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Past Students

We are trying to compile a register of where past members and students of Bedfordshire Youth Music have got to, whether they be in the music industry or elsewhere.

Tell us about yourself

If you can tell us a little about what you are doing now we would be only too pleased to hear from you via the Contact Us page. You can also use the this page to update your details.

Please include an indication of when and how you were involved (with which ensembles) in Bedfordshire Youth Music. This information is solely for the record purposes of the Friends of Bedfordshire Youth Music, and your address will not be released to anyone outside this organisation.

What others are doing

Many former students have gone on to make their career in music performances, playing with ensembles around the world. Others have let us know what they're doing outside the world of music.

If you wish to tell us what you are doing now, then please fill in the form - click here.

Clive Bachmanis

I was in the original first youth orchrstra performance at Redbourne school with Roy Rimmer. Played in the youth orchestra and Chamber Orchestra - last concert being the Albert Hall, 1978? Loads of great memories and experinces with some now renowned musicians. Started playing viola after a long gap and I am now in the Bedfordshire Symphony Orchestra conducted by the ever youthful Micheal Rose.

Updated: November 2010

Simon Bailey

I sang in the BYO chorus, the Choir chorus, played trombone badly in various orchestras and concert bands, and am now a company principal at Frankfurt opera singing all sorts of stuff.

Phillip Bainbridge

I currently play for the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, the Academy of Ancient Music, and teach at the Royal College Junior Department.

Updated: July 2007

Pam Barany

I played in the BYO in the early 70's. So fortunate to be in a wind section with David Thomas and Duncan Gould. Spoilt under Michael Rose's baton. A founder member of the BYCO - David Pestell's leadership and enthusiasm was a major factor in it's creation - remember playing through Siegfried Idyll at Cranfield? and Peter Smith's wedding. After RCM I freelanced, playing in Milton Keynes CO, taught for Beds Music Service, Thanks for everything, Michael, and have disappeared into Cornwall, working for Music Cornwall, a little playing, and riding our horses.

My youngest son is a freelance cellist and has just begun a teaching career with Kent Music. My eldest is a super if rusty violinist, doing final electrician exams when he returns from Australia. More than sorry I missed the reunion. Thank you to the Friends for your invaluable contribution and support.

Updated: September 2012

Euan Barr

I played the French Horn starting in 3rd Youth Orchestra in 1991 and finishing as principle horn in the Youth Orchestra in 1997. I also played in the Youth Opera and Chamber Orchestra. I have very many happy memories of the courses, the friends I made (and still have) and the music I had the opportunity to play, particularly the tours to Cyprus and Budapest and the chance to play the Albert Hall on my 18th birthday!

After leaving I finished my studies at Imperial College and the RCM and went to live in Bristol where I played for the Bristol Brass Consort and New Bristol Sinfonia before I moved to Toulouse in the south of France where I now live with my fiancee Lisa and work for Airbus.

Sadly I haven't played in over two years now, but I still fondly remember all the great times playing with the orchestras and operas and in particular all the conductors, tutors and long suffering course managers that made it such a fantastic experience.

Updated: August 2007

Angela Bennett (nee Merrick)

I enjoyed Luton, and later Dunstable Music School, and was in the County Youth Orchestras 1986-1995. I especially enjoyed the county chamber courses and played for the Youth Opera for three years.

I am now a GP living in Cambridge, and still play cello regularly, in a string quartet with friends, and with the Cambridge Philharmonic. We have five children, all of whom love music of many varying styles, from harp to percussion to saxophone! One has followed me to play the cello.

I am so grateful to the County Youth Music department for the early grounding in music which has given me such a great start in life and so much pleasure.

Updated: October 2013

Jeremy Benson

I started playing the violin at Bedford Saturday Morning Music School and the Fourth Orchestra in the mid 1980s, and ended up spending four years up to 1995 in the Youth Orchestra, having switched to double-bass somewhere along the way. I got a huge amount out of the youth music system, and have many happy memories; highlights include two Albert Hall concerts, three trips abroad (including a freebie to Tuscany with the Chamber Orchestra), and Guy's stool collapsing in the middle of the rehearsal at Challney in 1991. I still listen to a lot of music, though my job has nothing to do with it: I'm a civil servant at the DfES, but am spending 2003 on secondment to the Leicester branch of De Montfort Uni, working on "special projects".

Ruth Bland (now Smith)

Cellist, played in the youth orchestra roughly 1973-1978, contemporary of Marion Payne, Pat James, Julia Tagg, Elizabeth Wooding, Chris Muris, Clive Bachmanis, Jes Holmes, Roy Turner, Malcolm Morton to name a few.

After graduating from Hull University, I thought I might go into arts administration. I was a "trog" at the Dartington Summer School of Music with John Amis; my first real job was in the Front of House Dept of the National Theatre. Then in 1981 I got married, emigrated to America, proceeded to acquire a Ph.D. and instead became an academic. I subsequently had two children, tried playing "supermom" for a while but finally threw in the career towel and concentrated on raising my son & daughter (now 24 and 13 respectively). Dabbled in teaching cello and piano and eventually opened a private instructional music studio that is very successful and enables me to balance professional and family life. I'm certain Angelique Barnes and Anna Shuttleworth would be happy to know that I have put all they taught me to good use.

I've lived in several regions of America (Los Angeles, Midwest, Florida, Pacific Northwest) but have never found anything close to the British Royal Schools of Music "grades" or the calibre of the Beds youth orchestra (with the possible exception of Seattle). Both physical distance and the passage of time have given me perspective on and appreciation of those extraordinary years with the youth orchestra - incredible music, amazing people - truly a gift for a lifetime.

Updated: October 2010

Carolyn Bodiam (nee Jones)

Clarinet player in 2nd band and the County band(leader), Youth Orchestra 1980-1988. Gained music degree, then trained as an Occupational Therapist, specialising in stroke and head injury. Music is still a hobby - I have sung with the BBC Symphony Chorus for the past 10 years.

I now live in Hampshire with my husband and 2 year old daughter.

Lindsay Braga

I can only remember being in the 4th and 1st orchestra but presume that can't be right! I was a fairly reluctant orchestral player for quite some time but thanks to BYO it gradually dawned on me that I loved it. I consider the experience I gained at BYO to be some of the most valuable in all my musical training and I'm not sure I would have entered the profession without it.

I have since freelanced for several years with BBC Phil, RLPO etc and found that I was grateful at the start whenever a piece came up that we had learnt in sectionals with Martin Gill as I knew them so well! I feel very grateful to both Martin Gill and Michael Rose for encouraging the very best out of us all.

I am now living in Devon and playing as much chamber music as possible and have also just started coaching the violins at Devon Youth Orchestra.

Updated: November 2013

Jacky Bromley (nee Tinkler)

Played in the Bedfordshire Youth Concert band early to mid seventies originally on Trumpet then Saxophone. Went on the trip to Vienna - 1975 I think! I also played in the East Befordshire Concert band under the direction of Jim Hibbert.

I now live in Suffolk and play solo tenor horn for Wrentham Brass band. We have recently appointed Chris Robinson as our new musical director. Visit our web site www.wrenthamband.org for more info.

Updated: December 2008

Neil Brown

Ex-Leader of the County Youth Orchestra (member 1978 - 86). Spent a while playing quite seriously in and around Bristol after University, together with conducting various amateur orchestras.

My peers include Andrea Quinn, Morven Byrce, Andrew Manze, Michael and David Hext, Rachel Gledhill, Chris Yates, Heskeths (x2), Diane and Helen Cass, even Marios Agirios and Tina Fedeski (early years!). Trips abroad include Paris (x2), Italy (Perugia), Cyprus (x2), Bamberg.

Now to my shame I find myself an IT Solutions Architect, and ex-Violinist, splitting any available time equally (honest!) between family and golf. Emigrated to New Zealand 4 years ago, married to Jane (cellist) with two beautiful daughters.

I remember with huge fondness those years and the many great times we all shared. For those who didn't quite make it into the profession like myelf, there will always be a sense of a missed opportunity perhaps. But there is great solace in the memories of that time. Certainly my wife who grew up in a different county is hugely jealous of the opportunity I was afforded. I loved every single moment of my time in BYCO - and have nothing but admiration and thanks for the staff that kept the whole thing fun and excellent at the same time.

Maybe when the golf bug leaves me, Ill write a book....

Morven Bryce

Hi everyone! I was in BYO from 1982 until 89 i think. but i did all the 4 orchestras, chamber orch and choir!

It was an utterly amazing unrepeatable time. i feel it was the best days of my life even tho i am in the profession now, having guest lead RPO, BBC Concert, etc...

I really feel sad when i think today's youngsters probably won't enjoy the level of training we received coupled with the freedom to be young and misbehave!!!!

Along wth Dave Yates, I was the bain of Michael Rose's life particularly on tour... but it was so worth it!!! I miss everyone, Bainbridges, Yates, Bateman, Dickey, Sarah Tilling. Would love to hear from anyone. xx

Updated: January 2013

Paul Burnage

I played in both concert bands and youth Brass band until about 1986 when I joined the police in London. I'm still playing the bass trombone with a local band, after some expert tuition from Terry Hext. Currently living in Hertforshire, married with two children, reached the dizzy heights of Inspector, but that's work.

Updated: March 2009

Lawrence Butchart

I was a member of the Concert Band on euphonium from 1970-1974, and later became a member of County Youth Brass Band, before joining the regimental band of the Scots Guards.

I have been involved in brass banding since 1977 and have now taken up the baton too.

Updated: January 2008

Nicholas Carthy

is now the Head of Music at The Stockholm Opera.

Helen Cass

I spent many years as a professional violinist freelancing with most of the major London Orchestra such as The Philharmonia, London Mozart Players, City of London Sinfonia, as well as 6 years with the BBC Concert Orchestra. I then decided to move out of music and finished a maths and computer science degree with the Open University. I now work in the IT industry in The City, London.

Updated: April 2007

Jo Cole

have just found this link by chance and delighted to catch up with some much missed names from the past! Can own up to twenty three years of freelancing in London; co principal cello of City of London Sinfonia and Orchestra of St Johns, plus member of Academy of St Martins and down the line playing with LSO and some guest leading stuff with ENO,Garden and opera North.. but since Sept 2006 Deputy head of strings at the Royal Northern College of music where I teach cello supervise orchestra and try to inure students into the reality of the 21st century music profession!

Am married to Martin Parry 2nd flute in the LSO. Sister Alison.. oboe BCYO circa 1975 onwards is married GP in Worcester and has son (aged 7)learning violin with Amanda Woods; wife of Robbie Bilson (BCYO around the same time!) Thrilled to hear all news of contemporaries..lots of love to all!

Updated: April 2008

Sara Cranfield (nee Osborne)

I was involved in the Youth Orchestra from about 1974 to 1982. I read Music at Southampton University but am now working for the British Dental Association! I still play, with the Ducklake Ensemble Wind Octet, based in North Herts. We perform several times a year in the Herts/Beds/Cambs area. I also play in several trios and a wind quintet.

Stephanie Dancer

The Bedfordshire County Youth orchestra provided me with the best memories of my youth. Even now, there are people, concerts and incidents I will never forget....such as the time when I was playing principal bassoon in a rehearsal for Verdi Requiem and at the beginning of one glorious slow movement, played a G natural instead of a G sharp.....also, playng contra in Janaceks Sinfonietta....my fingers weren't long enough for the keys so I sellotaped lolly sticks onto them. Six bars, tied, on a bottom B flat and six slow beats in each bar....was moribund by the end of that movement.

I started off in the wind band (1973-4) and then leaped into the orchestra (1974-80), beginning with a tour to Austria, where we played the Bruch violin concerto with Charles Pollard and Sibelius 2nd symphony. I remember my colleague bassoonists with huge affection - Chris Muris (remember the silly hats?), Jes Holmes, Tim Pigden, Tim Beale and Peter Wilson; also the fabulous clarinetist Duncan Gould and a viola player called Marios, who got fed up with the viola and thought he would try the oboe instead. He and I discussed this ad nauseam in a lunch queue one evening.

One of the most exciting concerts was Belshazzars Feast in the Royal Albert Hall, and one of the most uncomfortable was Dvorak Cello concerto with, I think, Pierre Fournier, in Westminster catherdral, who had a tantrum at the dress rehearsal. I played in the Chamber orchestra too, and the best concert I remember was the one conducted by Simon Rattle (Beethoven 7)- his eyebrows used to overshadow the first desk of the strings. I could go on and on. Basically, the opportunity to play in this orchestra helped me survive a miserable time at school and instilled the most enormous passion for music. Now I am principal in the oldest amateur orchestra in Scotland, Glasgow Orchestral Society, and performed a concerto with them last summer. I have also played professionally, including a guest appearance as 2nd bassoon in Brahms Requiem with the BBC Sottish Symphony Orchestra. I attend a residential wind quintet course every year to keep my playing up to scratch, and am about to embark on a performer's diploma. And the day job? I am a medical microbiologist in Lanarkshire researching on superbugs!

Updated: April 2008

James Dickenson

Is now playing in the Degas quartet resident at Syracuse University, New York State.

William Douglas

Attended Saturday morning music school from 1980 onwards and was in the county band from around 1982 to 1985 (trumpet/cornet), I remember going to Germany in 1985 and have fond (ish) memories of a monumental wigging from Ralph Fawthrop who threatened to send myself and Anthony Litchfield back to Bedford mid-tour after a particularly anti-social underage drinking session. Am now a lawyer with a well known US investment bank, working in the City and living in Oxfordshire with my wife and two young daughters: no involvement with music at all nowadays.

Cerys Emmett

I worked my way through the county orchestra's during my youth finishing in youth orchestra in 2000. I also attended the chamber music courses during half terms. I graduated from Southampton University in 2002 with a 2:1 BA(Hons) Music degree. I completed my PGCE in secondary music in 2003 and have been working in Southampton since. I am currently Head of Music in a secondary school in Southampton. I am still playing a lot and lead the Southampton Concert Orchestra as well as play with the City of Southampton Orchestra. I do a lot of quartet playing through an agency and am part of an ensemble with an up and coming singer songwriter - one day I'll be famous!!

I still maintain that I would not be the musician I am today without all the teaching, experience and opportunity I had through Bedfordshire Youth Music and I am so glad to see it still as fantastic as ever providing for so many young people.

Karen Epp (nee Newby)

I played oboe in the orchestra in the early 70's (lots of good memories of people and music!) I came to Canada and did a music degree, switching to recorder as a specialty halfway through.

I played professionally with Early music Vancouver for many years, and now teach - elementary classroom and music as well as adult music and teacher training programmes.

Updated: June 2011

Frances Farquhar

I started playing in the 4th Orchestra and ended up in Youth with much begging to Ian Smith and naughty behaviour in general. I do have some fond and interesting memories of playing in the Albert Hall and of the horrendously long journey to Italy on the buses. Also loved my time in 2nd going to Edinburgh having a brill time.

Updated: June 2009

Elly Farrar

Having started working at Wootton Upper School, Ian Smith has made it clear that I will play my violin again. I'm planning my practice schedule now!

Beds County memories are the best of my life! I had ambition, but every course and tour encouraged me to push myself that bit harder.

I hope I can inspire my students in the same way!

Thank-you x

Updated: August 2011

Robin Fox

Involved in the orchestra in the early days up to 1975 (when I got married) playing the flute and piccolo. After being Head of Music in a school in north London, I then moved to Italy where I am currently teaching English in a Liceo Musicale and playing the flute in the local village band! I have two children, now in their twenties, one of whom is a wonderful clarinetist.

Updated: September 2007

Amy Orivel (nee Frost)

I worked my way up from 4th Orchestra to the Youth Orchestra, and was also a member of the Youth Opera and Youth Chamber Orchestra. I now live in France with my husband and five children, and work for an investment bank in Luxembourg.

Updated: February 2008

Ruth Furniss

I progressed as a violinist through from County Junior Strings which I also lead, to the Youth Orchestra where I came to my senses and became a viola player. I lead the viola section of the Youth Orchestra 2002 - 2004.

I have recently completed a BMus (Hons) degree at Birmingham Conservatoire and am currently doing a PGCE in Secondary Music and Instrumental Teaching. Next year, I have been given a scholarship to do a PG Dip. at the Royal Academy of Music to specialise in Period Performance, in particular Baroque Music.

Sue Gibbon (nee Buchanan)

I was a member of the two Concert bands, late 70's and early 80's playing flute. I was part of the trip to Vienna in 1982 where we had a fantastic time, with Terry Hext and Ralph (can't remember his surname) and the other conductor whose face I can remember but not his name. Had some great courses and really enjoyed all of them, though preferred the venue in Bedford than Luton!! Still play flute very occasionally, and teach music part time locally.

Updated: July 2008

Rachel Gledhill

Percussionist with London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Theo Gray

I started in 4th Orchestra around '85 after Mr Quinn suggested it while I was still at Icknield Lower; I still remember that day sat in the canteen during a Cello lesson probably with a big grin on my face! Came up through 3rd and eventually passed an audition into 2nd Orchestra, before failing to reply to a course invite '94ish and unfortunately not making it back after that.

Had some great times with the orchestras, including a very memorable trip to the Edinburgh Festival ('93), and great fun behind the scenes at the Corn Exchange on many other occasions over the years!

I don't get much of a chance to play my cello these days, but have done a number of fun things with various quartets/quintets (violin, viola, cello, clarinet & sometimes flute) in the last few years. I've also played keyboard and subsequently looked after sound for the Edlesbray Players pantomime - www.edlesbrayplayers.co.uk.

For full time work I was drawn into computers in 1995 (my main creative work being websites these days), and haven't been able to take the time out to try and break back into music properly since; I'd like to try an orchestra again, but have no idea where to start at the moment. I'm also gradually getting into the recording and production side of things, although that's all at a very amateur stage at the moment.

Anyone who wants to is very welcome to get in touch via www.theogray.com

Updated: October 2005

Timothy Hammond

I used to play with the first and second Beds County Youth Orchestras (Double Bass) in about 1987-90. I went to the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 1991. I have just finished composing my third ballet (The Prince and the Pauper) for the London Children's Ballet which is currently being performed at the Peacock Theatre. I also work extensively as a Musical Director on cruise ships for Openwide International and have completed many arrangements for the production shows on the ships. I also run a small music agency called TMH Music & Agency who specialize in booking musicians for cruise work.

Alison Heley

I became involved with the Bedford Saturday morning Music School and the County Youth Choir shortly after moving to Bedfordshire, although it was not until a couple of years later that I became aware of, and then involved with, the county orchestras.

My first orchestra course was as a French horn player in 3rd Orchestra in Easter 1992. However I was also a double bass player, and after a successful audition for 2nd orchestra, this became my main instrument. I then played in the Youth Orchestra from Christmas 1995- Easter 1998 and for various other county groups over the years as well as for the National Youth Music Theatre.

I am still living in Bedford and am currently working in the Science Education Dept at De Montfort University. I have played bass in Bedfordshire Symphony Orchestra since 1992 (except when I was at university) and for other groups within Bedfordshire and surrounding areas. I still play the horn when I can, though not with any group.

Ben Hull

I was in 2nd Band and then the Concert Band in the mid 90s. I played bassoon then saxophone.

I am now in the Band of the Grenadier Guards living and working in London. I'm probably one of the few people who makes a living playing in a concert band!

Updated: March 2011

John Heritage

Trumpeter and Percussionist in Youth Orchestra between 1974 and 1980. Studied trumpet at the Guildhall and embarked on a teaching career. Now Director of Music at Clifton College Bristol and President of the Music Masters and Mistresses Association.

David Hesketh

Well, what a story. Hung around the orchestra as principle viola with a young whippersnapper called Yates by my side around the late 70s early 80s (seem to remember getting arrested a lot in Nicosia and Paris with Yates and Bateman). Bro' Phil was principle cello and Mark was in the highly strung fiddles (along with a talented chap called Manse and a very pretty filly called Cass - Hi guys).

Went on to get a proper job and earn loads of money in computers but still kept up the 17" bazooka. Now play loads of chamber stuff and am principle viola with Opera de Bauge.

Love to all those who remember me.

Updated: October 2007

Philip Hesketh

is currently Musical Director of the London Children's Ballet. He also recently conducted 'The Nutcracker' at The Royal Opera House when Yevegenii Svetlanov had to withdraw at short notice.

David Hext

Principal percussionist with the Halle Orchestra.

Michael Hext

Principal Trombone ~ Royal Opera House.

Paul Hopkins

I had the pleasure of playing trombone in the Beds Youth Orchestra with Michael Hext and Roy Turner from 1974 -1978. I am currently Principal Trombone in Hendon SA Band and rarely practice (nothing has changed there!).

I remember my Dad taking me to Michael Roses's house for the audition where I played Concert Piece (Michael accompanied me although my Dad, Ivan, was prepared in any event). I also remember many a sectional with Terry Hext.

I remember the trombone section commencing Walton's Belshazzar’s Feast, in fear a trepidation, at a charity concert held at the Albert Hall, the toughest concert B flat I have ever had to play. I loved the New Years concerts at the Bedford Corn Exchange; what great memories.

I have spent all my working life in property development, commencing as a Quantity Surveyor, and since 2002 have held the position of Managing Director of St James Urban Living based in Finchley. We are a subsidiary of The Berkeley Group (Berkeley Homes) and construct mixed use developments on Brownfield sites in the City. It's a great job and the people that work for me are the best in the industry.

Updated: June 2008

John Hoskins

At the time of writing some twenty years have passed since I last played in the double bass section of the County Youth Orchestra. For nineteen of those subsequent years a large part of my career has been involved with playing the piano for dance classes. Recently, I have been considering the ways in which my time in the youth orchestras has been of particular benefit to me.

At first, there may appear to be little in common between playing amongst the double basses in an orchestra and solo piano playing in a dance studio, but I have come to find that a lot of the techniques practised in orchestral rehearsals have proven to be enduringly useful in rehearsals with dancers.

For example, when playing classical ballet repertoire classes, either solos, pairs (pas de deux) or groups(corps de ballet), one has to sight-read, watch for changes of speed, and stop at and start from places in the middle of passages of music. Additionally, the speeds and qualities of the music might need altering from time to time. All these requirements can be expected immediately and the duration of some rehearsals or classes can be quite lengthy.

Recalling many of the orchestral rehearsals in both the First and Second County Youth Orchestras, similar demands were made of us. Previously, I had been fortunate enough to have gone to a school which had a number of good orchestras but these used to rehearse for brief periods in the lunch time, often playing shorter works of music. For me, the outstanding benefits that I experienced from my time in the youth orchestras were the practising of these musical demands within the context of large orchestral pieces, the high standards that were sought and, most particularly, the stamina needed to maintain concentration during these occasions.

My thanks must go especially to Michael Rose for his leadership in pursuit of the high musical standards, also the supporting staff, both visiting and local, and also to the County itself for having in place a system that enabled us to participate in the music both then and subsequently.

Becky Rideout (nee Hyde)

I was a member of the Third, Second and then the Youth Orchestra on flute/piccolo, enjoying trips to Edinburgh in 1991 and 1993 with 2nd Orchestra and Youth Orchestra trips to Hungary and Cyprus. For a year after graduating with a music degree from Goldsmiths', I was an administrator for Harmonia Mundi, a classical music label, with another former Youth Music member, Andrew Manze, amongst it's recording artists. I also met my husband Kevin there.

I have somehow managed to be now working full time as a medical secretary. My spare time is mostly taken up with family (I have a daughter with special needs and one stepson rapidly approaching his 18th birthday - I remember celebrating my 18th on a day of an orchestra course!) so I don't get any time to play the flute. I was a member of the BBC Symphony Chorus a few years ago and appeared on the Last Night of the Proms and a Blue Peter Christmas Special. My claim to fame!

Updated: July 2013

Liz Jones

Was violinist in all orchestras apart from the 3rd as noone talked to me!

Auditioned for 2nd and got in so luckily moved quickly on. Spent evey holiday from 1988 - 1999 ish on courses and loved evey minute. Amazing times, especially the tours.

Now head of music in a great performing arts school in London, not really playing the violin much - which is a shame.

Updated: October 2008

Ben Lane

I am currently working as PA to the Managing Director and Orchestral Librarian of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in Edinburgh.

I was involved with all four of the orchestras in my time and have many, many memories, mostly good, that stretch over a space of about 13 years.

I am still playing violin with Edinburgh's best 'amateur' chamber orchestra (The Meadows) as well as occasional freelance work and am always very appreciative of the experience I gained from the Bedfordshire system. I am also always impressed by the number of people I meet in the professional music world who have come through the Bedfordshire system.

The tours to Edinburgh to play in the Festival were always amongst my favourite and made me fall in love with the city - one of the main reasons I am here now. It is almost poetic justice then that my girlfriend now works for NAYO in Central Hall!

Richard Lane

Violinist in youth orchestra 1982-87. Great memories of Paris (twice), Bamberg (Mahler 5 musical highlight of whole time in orchestra), perugia, Cyprus. Memorable characters too...Hesketh/Yates/Bateman/Mottram, Morven et al,Bainnridge's, Brown, Beckett' Barlen...still playing for fun with solo work in Farnham, Surrey. Working as freelance journalist and part-time Editor for The Lancet Medical journal.

Updated: February 2012

Kathryn Lewis

I was in the second and county youth orchestras from about 1985 to 1991 firstly as a violinst and then as a viola. After graduating with a degree in Music from Hull University I moved to London and played in the British Youth Opera orchestra. I freelanced for about 4 years but then stopped when I took up a job in arts administration in the Orchestra Office at the Royal Opera House. I'm now working in IT at University College London - don't ask - but regularly play chamber music performing in concerts put on by the University College London Chamber Music Club.

Updated: September 2009

Greg Malcangi

was previously the principal tuba in the Youth Orchestra in the early eighties. After studying at the Guildhall School of Music he freelanced for several years before starting his present career in composition/production. He is now a BAFTA nominated composer/producer of music for TV/Film.

Andrew Manze

International violin soloist specialising in Baroque violin. Leads the Academy of Ancient Music.

Bill Manton

Hi everyone.
I am now a specialist veterinary ophthalmologist and ophthalmic surgeon, practising near Chester. I played violin with BYO from about 1972 to 1980 and with BYCO until 1981 or 2 and was also briefly a BYCO committe member. I also played first violin with the Cambridge University (CUMS) orchestra. My contemporaries included, in no particular order, Catherine Shuttleworth, William Shaw, Robbie Bilson, the Heskeths, Jo and Alison Cole, Penny Deamer, Tom Groger, Nick Carthy, Helen Cass etc etc.

I have very clear and generally very fond, memories of my time with the orchestras which certainly included some of the most formative periods of my adolescence. Having played in both the Royal Albert and Royal Festival Halls by the time I was 18, with players who have subsequently proved themselves to be even more superb than I thought them to be at the time, and with guest conductors like Simon Rattle, meant that subsequent experiences of playing with amateur groups have been quite an anticlimax, and that fact, combined with the pressures of establishing myself in my chosen profession and starting a new family, led me to neglect the instrument for many years. However, I have recently rediscovered my enthusiasm for playing and have even started having lessons again, with the leader of Manchester Camerata (orchestra in residence at RNCM).

It would be great to hear from any of my contemporaries (not limited to those whose names occurred to me as I was writing this), especially any who are based in the North West. My E-mail address is "Weavervet1@aol.com"

Updated: February 2008

Russell Matthews

I was in the Youth Orchestra until 1998 as 4th Horn. Sang in the youth Opera for seven years.

I studied Physics and Music at Cardiff then Singing for two years at Trinity College of Music. Have been singing professionally since 2001.

Martin McCarrick

I was a cellist in the Bedfordshire Youth Orchestra and Chamber orchestra. After leaving Bedfordshire for the bright lights of London I studied at the Guildhall school of Music and Drama and at the Royal College Of Music. I became a professional cellist and orchestral arranger after completing studies and later became a composer of music for film, TV and radio.

As well as composing music for film, making studio recordings and arranging I've also worked with a huge array or rock recording artists and for a while was oddly in huge demand as an electric cellist - a strange and happy accident - but one which allowed me to get top grips with a new cello sound involving effects and amplifiction leading me towards an much more experimental attitude to music.

I still work as an arranger/composer and cellist, and also play with my violinst wife in our own unique music for film project - 'The McCarrricks' revisiting the art of the silent movie by playing live alongside short films that we commision especially for our compositions. So far this year we've toured through the UK , Europe and The USA. I also lecture in live performance to young up and coming musicians. Quite a musical adventure so far.....

Updated: November 2007

Leone McDonald

I was in Youth orchestra from about 1996, went to the Royal Northern College and now I'm a freelance horn player based in the north of England.

Ken Meade

Some of the names on here are a real blast from the past ! I played trumpet in the Bedfordshire Youth Orchestra, cornet in the Bedford Concert Band, and Bedford town band at the same time as Mike Hext who was a close friend, later David, Andy Culshaw, Roy, Lawrence and many others.

Originally tutored by Terry Hext and then Doug Taylor (how he managed to play trumpet with one tooth I'll never know), and went on amongst others the same European binges (I mean music trips) as Roy.

Went off to Leicester to do maths and music in about "78" and joined the William Davis Construction group band playing solo (sub principal) cornet under John Berryman (prev.GUS). Left the band before I left university after illness which prevented me from playing for a year and never really took it up again (other interests).

Chose IT as a career and am now a networking consultant. Took up elec guitar and formed a band for a while in the 90's playing blues/Jazz, but now relegated to bedroom !

Would also like to acknowledge Ralph "the mouth" Fawthrop who I don't see mentioned, but was the bursar at Pilgrim Grammar School, and also the organizer of almost all of the foreign trips we all went on. He may have been a pain at times, but he was responsible for great European experience for many young musicians in Bedford during the 70's in addition to running the Bedford Town band with Terry Hext.

Updated: May 2008

Rachel Nicholls

I played the violin in the Youth Orchestra and sang in BYO for 10 years. I studied Linguistics and French at York university and then did 4 years as a postgrad at the RCM.

I made my Covent Garden debut in 2002 and I now sing all over the world in opera, concert and recording work. I am still having great fun making music and am extremely grateful for the excellent teaching and experience I received from Bedfordshire Music.

I'm now vocal coaching for BYO and being the chorus mistress - it's great working with such talented youngsters - and last year I began conducting lessons from our very own Michael Rose.

Updated: April 2008

Laura Orrow

Played violin in county 4th orchestra, enjoyed every minute - had a blast and made many friends. I still have my violin which proudly displays my Bedfordshire Youth Music sticker.

Andrew Osborne

Now living in Teddington and playing horn with Kingston Philharmonia. Also playing with the Rehearsal Orchestra on occasions. My son has recently joined the Bedfordshire Youth Orchestra (playing horn) after a few years working his way through 3rd and 2nd Orchestras.

John Peacock

I played clarinet in the wind band 1970-73 then the youth orchestra from 1973-77, leaving after the concert in the Albert Hall. I've never forgotten Duncan Gould's wonderful clarinet playing, and have tried to live up to the standards he set, first as principal of the Cambridge University Chamber Orchestra, and for the past 20 years in Edinburgh as principal of the Scottish Sinfonia. I've always been hugely grateful to Bedfordshire for opening the door to these great experiences. Oh yes, and I pay the bills by being an astrophysicist at Edinburgh University.

Tim Pigden

Bassoon in mid- to late 70s (started in band then orchestra and chamber orchestra). Did maths then music at Cambridge before going to Imperial College for a few years. Since then in the rather obscure software niche of Vehicle Routing and Scheduling software where I co-founded in '88 and have been running ever since a small software company called Optrak.

Youth Orchestra provided me with some of my most memorable times of my teenage years including being described as sounding like one half of a pair of mating hippos - whilst playing contra in Rite of Spring.

Still playing the bassoon in and around Hertford and recently debuted in a rock band on alto sax. Hello everyone! Happy husband and father to 3 boys, oldest of which is just off to Durham.

Updated: September 2009

Hannah Plom

Member of the Youth Band for 6 years until 2002, having previously been in both the 2nd & 3rd Bands. On the tour to Holland in 2001 received an award for getting the lowest 10-pin bowling score ! Also a member of the Youth Choir until 1997. Currently working as a Children's Librarian in Hampshire and plays regularly with the Southampton Concert Wind Band.

Tamasine Plowman

Hi, I currently live in County Clare southern Ireland, I have 2 beautiful daughters both with a love for music, dance and drama. I am currently studying for my MA in classical string performance at the university of limerick, performing as a soloist, caravel string quartett and academos string ensemble. I teach from home violin piano and the dreaded theory...I left music for nearly 10 years but have dived back in and I am enjoting every moment of it again.... Thankyou Bedfordshire for giving my love of music and opening so many doors of opportunities, a special thankyou to Micheal Rose, Ian Smith and Daffydd Billinghurst.

Mr Pollard

I was leader of the youth orchestra in the early 1970's, taught the strings for a couple of years and helped found the BYCO. I led the Bedford Sinfonia for a couple of years. I have lived and worked in Asia since 1990. I no longer play. Pleased to hear from any past pupils, friends and colleagues.

Leslie Pratt

I worked my way through the Bedfordshire youth orchestras in the late 80s and early 90s, starting in the 4th Orchestra 1985, and finishing with the Youth Orchestra in 1992. I began life as a lowly violinist, but ended my playing career as a viola player.

When I left Bedfordshire, I went to study music in Leeds, and am now working as a producer for BBC Radio 3.

Andrea Quinn

was until recently Musical Director of The Royal Ballet, and is now Musical Director of the New York City Ballet. She directed performances at the Edinburgh Playhouse, during the Edinburgh Festival 2001.

Jon Quirk

I was in the Beds County youth band when it was conducted by Terry Hext who also taught me trumpet at Pilgrim school. I also had Doug Taylor. Without Terrys guidance I wouldn't have made it into the music business. I remember fabulous trips to Holland, Lucern and Vienna. Also I played in the off stage bands for Belshazzars Feast at the RAH. One outstanding memory is a concert at Westminster Abbey in a tent?! and Andy Culshaws fabulous rendition of My Old Kentucky Home. I have a great picture of Ken Mead and David Summersgill on that day.

For my sins I went on to the RNCM and have been in the CBSO for over a quarter of a century!!!

Updated: May 2011

Gary Roberts

A founder member of the Youth Chamber orchestra during his time in the Youth Orchestra, from 1971 to 1979. He is now Principal Oboe with the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra.

Stephen Rose

I played in all the youth orchestras starting in the third, second etc during the early 80's along with Andrew Manze, Kate Jones, The Hext brothers, Chris and Tony. I went on to study violin at the Royal Academy in London, and in the States. After freelancing in London I joined the orchesra of the ENO, and in 1995 moved to The Netherlands, where I freelance with all the major orchestras. I look back on my early days in youth music with great affection. It was above all a good laugh.

Updated: September 2008

William Shaw

I played in BCYO and the Chamber Orchestra in the 1970s, starting off when Charles Pollard was leader. I ran into Manze when he was at Cambridge and heard Jo Cole at Balliol a few years ago. Managed a dinner with John Peacock last year. I am now a Professor of Maths at University College London. This and two young children keep me rather too busy for a lot of music these days, but my son has just got Grade 1 piano and got a violin, so I hope he will follow the family musical tradition.

Beds youth music was a GREAT part of my teenage years and I will always be grateful for it all. The IFYO at Aberdeen, a trip to Vienna and Albert Hall performances have stuck in my memory, as has the look on Michael Rose's face when I explained I could not follow the er, circular beat when leading the 2nd violins. A young Simon Rattle telling the teenage cellists in BYCO to imagine a certain intimacy with their instruments was a highlight as well.

If anyone wants to say hello mail me at w.shaw@ucl.ac.uk.

Updated: February 2011

Eugene Smith

Member of the Youth Orchestra during the late 80's and early 90's playing the viola. Remembers several of the tours, including Spain, Edinburgh, Cyprus and Russia, where they visited Moscow & Leningrad. Currently employed as a lecturer at the Metropolitan Police College in Hendon. Would look forward to hearing from any of his compatriots from his time in the orchestra system.

Harvey Smith

In the County Youth Orchestra (?)1981 - 1986. Remember Paris/Bamburg/Bristol John Shayler, Simon Manze, Alistair Green (deceased), D Boyes, V Snowden and the Barlems.

Best moment:  Mahler 5 in Bamberg.
Worst moment: Being asked to leave by M Rose!

Now a consultant dermatologist in Winchester after 16 years in Army. Married with 2 daughters.

Nick Stephens

I played second fiddle in the mid-late 70's along with Phil, Mark and David Hesketh, Paul Bateman, Pat Wright, Bill Manton et al.

Since Uni had a fun time in Advertising till chucking it all in and moving to France to run our family holiday business in the Alps - skiing in winter and adventure stuff in the summer.

Still playing music (sadly not the fiddle) but in a French rock band - though not any French songs as it is widely agreed that French music peaked with Plastique Bertrand (Belgium) in the 70's.

Would love to hear from anyone - esp. Penny Diemer!

Updated: April 2012

Mark Tanser

I'm not in the music industry ... I'm in the IT industry...

I started off playing Tenor Horn in the 2nd Concert Band on the Easter Course in 1982 (along with my sister). My last Concert was with the Concert Band in Summer 1985 under Denis Wick (I think) by which time I was playing cornet. Played at Wembley Conference Centre under Geoffrey Brand, and visited Germany with the band in 1985 (under Terry Hext and Jim Hibbert). Moved to Leicestershire in 1985 so that's when it all finished although I still play for a local Brass Band.

Kate Thatcher

I started in the 4th Orchestra and somehow made it through to the Youth Orchestra creating some fabulous memories and friendships along the way. The best thing, aside the music of course ;-), were the opportunities to travel: during my time I played in Edinburgh with the 2nd Youth Orchestra and in Arezzo, Italy, and in Prague with the Youth Orchestra. I'm now living in Edinburgh, studying Linguistics as postgraduate - I'll be keeping my eyes out for the Bedfordshire crew this summer - 2005 !

Brendan Thomas

Joined the 2nd Band in 1982 and left the Youth Orchestra in 1991 after an amazing Russia tour. I studied at the Guldhall School of Music, and then joined the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Left 5 years later to freelance, which I still enjoy tremendously, playing with the LSO,LPO, RPO, ENO, Royal Opera House and others, as well as many films, sessions , West End Shows, Big Bands and occasional pop tour. I've coached the Beds Youth Orchestra for 6 years, which is wonderful to be able to give something back. The other tutors have hardly changed since I was a member (Messrs Gill, Shayler, Davies and Gordon, and Michael Rose as inspiring as ever!), and I see many past members both professionally and socially. I also teach at BMS once a week. I have a wonderful wife, Rachael, and two amazing sons, James and George. We live in Leighton Buzzard, and play golf at The Millbrook GC near Ampthill.

Updated: October 2012

Judith Templeman

Freelance musician now.

Kathryn Templeman

Now doing teacher training.

Brendan Thomas

Joined the 2nd Concert Band in 1982 and left the Youth Orchestra in 1991 with a memorable tour to Russia. Joined the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1992 but left 5 years later to freelance, which I enjoy tremendously! I also now coach the BYO horn section, which gives me a great sense of nolstalgia! I regularly see many ex members on a professional basis, as well as others who I bump into by surprise.I live in Leighton Buzzard with my wife , Rachael, and two sons, James and George.

Updated: September 2007

Roy Turner

I played in the trombone section of the youth orchestra with Michael Hext and Leon Taylor about 1973-77 and also the Brass Band and Jazz orchestra.

I joined the Royal Engineers Band for seven years and then came back to teach for the county for a couple of years. I moved on to be head of Brass and Woodwind at the Royal Grammar School Worcester from 1989 to 2005. I remember sharing a room in Lucerne with Andy Culshaw (Founder member of fine Arts Brass) and putting up with his late night habits, he bought Fine Arts to play at the Grammar School for me.

One of the Highlights of the Orchestras activities at the time were to the International Festival of Youth Orchestras in Aberdeen where I remember Michael Rose decided to play the whole of Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture as an Encore!

One of the most memorable moments was a Concert at the Royal Albert Hall with the programme including the Enigma Variations. This was followed by Belshazzar’s Feast which included a Choir made up from many schools of the county and offstage bands supplied by the county Brass Band. This is one of my life long memories of the county youth music’s fairly early days, including the sometimes slightly fraught rehearsals to pull together the enormous numbers in Redborne School Sports Hall.

The county Brass Band was a well travelled ensemble at the time with visits to Holland and other European venues. I see the name of Lawrence Butchart on the past players web site and it may be long enough ago to mention seeing him give tutors Terry Hext and Doug Taylor quite a fright in his near death experience due to alchohol as we boarded the coach for the trip home! This was followed by Paul (slide) Hyde getting angry with customs officers for not believing that all the rolling tobacco stuffed in to his trombone case was still under the legal limit for a person his age.

A final moment that comes to mind is when a group gathered as a chamber orchestra, lead by David Pestell (usually double Bass) conducting and I believe John Shayler leading violins, played at the then course organiser’s (Peter Smith head of Music at Redborne School) wedding in a small welsh village church, the home town of his wife to be Megan. All went well as we played various in-going voluntarys but once the very aged church organ took over, few in the orchestra could keep a straight face as it seemed to have a mind of its own and commented with all sorts of flatulent type noises as the vows were being read.

Updated: September 2007

Sam Walton

Played in 2nd and Main youth orchestras and went to Pilgrim Saturday School, studying with Peter Hoare and Lee Stanley.

Now a freelance musician in London playing with LSO, LPO, BBC Symphony, London Sinfonietta, COE and Bournemouth Symphony mainly.

Have very fond memories of my time in the Youth Orchestra and would love to get in touch with a few of the guys for old times sake!

Updated: April 2008

Liam Watson

Played violin in 3rd orchestra 1982/83 for a few courses. Now work for an insurance company in London.

Simon White

Now teaching and playing percussion professionally and also the percussion tutor for 3rd Band!

Christine Wilde (nee Steel)

I started in the 3rd Orchestra on the French Horn In 1984 and woked my way through the orchestras finishing as principal horn and finally leaving in 1995. There was many memorable trips including Russia, Prague, Budapest and Cyprus. I played with the chamber orchestra nad the Youth Opera. I studdied at Colchestra Institute for my BA(hons) in music and then did my PGCE at Bretton Hall. I moved to London and taught music at a large secondary school in East Ham. I have since moved to Derby, got married and have got two young children. I still teach Brass part time and play Horn in a local orchestra and brass group.

Updated: January 2008

Christopher Yates

Principal viola with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Dave Yates

Having been the bane of Michael Rose's life for a couple of years (in stark contrast to my more-talented and better-behaved brother), I read law at Oxford before taking a career in horseracing journalism.

Having worked for Timeform, the Press Association and the Racing Post, as well as radio and TV jobs, I became 'Newsboy' of the Daily Mirror in May 2002.

Although I no longer play the violin, I still enjoy music, singing as a lyric bass with various amateur groups in London.

I very much hope to be a full-time gambler within the next five years. But, then, don't we all?

Updated: May 2009


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