AYO Blog

AYO National Music Camp 2024: Blog 1
By Caitlin Annesley

An orchestra rehearses in Elder Hall, Universi

‘Oh, you’re a musician? You must be so talented!’

The young players of the AYO National Music Camp hear this phrase often. After all, a great orchestral performance looks easy. But it turns out that there’s no magic involved. Whatever talent these young players started with was just the beginning.

They work hard.

Really hard, in fact. They’ve all practiced for years to get here. And now, they’re going to work even harder. For the next two weeks, they’ll rehearse stringently. All for the chance to share their passion for music in dazzling public concerts.

The young musicians appear shy and excited in their first rehearsals. For many, it’s their first time at camp. There are smiles and jokes as the participants ease into meeting their fellow players, conductors, and tutors. The Brislan Chamber Orchestra waltzes through Suk’s Serenade for Strings: violinist Sophie Rowell is a dynamic leader and the Brislan musicians adjust quickly to the challenge of working without a conductor.

A few blocks away, the Bishop Orchestra keeps things classic with Beethoven’s Symphony No.7. The heat can be felt, literally, in the stifling Madeley Room: as sweat pours down faces, conductor Toby Thatcher draws a fearless interpretation from the young musicians.

Elder Hall becomes an Olympic stadium as the Alexander Orchestra charges after the blistering speeds set by Ariel Zuckermann’s baton. They’re rehearsing Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody No.1, a work packed with hair-raising instrumental stunts. The tutors watch nervously as the fresh-faced violin sections blaze through Enescu’s daredevil writing.

The first day of NMC in a few words? Grit. Excitement. Passion. And so much promise. It’s clear that the results of these young artists’ work will be spectacular.

Supersonic? Yes.

Sensational? Yes.

Should you come on Saturday? Yes.