What is the future for Warwickshire’s county youth orchestra?

PARENTS of children in the Warwickshire Youth Orchestra believe the county council is on the point of destroying the highest-level of music making in the area.

Sarah Bourne, chairwoman of the parents’ association which raises extra money for eight performance groups, said: “From what we understand the Youth Orchestra is to be divided up with just the string section rehearsing each week in Kenilworth and the wind, brass and percussion sections being asked to join the Warwickshire Wind Band.

“It seems to us that the county council is disintegrating this fine symphony orchestra at the highest pinnacle of its achievement.

“The young players have just returned from a tour of Belgium and last month won special mention for the excellence of their performance at Birmingham Symphony Hall.”

Mrs Bourne, who has transported three children to Kenilworth from her home in Shipston-on-Stour, believes even if the orchestra continues to comes together for special occasions it will not be the same without a permanent conductor.

She said: “Many players hope to one day join professional orchestras.”

Nigel French, the association’s treasurer, who lives in Leamington, and whose two daughters play cello and violin, said: “To build an orchestra like this represents a huge team effort.

“I am so disappointed that from the start there did not seem to be the will to preserve the orchestra in its current form.

“There was no meaningful dialogue through the decision-making process to consider how the current orchestra could be kept going for less money. I believe this could have been possible.”

A spokesman for the county music service said: “We are committed to offering participation opportunities and we have no intention of discontinuing the County Youth Orchestra or any other county group. We are however reviewing how the groups operate to ensure we offer the best value for money.”