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Wells musicians take to the national ensemble stage WCS Cathedral School Somerset England

Wells musicians take to the national ensemble stage

Nine Wells Cathedral School musicians took part in the National Youth Orchestra (NYO) ‘Ascent’ Project in the early days of 2024.

NYO is the country’s foremost youth orchestra and pulls together the best musicians from all over the nation. The orchestra took on an exciting programme including a world premiere of Ascent by Dani Howard, Smetana’s Vltava and the Strauss’s monumental Alpine Symphony. The concert was performed at the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, Warwick Arts Centre and Barbican Centre, London. Our musicians enjoyed working with conductor Sir Mark Elder and assistant conductor Natalia Luis Bassa, who worked with our orchestra in Wells last summer.

We are so proud of Wells musicians in national ensembles, so huge congratulations to Defne Anar (Principal Harp, Upper Sixth), Teagan Craggs (Violin, Lower Sixth), Kit Cookson (Cello, Upper Sixth), Lily Owens (Principal Flute, Lower Sixth), Cole Craggs (Trumpet, Year 9), Morgan Bland (Trombone, Year 11), Megan Belshaw (Bassoon, Lower Sixth), Wilamena Dyer (Percussion, Upper Sixth), Conrad Thorndike (Horn, Lower Sixth) and also to Myron Ong (Percussion, Upper Sixth) who is in NYO but did not participate in this project.

Asked what they had enjoyed most about the project, Conrad commented; “What I most enjoyed about NYO is the sense of togetherness that everyone had, and it felt everyone was so close and supported one another“, and Kit added; “What I loved most about the winter residency was seeing the progression of such brilliant repertoire from the very first tutti rehearsal to the beginning of the tour – it was really special to see something you couldn’t think could get much better become even more amazing, whilst meeting such incredible and committed people at the same time.”

A large number of younger pupils have been selected to play in the National Children’s Orchestra this year and so congratulations are also due to Harrison Ashurst (Horn, Year 9), Charlotte (Violin, Year 5), Henry (Percussion, Year 6), Sophia Hawkins (Clarinet, Year 9), Kate Rowsell Ryan (Bassoon, Year 9), Katie Messenger (Bassoon, Year 9), Jacob Phillips (Flute, Year 9), Theo Emmens-Green (Oboe, Year 9), Bea Pooley (Oboe, Year 8) and Michael Dey (Viola, Year 8).