All young musicians who play in one of our National age-banded Orchestras are also offered membership of a Regional Orchestra. This allows NCO members to meet up each month in between courses and rehearse great repertoire with other NCO members in their area.
All age groups combine to play together at Regionals. The age mix is great for older musicians, who get the chance to extend their skills by supporting the younger players, and a real encouragement and inspiration to younger players, who learn from the more advance players they sit with.
Our daughter lives and breathes NCO. She attended the Regional Orchestra rehearsals before her residential course in the summer. The Regionals helped her in making friends with other young people who are just like her - something that can be difficult at school where peers don't always understand!
There are currently six NCO Regional Orchestras – two in London, and one each in the south west, south east, east and north of England. These vibrant orchestras form a separate activity stream from the National Orchestras, rehearsing monthly throughout the year (taking a break when the residential courses take place) with an end of season concert in November. NCO also offers Associate Membership of Regional Orchestras to young musicians who play at the required standard at audition but for whom no place is available in the national orchestras. This allows NCO to support the musical development of typically an additional 90 to 140 children each year, a number of whom progress to audition successfully in the following year.
Regional Orchestras are only open to members of an NCO age-banded Orchestra or associate members. Everyone who wants to join a Regional Orchestra must register in advance. Music is available to download for practise once rehearsals have started.
Although optional, we highly recommend that NCO members join a Regional Orchestra. It is a chance for new members to meet others who will be going on the residential courses, which can help alleviate any anxiety about not knowing anyone. It is also an opportunity for younger members to see what they can aspire to, and for older members to get a first taste of mentoring and supporting young musicians.
NCO Regionals are great fun and have a real community feel – we are delighted for parents to get involved in helping to organise registration and refreshments. Please contact us if you are able to help.