The Devon Youth Wind Orchestra (DYWO) is a symphonic wind orchestra for students aged between 12 and 21 years from all areas of Devon. DYWO is open to brass, wind and percussion musicians of intermediate and advanced ability (around Grade 4+).
Conducted by Steve Grant, we offer a unique opportunity for members to develop their musical education and experience within a friendly and welcoming environment.
Membership includes 8-10 Gathering Days (rehearsals) a year, a residential weekend, and the option to take part in biannual national and international tours.
Gathering Days are our regular rehearsals. We meet on Saturdays, around 8 times a year (roughly once a month excluding school holidays). As of September 2019, we meet at Bicton College from 10am - 4pm. There are regular breaks for a drink and there is a lunch break (bring your own) where you have the opportunity to socialise with other members and make plenty of new friends.
All band members are expected to help set up the chairs, stands and help with percussion set up before each rehearsal, and help pack everything away at the end. You may not know what to do, but please ask and one of the senior band members will point you in the right direction. With everyone helping, it gets done quickly and gives us the maximum available time to play some music!
At our gathering days we rehearse a variety of different music, ranging in difficulty and style. Some pieces we play for fun while others we may rehearse more intensively, ready for our next concert. Past pieces we have played include The Greatest Showman, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, and selections from Grease. This year we are looking to play some Queen songs, the Doctor Who theme and the second suite in F.
Everyone is very friendly and supportive, so please don’t feel shy about asking what to do and where to go. Steve and Alfie are the Director and Assistant Director of Music, and we also have Committee members at each rehearsal to provide help and support if you need anything.
As a band member, there are plenty of opportunities to perform at a high standard in a variety of venues throughout the year.
Last Christmas, we held our Christmas concert at the Watermark in Ivybridge. The programme included our favourite repertoires as well as Christmas Carols and sing a longs.
In the summer, we perform at the popular and prestigious County Show at Westpoint and also at the Dartmouth Music Festival, playing our favourite pieces to appreciative audiences.
With Steve's links to the HM Royal Marine Band Service, last year DYWO were invited to spend a day in Portsmouth at the Royal Marine School of Music. This was a fantastic and most informative and inspirational day, which included a tour of the school, sectional workshops and also playing alongside the whole Marine Training band.
Each year we also go away on a residential weekend in January, currently held at Heatree Activity Centre at Manaton. During the weekend, the band members get involved in sectional workshops and tuition, whole band rehearsals, team building activities and games, an outdoor activity such as archery, great food and making new friendships. The music playing over this intensive weekend always greatly improves the band members individual music skills as well as being part of a highly motivated and talented band. The weekend culminates in a fantastic concert for parents.
Every other year DYWO goes on tour. Previous tours have included Belgium, Spain, Italy. In April 2019 we went to Saxony, Germany. We were fortunate to be able to perform three concerts while we were there, in a church, a pavilion, and a bandstand. The orchestra played very well and our audiences were very appreciative.
During our visit we also had the opportunity to tour a violin factory, a ski jump, Colditz Castle, the Bach museum and St. Nicholas church.
Needless to say, everyone was exhausted by the end, but we got to know each other better and had a lot of fun.
We are currently discussing our options for 2022.