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50th Anniversary

1965 - 2015

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The Finale on the 50th Anniversary night - nearly 200 former members take to the stage!

Southampton Youth Orchestra is the most senior of the pyramid of five youth orchestras within the city. Formed 50 years ago in 1965, the SYO has become one of the foremost youth orchestras in the country, regularly reaching the finals of the National Festival of Music for Youth.

For the 50th Anniversary Concert on 4 July 2015 in the O2Guildhall, the Friends of Southampton Youth Orchestra (Reg Charity No 283789) gathered together nearly 200 former members to perform in two Alumni Orchestras along with the current Southampton Youth Orchestra. The concert featured former director Keith Smith who conducted the orchestra between 1978 and 2003, and the present conductor Jane Higgins who took over in 2004.

The concert was compèred by Emma Vardy (of BBC South Today – and former SYO member).

There was an exhibition of memorabilia from 50 years of orchestral concerts and tours. It was a great chance for former members and their families to share memories and stories and catch up with people that they had not seen for years.

Former members are welcome to get in touch using the Contact Us form on this site.

With nearly 70 young people aged between 13 and 18 years playing regularly, rehearsals at Richard Taunton Sixth Form College are an important weekly event for SYO members. Some of the students go on to study music at University and the Conservatoires, while others become doctors, lawyers, teachers and scientists or in some other professional role, many continuing to play for pleasure.

The orchestra performs several concerts each year and tours regularly, travelling to Hungary in 2004, Poland in 2006, the Island of Ischia at the estate of Lady Walton in 2007, Austria in 2008, Belgium in 2009, Barcelona in 2010, Alsace in 2012 and the Czech Republic in 2014. At the end of July this year (2015) the orchestra is going to Germany to give four concerts in the Heidelberg region and in the Black Forest.