On Saturday 22 February 2014, former members of the Suffolk Youth Orchestra will reunite for a special weekend of rehearsals at Northgate Arts Centre in Ipswich.
After months of planning and organisation what does the prospect feel like for an organiser and someone taking part. Organiser Richard Morris answers some questions. I’ve shared some dark secrets about the weekend in a separate post here.
How have you gone about finding people? What’s been the most exciting people-related discovery?
Most people have appeared through invitation to the Facebook group by its members. Otherwise I’ve spent many hours scouring Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and even the GMC. Blokes are easiest to find as they still have the same names. Some people are very well connected too – Tom Livermore and Michelle Parry seem to know absolutely everyone! I started by trying to find people with the more unusual names first.
I’d have to say the most exciting discoveries are the friends I knew best from 1990-93 who I haven’t heard from for 20 years. It would be a lie to say I didn’t dedicate lots of time trying to finding them! But, it’s been wonderful to see other people re-making friends they haven’t seen for ages and it’s a lovely reminder to me of the reasons I took this project on in the first place. There have been some disappointments along the way; people who can’t make that weekend and also some really talented people who have stopped playing.
What’s been keeping you awake at night?
At the last count I’ve had four nightmares about it! The best one was when I’d forgotten to tell everyone it was happening in February until two hours beforehand and Philip and I were sitting in the hall wondering where everyone was! The waiting game is no fun – sending an email to someone out of the blue and waiting for the answer. But my biggest concerns have been filling the gaps in the orchestra to making the event worthwhile for everyone.
What additional plans are in place? I hear there’s a party being planned.
Best ask William about that one!
Any other stuff you want to mention, Richard?
“Without a doubt, this event is something special. Our early music education and culminating in SYO obviously had a great effect on our lives for it to motivate so many people to get together after so many years. People will have travelled from as far as Greece, Switzerland and Jersey to be there.
It’s been an incredibly absorbing experience for me, demanded far more time than I originally expected and been quite stressful at times too. I believe it will be worth it. I said in the early stages that if just one person picks up a dusty instrument and starts playing again then I’ll be a happy man – I know that’s already happened too.
The Suffolk Youth Orchestra reunites at Northgate Arts Centre on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 February 2014. Places for most sections of the orchestra are available, in particular wind and brass are still available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to take part.
The final public play-through starts at 1.00pm on Sunday 23 February. Admission is free.