Camberley Youth Wind Orchestra

Who are we?

Camberley Youth Wind Orchestra (CYWO) are a Surrey Arts ensemble based in Camberley, Surrey and we provide orchestral facilities for wind and percussion musicians who live in North West Surrey and the surrounding areas. The Orchestra operates as a partnership between Surrey Arts and Parents for the purpose of furthering the musical talents of young people between the ages of 8 and 18 attending schools and colleges within Surrey Heath and the surrounding areas.

We were originally formed in 1983 as The Surrey Heath Middle Schools Wind Band. Initially the Orchestra was run on an informal basis until 1986 when a group of parents became involved in raising funds to support the Orchestra. In January 2004 we entered into partnership with Surrey Arts Northwest to further the performing arts within Surrey. This agreement strengthened the Orchestra in many ways, including providing and maintaining a continuity in standard of Musical Directors and Tutors.

The Orchestra

There are three sections of the Orchestra; the junior section, the intermediate section and the senior section. Each section is led by a musical director and supported by two additional Surrey Arts tutors to ensure that each member of the orchestra is fully supported on their chosen instrument throughout their musical journey.

The junior section

Beginner to Grade 2. Saturday 9.30am until 12pm, Cordwalles Junior School, Camberley.

This is our early training ground with members starting as young as eight years old (or earlier if suitable)

To join this section, members do not have to pass any musical assessment or grade, although they will need to have started music lessons and should already know how to play at least five notes on their instrument. The emphasis here is very much on learning how to perform within a group and improving ability, ready for the transition to Intermediates.

This section is led by musical director, Gill Underwood-Hayes, and supported by music tutors Helen Owlett (Woodwind) John Overton (Percussion).

Apply for Camberley Youth Wind Orchestra Juniors

The intermediate section

Grade 2 to 5. Saturday 9.30am until 12pm, Cordwalles Junior School, Camberley.

This continues our training forum but prospective members may be accepted directly into this section through audition.

Age has no real bearing on the selection process; the selection to this Section is purely by musical ability and experience of playing within an orchestral environment. Performance standard is grade 2 and above.

The Intermediate Section is led by musical director, Samantha Hadingham and is supported by two music tutors, Felix Rockhill (Brass) and Joel Manning (Percussion).

Apply for Camberley Youth Wind Orchestra Intermediates

The senior section

Grade 5+. Saturday 9.30am until 12pm, Cordwalles Junior School, Camberley.

This section takes members through to the time they leave to move on to further education and work.

It is usual for members to be promoted to this Section from the Intermediate Section. However, in certain circumstances, members may be recruited directly into the Senior Section.

Performance standard here is grade 5 and above. The Senior Section is led by Musical Director Dwight Pile-Gray and supported by Marc Hermans (Percussion) and Anna Wilkins (Woodwind).

Apply for Camberley Youth Wind Orchestra Seniors

Join us

We are always happy to accept new joiners to all of our sections depending on ability and experience.

We run an open rehearsal on the second rehearsal of each term, please look out for information about these from Surrey Arts. The open rehearsals give an opportunity for those who are already learning an instrument to try out at the orchestra with a free trial before hopefully signing up for membership.

We do welcome new members at any time of the year, please email if your child is interested in joining us.

Further information about joining CYWO

Advice for new starters

The first rehearsal may seem a bit daunting, but don't worry - your child will be one of many also starting off on their musical journey. Remember to bring:

  • Instrument
  • Music Stand
  • Pencil
  • Drink
  • Snack for break time

We do not encourage parents and guardians to stay as we have found that children settle better if left. We have a dedicated team in the Juniors to help new starters and will look after your child and facilitate making new friends. We have found that it doesn't take long for relationships to form.


Please be at rehearsal by 9.15am so that we can start promptly at 9.30am.

If a child is not going to be able to make a rehearsal, then please give as much notice as possible by leaving a message on the Cordwalles phone: 07977 457815

If a child falls ill during rehearsal, they will be taken care of by one of our Surrey Arts trained first-aiders. The parents and guardians will be phoned and, if necessary, asked to collect the child.


One of the highlights for all those involved in the Orchestra is watching them play in front of the public, looking smart and sounding brilliant! It is therefore important that all children adhere to the dress code. Each child will be provided with a polo shirt in the colour of their section. We ask parents to provide the rest of the uniform which includes smart black trousers (not jeans), black socks and black shoes (not trainers).

Music scores

Your child will be provided with the music scores for the pieces she or he will be playing. These need to be looked after carefully as they are expensive to obtain. If a piece is lost then we will replace it, but this will incur a charge of £5.

CYWO volunteers

We have a large team of volunteer helpers drawn mostly from our member's parents and guardians. This team is essential to the smooth running of the Orchestra and provides assistance in the following roles:

  • Logistics: the percussion equipment needs moving at every rehearsal and for every playout
  • Librarians: responsible for managing the vast collection of musical pieces in the orchestra's repertoire
  • Register: recording the ins and outs of over 100 members each rehearsal
  • Uniform: ensuring that each member of the orchestra is provided with uniform
  • Raffle: preparing raffle prizes for our concerts

As members move on to other things, so too do our helpers and there is always a need for more people to volunteer. If you would like to help out then please contact us. It is a great way to feel part of the Orchestra and help out within a friendly group of like-minded people! Our volunteers are a vital part of the Orchestra and cherish being able to help with their child's hobby and ambitions.

CYWO Friends Committee

The Friends Committee meets once a term and is comprised of our CYWO volunteers and parents of orchestra members. The meetings review financial reports from our treasurer, previous executive meetings, past events, and plan the logistics for any upcoming events during the term. It reviews other matters that may be of interest to the Orchestra and the procedures we have in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of orchestra members.

The Friends role in organising fund raising activities for the Orchestra, such as concerts and play-out and enables essential purchases to be made for the Orchestra with money raised from fundraising.

Cost and payment

The cost of membership is £81 per term (2023 to 2024). The cost also entitles members to take part in other area ensembles at no extra cost.

The rehearsal schedule includes twelve rehearsals in the autumn term, ten in the spring term and eleven in the summer term. The total number of rehearsals in the Orchestra year is therefore 33.

The term fee also covers concerts and other performances throughout the year. The term fee is reviewed annually by Surrey Arts, usually at the beginning of the autumn term, and parents are invoiced for direct payment to Surrey Arts.

Parking at Cordwalles School

There is plenty of parking available in the car park to the left as you drive in. Please do not park in the right car park and take care as there will be people walking about.

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