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County Groups and Ensembles

County Groups and Ensembles

girl playing piccoloAfter gaining confidence and experience by playing in an Area Music Centre ensemble or orchestra, pupils are offered the opportunity to join one of our renowned County Ensembles.  All groups give regular termly performances and are involved in our annual Gala Concert. Membership is subject to success at audition in the summer term. To apply for audition please contact the Worcestershire Youth Music office or download and complete the Audition Form (PDF 62 KB).

County Ensembles provide further challenges beyond those found at school or Area Music Centres, and operate at two distinct levels:

Intermediate Level

Members are expected to be Grade 4 or above (or the equivalent standard, without having taken grade exams).  Intermediate level ensembles provide a useful step before moving on to the next level.

Youth Level

This is our highest level, and members are expected to be Grade 6 or above (or the equivalent standard). These groups represent Worcestershire nationally and internationally at competitions, festivals and tours. Recent tours include trips to Poland, Italy, Iceland, Australia and the USA.


Once you have secured your place in one of our ensembles please familiarise yourself with our Information for Members (PDF 61 KB) and our Rehearsal and Concert Dates for 2013/14 (PDF 57 KB)


In order to achieve stability in our Central and County ensembles, membership must be considered as annual, with subscriptions paid in three equal instalments.

Assistance is available for Area Music Centre and County ensembles where there is financial hardship and full remission of the subscription will be provided for pupils receiving free school meals.

For further information or any (confidential) enquiries with regard to fees please contact Deputy Head of WYM (Performance) at the Elgar Centre on 01905 425611.

Worcestershire Youth Orchestra (WYO)

WYO is Worcestershire Youth Music's largest and longest established Ensemble and includes musicians from all sections of the orchestra. In recent years WYO has toured in Ireland, Austria, Holland, Denmark, Italy and China and recently took part in the National Event of the Music for Youth Festival where they had the opportunity to perform at Birmingham Symphony Hall alongside orchestras from all over the country.

WYO rehearsals take place each Friday from 6.30pm - 9.00pm at Christopher Whitehead Language College. The orchestra is led and conducted by Rob Marshall.

Worcestershire Youth Wind Orchestra (WYWO)

WYWO is a successful wind band performing music to an extremely high standard. Since 1995 the band have won a total of 17 gold awards and 9 silver awards at regional and national concert band festivals and took part in both the regional and national events of the Music for Youth Festival in March 2010. Previous tours have included Canada, Poland, Paris and South Africa.

WYWO rehearses every Saturday from 10.00am - 12.30pm at Christopher Whitehead Language College. The Orchestra is conducted and led by Colin Farlow.

Worcestershire Youth Brass Band (WYBB)

WYBB has travelled far and wide, completing tours to Switzerland, Chicago, Sydney and Perth and, most recently, to Hawaii. To support such tours members take part in a wide variety of fundraising activities and events from bag packing at local supermarkets and caroling, to parachuting!

WYBB is also very involved with the annual Wychavon Festival of Brass, and maintains a busy performance schedule. Recent concerts include performing in Worcester Cathedral as part of the annual MENCAP carol service.

WYBB rehearsals take place each Wednesday from 7.00pm - 9.00pm at Christopher Whitehead Language College. The group is led and conducted by Nicky Daw.

Worcestershire Youth String Orchestra (WYSO)

WYSO began as the Worcester Area Music Centre Chamber Orchestra in 2005 to give advanced string players the opportunity to experience the excellent and varied repertoire written for string orchestras. In 2006 the group became a County Ensemble.

Over the years WYSO has performed at the Worcester and Cheltenham Festivals and recently took part in the Nationwide Music for Youth Festival. After success at the regional events, they were invited to perform at the national event at Birmingham Symphony Hall.

WYSO rehearsals take place each Tuesday from 6.00pm - 7.30pm at Christopher Whitehead Language College. The orchestra is led and conducted by Debbie Fawcett.

Worcestershire Intermediate Orchestra (WIO)

WIO gives young musicians from grades 4 to 6 the opportunity to experience performing as part of a full orchestra, culminating with a performance at Worcestershire Youth Music's annual Gala Concert.

WIO rehearsals take place every Saturday from 10.00am - 12.30pm at Christopher Whitehead Language College. The orchestra is led and conducted by Chris Eldridge.

Worcestershire Intermediate Wind Orchestra (WIWO)

WIWO draws together young musicians from across the county who have reached between grades 4 and 6 on woodwind, brass and percussion. Its aim is to give the experience of playing in a balanced wind orchestra where pupils can hone their instrumental and ensemble skills in a friendly environment.

WIWO rehearses every Saturday from 10.00am - 12.30am at Christopher Whitehead Language College. The orchestra is led and conducted by Sarah Ellis.

Youth Jazz Orchestras (WYJO and WYJO2)

Worcestershire Youth Jazz Orchestra (WYJO) have performed at an impressive number of events and venues around the region including the Pershore and Upton Jazz Festivals, Huntingdon Hall, The Swan, No.8 and Artrix Theatres, Caldwell Castle ,Himley Hall and big band weekends in Hayling Island and Weston-super-Mare. Averaging 10 public performances a year throughout the County and further a field, WYJO is certainly kept busy flying the Worcestershire Youth Music flag. WYJO have performed with Bruce Adams, Trevor Emney, Pete Long, Mark Nightingale and Julian Siegel. 2009 brought the first tour abroad, with WYJO performing 5 gigs in 4 days in Holland, Germany and Belgium, and connections made there led to WYJO recording the music for an episode of the Dutch children’s show “Dip and Dap”. “The Horn Ultimatum”, WYJO’s first CD was recorded towards the end of last year and is now on sale!

WYJO2 was started in 2008 to provide an intermediate step for those young musicians looking to experience jazz ensemble music and improvisation. 2009 saw WYJO2 perform at the Upton Jazz Festival and also perform with alto saxophone superstar Pete Long. WYJO2 has now developed into a performing ensemble in its own right undertaking more gigs year by year.

Rehearsals for both groups take place every Tuesday at the Royal British Legion Club, Salwarpe Road, Droitwich.

WYJO2 rehearses from 6.00pm - 7.20pm and WYJO rehearses from 7.30pm - 9.30pm. Both groups are led and conducted by Ian Hattersley.

Further Information

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More Information

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External websites

  • ESO
    The idea of ESO is to share the joys of live music with as wide a population as possible.
  • The Redditch Orchestra
    The Orchestra repertoire is varied, but mainly comes from the classical, romantic and early twentieth century. The programmes are designed to be interesting and a challenge for players to rehearse, to attract an audience
  • Worcestershire Philharmonic Orchestra (WPO)
    WPO's aim is to promote the enjoyment of orchestral playing by rehearsing music and giving regular public concerts of a high standard.
  • Worcestershire Symphony Orchestra (WSO)
    Founded over 100 years ago with the help of Edward Elgar WSO brings pleasure to a range of audiences throughout Worcestershire. 
  • Wyre Forest Symphony Orchestra (WFSO)
    WFSO is a local non-professional orchestra serving the towns of Kidderminster, Bewdley and Stourport-on-Severn and the wider community of the Wyre Forest area of the West Midlands.

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This page was last reviewed 3 September 2013 at 11:54.
The page is next due for review 2 March 2015.