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About Us

The Devon Youth Wind Orchestra (DYWO) is a symphonic wind orchestra for musicians aged between 12 and 21 years from all areas of Devon. DYWO is open to brass, wind and percussion players of intermediate and advanced ability.

 

Conducted by Steve Grant, we offer a unique opportunity for members to develop their overall musicianship and ensemble skills within a friendly and welcoming environment.

 

Membership includes 8-10 Gathering Days (rehearsals) a year with professional coaches, a residential weekend, various performance opportunities and the option to take part in biannual national and international tours. 

Gathering Days

Gathering Days are our regular rehearsals. We meet on Saturdays, around 8 times a year (roughly once a month excluding school holidays). We also have a residential weekend with specialist coaching staff attending a session. We meet at Exeter School or Bicton College from 10am - 4.30pm. There are regular breaks where you have the opportunity to socialise with other members and make plenty of new friends.

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 many more popular songs from stage and screen with some contemporary pieces too.

Everyone is very friendly and supportive, so please don’t feel shy about asking what to do and where to go. Steve (Musical Director and woodwind coach), Sam (Percussion coach) and Andy (Brass coach) along with Committee members are at each rehearsal to provide help and support if you need anything.

Other events

As a band member, there are plenty of opportunities to perform in a variety of venues throughout the year.

Christmas  concerts are always a favourite. Previous venues have included the Watermark in Ivybridge, and many others. The programme always includes some seasonal pieces along with our normal repertoire.

In the summer, we perform at the popular and prestigious County Show at Westpoint and also at the Dartmouth Music Festival and St Peters Church in Budleigh Salterton playing our favourite pieces to appreciative audiences.

With Steve's links to the HM Royal Marine Band Service, we have had invitations to spend a day in Portsmouth at the Royal Marine School of Music. These are fantastic and most informative and inspirational. We had a tour of the school, sectional workshops and also played alongside the whole Marine Training band.

Each year we also have residential weekend in February, to be held at Bicton College from 2022. During the weekend, the band members get involved in sectional workshops and tuition, whole band rehearsals, team building activities and outdoor activities. It's a great opportunity to make new friends and build on existing 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.

Tours

Every other year DYWO goes aims to organise a 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 organising our first Tour to France after Covid-19. This tour will be in June 2024. So now is an ideal time to join us to be part of this Tour.

The 16th September is our first gathering day at Exeter School, 10 - 4. Why not come along and see what we have to offer.

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