top of page

September 2023 Newsletter

Updated: Oct 2

Welcome back to the start of the new academic year! I know that all 3 sections of CYWO have made a fantastic start on their concert programmes already as we look ahead to the Christmas Concerts in December. We also have 34 children having lessons with our Surrey Arts tutors on a Saturday morning, learning percussion, woodwind and brass instruments.

As you may be aware, there will be some changes at the Cordwalles Music Centre in the coming months. Mark Cardy and Jane Hopper will both be leaving us at the end of the Autumn Term with their final concerts being the Christmas Concerts on the 8th and 9th and December. Both Mark and Jane have been involved in CYWO for many years. Mark has been the Senior Section Musical Director for over 23 years, and Jane has been involved in CYWO since its very beginnings. Jane was a member of the orchestra herself from the age of 10-18, then became a Woodwind Tutor between 2003-2005 and has been a Musical Director for both the Junior and Intermediate groups between 2005-2023. Both Mark and Jane have made enormous contributions towards the success of the orchestra during their time as Musical Directors. I am sure you will want to join us in celebrating their achievements at the end of term!

This is also the orchestra’s first term without Brian Hopper as our Chairman. Brian has been an integral part of the orchestra for 40 years, seeing it from its first conception back in 1983 to 2023. Brian has dedicated an unimaginable amount of voluntary hours over the last 40 years to ensure that the orchestra provides quality performance and social opportunities for its members. If you would like to show your thanks to Brian for his contribution, please see the details regarding a collection for a gift at Christmas.

There have also been some changes to the structure of the Friend’s Committee. Following Brian Hopper’s retirement as Chairman of CYWO there is no longer an Executive Committee. Linda McNaughton will be handing over the Chair of the Friends Committee role next month after many years of involvement. A huge thanks to Linda who has been a helping hand at CYWO for many years and has also been instrumental in the development of the orchestra. The Friends Committee and upcoming meetings will now include all of our parent helpers and volunteers to ensure that we can continue to work together collaboratively. Keep an eye out for the upcoming Committee meeting dates and hope to see you there!

I understand that this is a period of change for the Music Centre, but I just wanted to take this opportunity to reassure you that the recruitment process for the 2 new Musical Directors for both the Senior and Intermediate sections is underway, and the plan is for the provision of the orchestras to continue to grow! My new management role at Surrey Arts as Deputy Area Manager for the north of the county, also includes the Music Centre Manager position for Cordwalles. I am delighted to be in this role as I have a 25-year history with the orchestra myself and I am passionate that the orchestra will continue to provide excellent performance and social opportunities for the members moving forwards. I am also looking forward to developing further the local community music provision. We also welcome Sophie Baker as our Receptionist who is helping us to increase our levels of safeguarding and communication at the Centre (also previously a parent of a CYWO member!).

Open Rehearsal

Thank you to everyone for your promotion of the Open Rehearsal on the 16th September. I am pleased to report that we have gained 4 new members as a result!


If you are a parent to a member who has recently moved sections, please could we ask that their Polo Shirts are returned (washed please!) as soon as possible to Reception. The orchestra members will be issued with a new Polo Shirt prior to the Christmas Concerts if required.

Opportunities for learning

We have a team of amazing Surrey Arts teachers on site on Saturday mornings at Cordwalles who have some availability for lessons. We currently have availability for both flute and percussion lessons. If you know of a young person who would like to start learning, please encourage them to apply using the following link: Registration - Surrey Arts (

Tutor changes this term

This term we welcome 2 new tutors to the CYWO team. John Overton has returned to his role as percussion tutor for the Junior section, and Anna Wilkins will be joining the Senior section as woodwind tutor to assist with cover for me during the busy periods of the term!

Basil Ray

It is very sad for us to learn of the death of Basil Ray, who was the founding Senior Musical Director of the Orchestra some 40 years ago and its driving force for its early years. Coincidentally, Basil died on 28 July this year, which was the same day that members of the Senior Section of the Orchestra were on their way home from the Orchestra's concert tour to the Rhineland of Germany. Basil was the person that first started the programme of overseas concert tours, beginning with I.O.W (!!) and continuing with a number of Europe tours until his final tour to Toronto, Canada in the summer of the year 2000. He 'retired' from CYWO the Christmas that followed and Mark Cardy took over. Whilst Basil retired from the Orchestra, his legacy of seeking to create quality music experiences for our members continued to be an influencing factor in decisions subsequently made in respect of concerts, play-outs and, of course, those further overseas concert tours that have been so popular with our members. Rest in peace Basil.

Rehearsal dates this term

  • 30th September

  • 7th, 14th October

  • 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th November

  • 2nd December

Concerts and Playouts this term

  • 18th November – Playout for Children in Need at The Meadows for the Senior Section - 10.30am-12.30pm

  • 8th and 9th December – Christmas Concerts at High Cross Church for Intermediate and Senior sections. Rehearsals 5pm onwards, concerts 7.30pm.

  • 9th December – Rehearsal and Christmas Coffee Morning for Juniors. Rehearsal 9.30am-12pm, Coffee morning 12.15pm – 1.00pm.

Future dates

  • Saturday 18th May 2024 – Concerts for all 3 sections at Camberley Theatre

CYWO/Cordwalles Contact Number

07977 457815

If you have any questions or need to get in touch regarding anything related to CYWO or the Cordwalles Music Centre, please feel free to contact me:

Kind regards

Samantha Hadingham

(Deputy Area Manager – North Surrey)

Recent Posts

See All

Christmas is nearly upon us and all 3 sections are working hard to finalise their performances for the Christmas Concerts! Congratulations again to the CYWO Seniors for raising a huge £1051.96 for Chi


We are now half way through our Autumn Term rehearsal schedule! All three sections continue to work hard preparing their playout and concert programmes for our upcoming events. We return to rehearsals

bottom of page