Kinross Wolaroi School
Posted by Marissa Loh
Tuesday 16th April, 2013

Sing sing together, merrily merrily sing!
Sing sing together, merrily merrily sing!
Sing, sing! Sing! Sing!

And so were we welcomed by Richard Gill, the Musical Director of the 2013 Australian Youth Orchestra's Young Symphonists Programme. Though our singing was declared a “disaster”, the programme was off to a brilliant start.

After a four hour flight, a two hour time difference, four hours transit at Sydney Airport, and a slightly-more-than-four-hour drive to Orange and over twelve hours of travelling for a Perth-ite such as myself, we were more than ready and eager to begin nine days filled with rehearsals, chamber music, singing and fun. A plethora of friends was made, introductions took place, and for those of us not yet adjusted to the cold weather, heaters were turned on pretty quickly.

Tutti rehearsals started on the very first night, where the Symphony Orchestra sight-read our two pieces for this week: the first movement of Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 and Shostakovich’s Symphony No.9. Even the most tired among us were instantly inspired and excited by the wonderful teachings of Richard Gill; his enthusiasm for music is contagious. The result of the first read-through augured extremely well for the final performance; living and breathing music for one week with young musicians from all over Australia will drive each of us to practise, improve, succeed and perfect.

Our first full day began with a mystery to us participants, as the day started with “Instrumental Warm Ups”, which soon turned out to be a literal warm up – a walk around Kinross Wolaroi School, the lovely setting for Young Symphonists 2013, in the blazing sun with a newfound friend. What followed were tutorials, an incredibly useful 1.5 hours, which improved our playing by leaps and bounds. This certainly paid off after morning tea during our second tutti rehearsal. At this particular rehearsal, we were highly entertained by Richard Gill’s description of Haydn: “He is the dude of the dudes.”

The rest of the day was filled with rehearsals for the string orchestra, wind, brass and percussion ensembles, and an assortment of other chamber groups. After dinner came a highlight for many – the first AYO Sing-In with Richard Gill. What an experience – the sound made by the combined forces of all participants was phenomenal. We sang, we danced, we made new friends, we spoke German, French and Russian, we learnt a lot, but most of all, we had molto fun.

And that was the first two whirlwind days of Young Symphonists, building the excitement for what is to come!

- Marissa Loh, violin

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