary in the summer of 2015. We are very much looking forward to our next tour to Italy including Venice and Verona this summer.
Picture credit – Jeremy Howells, 2014 Summer concert at BBC Hoddinott Hall, Wales Millennium Centre.