Our first visiting group since Covid-19 brought tours to a halt ran from the 19th to 23rd July 2021, courtesy of the music tour agency Club Europe. The 80-strong group of talented young musicians from across Buckinghamshire performed as three distinct ensembles; the Buckinghamshire County Youth Orchestra (BCYO), the Buckinghamshire Youth Wind Ensemble (BYWE), and the Buckinghamshire County Youth Choir (BCYC). Their repertoire included a range of jazz, swing, contemporary and classical music, and the tour focussed on a range of open-air concerts enjoyed in glorious sunshine.
‘The young musicians in our County Groups have had a fantastic week of concerts and sun in Jersey. We’ve enjoyed great venues, lovely beaches and been wonderfully looked after by Jersey Academy of Music and the Hotel de Normandie. Many thanks from us all.’Paul Guenault, Director of Music, Buckinghamshire Music Trust
On Tuesday the group met early at Mont Orgueil Castle, setting up on the Middle Ward to perform al-fresco to the castle’s visitors. This was the first musical performance at the castle for many months, and the lucky visitors to the castle that day were given a musical treat. The performance started with the orchestra (pictured), and a particular highlight was their magnificent rendition of ‘633 Squadron’ by Ron Goodwin. The concert band then took to the stage with an exciting mixture of jazz standards and showstoppers. The choir completed the performance with some beautiful sacred and secular music, accompanied by piano.
The group then enjoyed a stroll along the beachfront promenade for dinner on the beach, before returning to the Hotel De Normandie, who were delighted to host a large group in the current climate.
‘It was a pleasure to host the Buckinghamshire Music Trust group, it was great for Jersey and for hospitality and we look forward to their next visit’Hotel de Normandie
A beach day at St Brelade’s Bay followed on the Wednesday, with Absolute Adventures taking the group to the water on their high-speed RIBs, and dolphins were spotted in the bay! The group returned to the hotel late afternoon and enjoyed some free time around the Havre des Pas area. In the evening, the second concert took place at Coronation Park, to a lucky audience of park goers. All three groups performed as the sun set, a wonderfully memorable concert.
The following day featured two performances, firstly at Liberation Square over lunchtime, in which the orchestra and concert band played to tourists and office workers enjoying their lunch in the sunshine. Following this, free time for the group to enjoy shopping in St Helier. After a pizza dinner, the group met for their final concert in Howard Davis Park, featuring all three of their ensembles and enjoyed by the public visiting the park that evening.
The group were grateful for the support of the Jersey Music Service for the use of their percussion equipment, and to Jersey Tourism and the Covid team for their assistance and support in enabling this tour to take place.
‘We were delighted that this tour was able to go ahead following the amendments to the island’s travel policy, and whilst we felt it prudent to respond to the current situation, cancelling all indoor performances and any collaboration with local young musicians, it was still hugely beneficial for the children involved and hopefully gave a small lift to morale around the island with wonderful live music filling the air.’Chris George, Residencies Coordinator, Jersey Academy of Music