Sydney Youth Orchestras’ (SYO) John Ockwell needs to stand back when he opens the door of musical experience to youth in Dubbo and district.
The conductor of the SYO’s Peter Seymour Orchestra tells of them rising to the challenge of playing quality music with metropolitan peers.
“If I open the door a little bit, they kick the door open,” he said on Friday morning at Dubbo Christian School.
Dubbo is the Central West hub of the SYO, founded as a single orchestra in 1973 by music educator and conductor Peter Seymour.
In 2018 it boasts 12 ensembles and more than 550 musician aged from six to 24 years.
Almost 100 of them have come to Dubbo as part of a tour by the Peter Seymour Orchestra and SYO’s Symphonic Wind Orchestra.
Five Central West musicians are experiencing “life on tour” with the visitors.
They are James Pegg from Mudgee, Brock Johnston from Gilgandra, Simeon Kelly from Trundle, and Antonella and Isabella Mcfadyen from Trewilga.
The tour from June 1 to 3 takes in Dubbo, Gilgandra, Forbes, Mudgee and Orange.
In Dubbo on Saturday about 50 young musicians from the region will join the touring orchestras for workshops followed by a “full-scale performance” at Dubbo Christian School from 7pm.
Dubbo students were invited to the school’s hall on Friday morning to hear the Peter Seymour Orchestra.
Mr Ockwell, a secondary school music teacher who played in SYO’s first orchestra when a teenager, observes the “wonderful team spirit” of the SYO musicians and their country contemporaries.
“It’s the greatest team sport because they have to listen to each other and look up and react to me,” he said.
The Central West hub aims to boost orchestral experiences and training for young musicians by removing “geographical and financial” barriers.
Mr Ockwell, a former professional double bass player in musical theatre, said not all SYO musicians would pursue a career in music but they would have “skills for life”.