Ealing Youth Orchestra Reaches 50

Major programme of events planned for Golden Jubilee year

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Ealing Youth Orchestra

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The Ealing Youth Orchestra (EYO) celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2009 and is marking the occasion with a range of special concerts throughout the year.

Recently it opened the Rotary Youth Makes Music concert in the Royal Festival Hall. The orchestra is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Greenford and the Rotary Club of Hanwell and Northfields to take part and performed Shostakovich’s Festive Overture. EYO last played in a Rotary Youth Makes Music concert in 1983, just before its 25th anniversary celebrations, so is particularly delighted the Greenford and Hanwell and Northfields Rotary Clubs invited it to take part in this prestigious event during its 50th anniversary year.

The group was founded in 1959 by John Railton, then music master at Ealing Grammar School for Boys. Most of the members of the original 30-strong orchestra came from his own Ealing Grammar School and from Notting Hill and Ealing High School.

Fifty years on, Ealing Youth Orchestra numbers over 80 players aged 13-19 from 28 schools across west London. It remains true to its founding vision to serve the interests of the young musicians of the borough of Ealing, giving young players the experience of rehearsing and performing music to a high standard. The orchestra’s music director since September 2006 is Leon Gee, who trained as a violinist and studied conducting at the Birmingham Conservatoire under Jonathan del Mar , and its patron is renowned composer Mark-Anthony Turnage.

Other highlights of this year’s 50th anniversary concert series include two performances of Verdi’s Requiem, in St Barnabas Church, Ealing (25 April) and in University Hall, Exeter (3 May), both conducted by founder John Railton, a special 4th July concert at St Barnabas in which past members will be invited to play, and a performance of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Momentum on Saturday 7 th November 2009. The orchestra will also give four concerts during a week-long tour of Normandy, France in August.

The orchestra would like to hear from as many of its past members as possible. Past members of EYO can get in touch via the orchestra’s website, www.eyo.org.uk, where they can register on the alumni database and find out about 50 th anniversary events in which they can take part.

EYO is an independent youth orchestra, self-financed and run by volunteers. The orchestra is fundraising during its anniversary season to cover its performing costs, to replace its worn-out timpani and purchase other percussion instruments, and to establish a bursary fund to cover subscription and tour costs for members in financial need. It would welcome contact from any local individual, group or business that would like to offer it sponsorship or other support during its 50 th anniversary year.

The orchestra rehearses weekly on Friday evenings in term-time, currently at St Martin’s Church, West Acton. It gives a minimum of four concerts a year in the west London area, with regular performances in Ealing, Chiswick and Barnes.

March 31, 2009