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July 2020 Newsletter

We hope that all of our members are keeping well and are looking forward to their summer break.

Usually at this time we would be undertaking our last performances of the Orchestra year and, for this year, the Seniors would also be preparing to depart for their overseas concert tour. Unfortunately, none of these are going to happen this year, which is extremely disappointing for us all. Hopefully, it will not be too long before we are all back together in rehearsal at Cordwalles School.


There has of course been some Orchestra activity going on over the last month in the form of Online rehearsals via Zoom and, with our pilot programme now having been completed, it is our intention to move forward with our Online rehearsals in the Autumn term, pending a return to our usual rehearsal format at Cordwalles school.

We hope that those who participated in the Online rehearsals have found them enjoyable, although with the strange feeling of being alone in the virtual world at home rather than in the company of fellow musicians at Cordwalles School. It has, however, provided an opportunity to re-engage with Orchestra friends and to work with their section musical director and tutors to identify formats for future Online rehearsals that will keep everyone engaged regarding their music. From a CYWO perspective, we also want everyone to be ready musically for when we return to normal rehearsals and concerts.

We know that not all of our members have chosen to participate in the Online rehearsals and we hope that they will give these a try when we start the new Orchestra year in September. We are planning 12 one hour Online rehearsals on Saturday mornings for each section in the Autumn term, if we do not return to normal rehearsals in that period. We will publish the full list of planned Online rehearsal dates in our August Newsletter, although the first Online rehearsal for all sections will be on 12 September.

If a member has not yet participated in a Zoom Online rehearsal and would like to talk through their concerns about the concept, or barriers to connecting with the Online rehearsal process, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Ideally, we would like all our members to be part of our rehearsals for the Autumn term, as they will be provided with the opportunity to learn some new music, as well as keeping up with rehearsing existing pieces ready for them to be perform at the next concert.


Usually, at this time of year, we would be speaking with those that we feel are ready to move up to the next Orchestra section and giving them the opportunity to accept a new challenge from the Autumn Term. However, with the current Orchestra year having come to a premature end in March, not everyone will have felt that they have had the opportunity to fully demonstrate their progress to date. In view of this, it has been decided to defer any final decisions regarding promotions until we return to normal rehearsals. In the meantime we will shortly be inviting some that we feel had already satisfied us with regards their progress to join the Online rehearsals for what could

potentially be their new section, as well as continuing with their Online rehearsals with their current section. Given the uncertainty regarding a date for our return to normal rehearsals, we cannot guarantee that promotions will actually occur immediately upon our return. Given the unique challenges we currently face as an orchestra, on this occasion the timing of our return to rehearsals may mean that the performance standard of each section of the Orchestra at that time will also need to taken into consideration if a concert is imminent.


Although our usual 'Open Morning' in the summer term to recruit new members has of course not been possible this year, it has been decided that we will hold a 'Online Open Morning' on the morning of Saturday 12 September to give those young musicians looking to join an orchestra the opportunity to learn about what CYWO can offer in the way of performance. We will then invite them to participate in the Online rehearsals for the appropriate Orchestra section for the Autumn term. This opportunity will be open to all young musicians that play a woodwind, brass or percussion instrument, whether they are beginners or experienced musicians. We will be promoting the 'Open Morning' over the summer but, in the meantime, if our current members or parents know of someone that is looking to further their music skills by joining an orchestra, please put them in touch with us and we will include them on the list of participants for the 'Online Open Morning'. Detailed information about the event will then be provided to them nearer the date. Please direct them to the 'Contact Us' section of the 'Home' page of our web site ( ) so they can confirm their interest, or they can email direct for more information.


The above 'Online Open Morning' is also open to those that applied to join our Tutor Programme at the beginning of the Spring Term but have not yet signed up for their Online music lessons arranged through Surrey Arts. We would encourage those that wanted to learn a woodwind or brass instrument to consider starting their lessons Online, as CYWO is happy to extend the previous offer of free lessons for the whole of the autumn term. Also, being able to join in with the Online rehearsals will help in preparing for the time they join our Junior Section. There will be no pressure to actually play their instrument at the Online rehearsals, although all participants are required to be 'muted' anyway, but they will be able to enjoy the experience of participating in the Junior section Online rehearsal.

Brian Hopper


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