Youth Orchestras find a sponsor - but are still searching for a new name
The Wiltshire Music Centre (WMC) has found a sponsor for what used to be known as the Wiltshire and Swindon Youth Orchestra and for its sister group, the Wiltshire Youth Jazz Orchestra.
Starting in 2016, the Bath-based commercial property company HPH Ltd will be the two orchestras' principal sponsor for three years.
The WMC in Bradford on Avon took over the management of the two youth orchestras in September when Wiltshire Council stopped funding them as their music service was cut as part of its austerity programme.
While the centre was pleased to be able to step in and save the orchestras, it did leave them with a financial risk, which is now largely mitigated.
In a statement the Centre explained the importance of this sponsorship: "With the increasing pressure on public funding for musical and other artistic activities, it is increasingly important that private companies like HPH Ltd are able to come forward and help us secure the future of these orchestras."
The two orchestras used to draw their young players from Wiltshire and Swindon, now Bath and North East Somerset, which has not had its own youth orchestras, has joined in.
The orchestras are now supported financially by Wiltshire Music Connect (funded by the Arts Council), the Swindon Music Hub and the Bath and North East Somerset music service.
Lindsay Holdoway, managing director of HPH Ltd, said the company is delighted to become the orchestras' principal sponsor: "We believe that the chance to make music with a large group of like-minded young people is incredible important in developing creative, full rounded young adults."
Finding the principal sponsor has set the orchestra on a secure financial path, the next move in their lives without Wiltshire Council funding is to find a new name. And that may not be so easy.
Members of the orchestras are being asked to put forward their ideas. But deciding on an easily identifiable name for what is now more of a regional youth orchestra may prove very tricky. And the new name will have to be flexible enough to allow for the possible further expansion of the area from which young people can audition to become members.
The Youth Orchestra was founded in 1964 and meets three times a year during school holidays to rehearse and perform major symphonic works. It has performed in many European cities and toured to China and Hong Kong, and most recently, to Germany.
The Orchestra’s professional conductor, Tim Redmond, is very pleased with the sponsorship agreement: “I'm really looking forward to working with Wiltshire Music Centre and James Slater [its Artistic Director] to further and expand the work of the Orchestra, and I think this is a very positive development which will present exciting new opportunities for us all.”
Views echoed by Mike Daniels, Director of the Wiltshire Youth Jazz Orchestra: “This support will be vital in helping us to continue to offer really high quality opportunities for young people interested in music.”
The Youth Orchestra's next concerts are on January 1 and 2 at the Wiltshire Music Centre.
The next concert by the Wiltshire Youth Jazz Orchestra with soloist Dennis Rollins is on February 28 at the WMC - Dennis Rollins is the Centre's Artist in Residence.