24th Sep, 2018

Coventry youth orchestra's future under threat after loss of funding

Felix Nobes 12th Sep, 2018 Updated: 12th Sep, 2018

A HIGHLY regarded youth orchestra has had its funding withdrawn and its future thrown into doubt.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Youth Orchestra has blamed recruiting problems on the national trend of cuts to music education.

It is to celebrate its 60th anniversary during Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture 2021.

But without further funding and new recruits the group says there is a possibility it will not exist to be part of the city’s celebrations.

The symphony orchestra gives a platform to talented children and young people across Coventry and Warwickshire.

But it has now called on young musicians from across the West Midlands to sign up in an attempt to ‘sustain and further develop’ the orchestra.

It is a registered charity run by trustees with some financial support from the music hubs of Coventry and Warwickshire.

It says the vital funding from these hubs has been stripped.

Coventry City Council says the orchestra will be replaced with a new wider regional service in January next year.

Paul Leddington Wright, conductor of Coventry Cathedral Chorus, said: “As someone who has worked with and seen the orchestra in action since the 1970s I am saddened to learn of the decision to withdraw funding for the youth orchestra.

“The orchestra provides a wonderful opportunity for talented young musicians and is vital to the cultural life of Coventry and Warwickshire.”

The orchestra has struggled to recruit sufficient players to maintain a full symphony orchestra.

It has been supported by former members and students from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire but is now looking to recruit new players of all orchestral instruments in order to continue.

A Coventry council spokesperson said: “In January next year, a new regional orchestral pilot will start which will replace the current format of the Coventry and Warwickshire Youth Orchestra for the next academic year.

“The new regional offer will include more local tutors instead of external tutors and start with a weekly regional strings orchestra. “In Coventry music groups for all instruments will continue to develop.

“We hope this will provide opportunities for young people to enjoy wider musical experiences and we will offer full orchestra groups in the holidays allowing students to still have the orchestra experience.”

The orchestra says players at grade five and above are welcome.

Anyone who lives in Coventry, Warwickshire, Solihull and the surrounding areas can join.

For more information go to www.cwyo.org and email cwyorch@gmail.com to attend a rehearsal.

If you can support the orchestra directly through sponsorship, or with media and marketing, contact the trustees on cwyorch@gmail.com

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