Calling young musicians of 
the Borders

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Young people from schools across the Borders are being encouraged to get musical when they return after the summer break.

The music service at Scottish Borders Council (SBC) offers pupils the chance to learn a variety of instruments and become part of a number of ensembles, including the junior string orchestra, junior wind band and the Borders Youth Orchestra.

Senior instructor Simon Johnson said: “Over the past 30 years these orchestras, bands and music ensembles have become a vital part of the musical landscape of the area, with generations of musicians and their parents able to look back on their involvement with pride and affection.

“The youngest of these musicians will often start off with the junior string orchestra or the junior wind band. Many will move on to the Borders Youth Orchestra, a full symphony orchestra currently under the baton of Derek Calder. Events they get to participate in include the concert that took place in November last year when the Borders Youth Orchestra, junior string orchestra and junior wind band performed a varied programme of pieces to a packed and appreciative audience.

“Also worth mentioning is Band Camp, where the Scottish Borders Chamber Orchestra, wind orchestra and= guitar ensemble meet up at the Broomlee Centre near West Linton. This year the groups presented their annual concert in Melrose Parish Church. They have also played at the Edinburgh Festival, Royal Highland Show and undertaken several foreign tours.”

The orchestras are funded by the council, but also receive financial support from Borders Young Musicians (BYM), a PTA formed back in 1986. As well as helping out at concerts, BYM holds an annual coffee morning and fundraiser. Money raised has helped to buy percussion instruments and music, fund advertising costs and transport and support foreign tours, as well as providing grants for individual pupils attending national music courses.

To find out how to get involved, contact Simon Johnson at: music@scotborders.gov.uk or on 01835 825097.