County ensembles

County ensembles offer advanced (Grade 6+) players, singers and performers the opportunity to develop their existing talents to a higher level and learn from experienced conductors and tutors.

Membership of county ensembles requires dedication and hard work, while offering you the chance represent the county and tackle exciting and challenging repertoires with other talented musicians. As a member of a county ensemble you will also be able to perform and tour iconic venues throughout Surrey and the UK, such as The Barbican, Royal Albert Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Royal Festival Hall.

Many of our members go on to study music at college or university, become professional musicians and audition successfully for national orchestras.

The majority of membership to ensembles is open to children and young people up to the age of 19.

Our ensembles start in September each year and run term time only, although you can become a member anytime during the school year. They rehearse once a week and perform a number of times each year in schools and professional venues.

Before applying please read our ensemble membership information. If you require more information, please contact Surrey Arts.

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Surrey County Youth Orchestra

Surrey County Youth Orchestra (SCYO), is a full symphony orchestra comprising around 85 instrumentalists from all parts of Surrey. It performs a varied repertoire from the eighteenth to twenty first century.

The orchestra aims to give at least one concert each term, performing regularly at: The Harlequin in Redhill, Dorking Halls, Farnham Maltings and HG Wells in Woking, as well as the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall and The Barbican.

For the latest concert information go to the events page. (link to music hub)

The orchestra rehearses each Friday evening during term time at Westfield School, Woking, from 6.45pm to 9pm. It is tutored by a team of professional musicians.

How to apply to become a member

You can apply online to become a member:

Apply for membership online

The cost of membership is £90 per term (2020-2021).

The above cost also entitles members to take part in other county and area ensembles at no extra cost.

  • Membership is open to string, woodwind, brass and percussion players up to the age of 21.
  • Players should be of approximately Grade 7 standard or above, but there is no need to have taken an exam.
  • Admission to the orchestra is by audition.

Surrey County Youth Wind Orchestra

Surrey County Youth Wind Orchestra is a full symphonic wind orchestra with over 50 talented young woodwind, brass and percussion players from all parts of Surrey. The orchestra performs a wide variety of music, ranging from original wind orchestra works, including commissions from composers such as Stephen Dodgson, Michael Ball and Nigel Hess, to lighter film and seasonal music.

The orchestra gives one or two concerts each term and has performed at concert venues throughout Surrey including: G Live, Epsom Playhouse, Farnham Maltings, and Dorking Halls and at major London venues such as: The Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall and the Barbican. Tickets are available by contacting Surrey Arts or on the door.

The orchestra rehearses each Friday evening during term time at George Abbot School, Burpham near Guildford, from 6.45pm - 9pm.

How to apply to become a member

You can apply online to become a member:

Apply for membership online

The cost of membership is £90 per term (2020-2021).

The above cost also entitles members to take part in other county and area ensembles at no extra cost.


Surrey County Youth Jazz Orchestra

Surrey County Youth Jazz Orchestra was formed over twenty five years ago and along with the Surrey County Youth and Wind Orchestras, it is one of the flagship orchestral ensembles organised by Surrey's award winning arts service. The orchestra plays music from the 'Swing Era' through to modern jazz/rock pieces.

It has performed in venues all over the county in schools, theatres, jazz clubs and concert halls. It has also appeared at the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican and on the South Bank.

The orchestra rehearses each Wednesday evening during term time, at Westfield School, Woking, from 6.45pm - 9pm.

How to apply to become a member

You can apply online to become a member:

Apply for membership online

The cost of membership is £90 per term (2020-2021).

The above cost also entitles members to take part in other county and area ensembles at no extra cost.

  • Membership is open to players aged between 13 and 21, who play alto, tenor and baritone saxophone; trumpet; tenor and bass trombone; piano; electric guitar; double bass/bass guitar; drum kit and percussion
  • You will need to read music fluently. If you are a pianist, guitarist or bassist, some knowledge of chord symbols will be required.
  • All members will be encouraged to learn to improvise and 'speak the language of jazz'.
  • If you have already studied how to play jazz solos you will be at an advantage; however, players who have no experience of improvisation will be welcomed.
  • If you are studying the new Guildhall and Associated Board Jazz grade exams, the Band will offer an ideal opportunity for you to develop your playing with others who are also enthusiastic about jazz music.
  • You will then be invited for an audition when you will be expected to play two contrasting pieces, a few scales and some sight reading. Auditions take place throughout the year.

Surrey Youth Choir and Surrey Youth Chamber Choir

Surrey Youth Choir (SYC) is one of the leading youth choirs in the country. It is a full SATB (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) choir comprising of singers between the ages of 12 and 21 from all parts of Surrey. The SYC perform an eclectic repertoire, both sacred and secular, ranging from early to contemporary, from baroque to romantic, including the major 'standard' choral works of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert etc. They also commission pieces for specific performances.

The Choir usually gives one or two concerts each term; they have performed in major concert halls in both Surrey and London, and have also toured extensively throughout Europe and the USA. Workshops and biannual overseas tours form an important integral part of their activities.

The orchestra rehearses each Wednesday evening during term time at The Marist School, West Byfleet, from 6.45pm - 8.15pm.

SYC is open to all, no audition is required and the first term free to new members.

If you are a member of the Surrey Youth Choir and would like an additional challenge you can also audition and apply to become a member of the Surrey Youth Chamber Choir, there is no extra cost. The choir each Wednesday evening at the Marist School, West Byfleet, form 8.15pm - 9.15pm.

How to apply to become a member

You can apply online to become a member:

Apply for membership online

The cost of membership is £90 per term (2020-2021).

The above cost also entitles members to take part in other county and area ensembles at no extra cost.

Supporter Choirs

The Surrey Youth Choir Supporter Choir scheme is a new way for adult choral societies in Surrey to affiliate themselves with the Surrey Youth Choir and Training Choirs in order to keep the culture of SATB choral singing alive and well in Surrey for years to come.


Surrey County Youth Percussion Ensemble

Surrey County Percussion Ensemble (SCPE) repertoire is varied ranging from jazz to samba, to TV and film themes, performing on a wide range of instruments from congas to marimbas, djembes to xylophones.

SCPE has performed in music festivals such as the Farnham Festival and Guildhall Percussion Ensemble Day, and have performed at concert halls and even outdoor centres.

The ensemble rehearses each Saturday during term time at Westfield School, Woking, from 9am - 11am.

How to apply to become a member

You can apply online to become a member:

Apply for membership online

The cost of membership is £90 per term (2020-2021).

The above cost also entitles members to take part in other county and area ensembles at no extra cost.


Surrey Advanced Brass Ensemble

The Surrey Advanced Brass Ensemble (SABE) is a symphonic brass ensemble comprising musicians from all over the Surrey area. The ensemble gives those players the chance to not only explore the music written for different types of brass groups, but also to get to use some of the related brass instruments that are not called for in orchestras, wind orchestras or jazz bands, such as cornets, flugel horns and even the sousaphone.

They play a wide variety of music from renaissance brass music, through to contemporary music styles and traditional brass band repertoire. Unlike many ensembles, the repertoire performed is often suggested by the members who may have played it elsewhere, heard another group perform it, or even found it on YouTube.

SABE perform all over Surrey and beyond, including Guildford Cathedral, G-Live and the Royal Albert Hall.

The ensemble rehearses every other Sunday during term time at Westfield School, Woking, from 2pm - 5pm.

How to apply to become a member

You can apply online to become a member:

Apply for membership online

The cost of membership is £40 per term (2020-2021).

The above cost also entitles members to take part in other county and area ensembles at no extra cost.

Membership is open to all brass players of approximately Grade 6 standard, preferably with a love of sight-reading. There is no need to have taken an examination.


UP! Orchestra and Infinity Orchestra

Supported by Arts Council England, Surrey County Council, Waverly Borough Council, Guildford Borough Council and Mole Valley District Council. and delivered by Surrey Arts in partnership with Rhythmix, Surrey Children's Rights Service and Surrey Youth Support Service

  • Making new music in a supportive, safe and creative environment
  • Learning to play a new instrument, sing or build on existing skills
  • Making new friends
  • Having lots of fun
  • Performing at high profile events

UP! Orchestra is an ensemble designed to be accessible for young people aged 13+ with special educational needs whilst Infinity Orchestra is for young people of all backgrounds and abilities and we have come together to be part of the 'No Sound Ever Dies' project.

We are particularly interested in welcoming young people who have been unable to access music education because of their life circumstances and lack of suitable opportunities on offer locally. Whilst there are no specific entry requirements and no audition process, we do not think it is suitable for young people who are unaware of their surroundings or unable to engage with the music making process. Please contact Surrey Arts for further information.

Sessions

Between 10am - 10.50am, UP! Music Centre provides an opportunity for participants to book 25 minutes, one to one/small group lessons. Instruments on offer include electric guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drums, percussion, brass instruments, western classical stringed instruments, Arabic Oud and Arabic Darbouka. Places will be offered on a 'first come, first served' basis.


Between 11am - 1pm, UP! Orchestra is led by an awesome team of professional musicians whose aim is to ensure each participant has a meaningful musical experience regardless of ability, musical interest, vocal style or instrument.

The team is experienced in supporting young people in mainstream settings as well as those who have mental health, disability, behavioural, ESL (English as a second language) needs and young people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. Music made at the rehearsals is created by the participants under the guidance of a musical director and the music support team on the ground.

How to book on a session

To book your child's place please contact Surrey Arts.