Royal patronage for youth orchestra

The Duchess of Cornwall
The Duchess of Cornwall
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IT HAS been announced that HRH the Duchess of Cornwall has been appointed Patron of The East Sussex Youth Orchestra (ESYO).

The youth orchestra, flagship ensemble of the East Sussex Music Service (ESMS), said it is ‘delighted’ that the Duchess (pictured right) has taken on the role as patron for a period of five years.

The announcement has been enthusiastically welcomed by East Sussex County Council, staff, students, and Friends of the Orchestra.

The Duchess of Cornwall has close links with East Sussex, having been raised in Plumpton.

She is also president of the De La Warr Pavilion, where the orchestra has given a concert each summer in recent years, and is well-known for her support of the performing arts.

The ESMS founded the orchestra in 1979, appointing Colin Metters as its first conductor.

Mr Metters, professor and head of conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London, has conducted and mentored successive generations of young Sussex musicians for more than 30 years.

The ESMS provides all school children with the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and dedicated staff encourage them to join ensembles and group playing on Saturday mornings.

Entry to the County Youth Orchestra is by audition. Several past members have subsequently embarked on professional musical careers although this is not the orchestra’s prime motivation.

Touring abroad is a part of the orchestra’s life and provides opportunities for the young people involved, but the Friends say the costs associated are increasingly beyond the means of individual players and their families.

They hope the Duchess’s patronage will help to raise awareness among local residents and businesses.

Councillor John Barnes, chairman of the East Sussex Music Service’s management committee, said: “I am delighted that the Duchess has agreed to become patron of the Youth Orchestra, which includes some of the finest musical talent in the country.

“I would like to warmly thank the Friends of the Orchestra who played a key role in approaching the Duchess, and who give so much ongoing support.”

l For information on ESYO visit the website at: www.esyo.org.uk.