Do you have an ear for music? An investigative streak? An interest in audio archives? Or, even better, all three?
We are looking for volunteers to help catalogue recordings of the Essex Youth Orchestra (EYO) and Colchester Youth Chamber Orchestra (CYCO) from the 1960s to the 2000s.
The recordings have recently been digitised as part of the ‘Essex Ensembles Assembled’ project, funded by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC).
The next step in the project is to make information about the recordings available on our catalogue, Essex Archives Online, and (rights-permitting) share some the recordings online.
Ideally, we’d like volunteers to listen to the recordings, identify the pieces performed, and write time-coded descriptions for our catalogue. For those less familiar – or a bit rusty! – with classical music, some of the concert programmes are available to help.
If you are interested, please get in touch with our Sound Archivist, Kate O’Neill.
We would especially love to hear from you if you were involved with the EYO or CYCO yourself. You can volunteer remotely or here in the Searchroom at the Essex Record Office, so you’ll be able to get involved whether you’re based in Essex or further afield.
About the Essex Youth Orchestra
The Essex Youth Orchestra (EYO) was founded in 1957 and continues to this day as Essex Music Services’ flagship ensemble. The EYO has consistently maintained an excellent reputation for the very high standard of its performances, in part down to its history of distinguished conductors, such as John Georgiadis.
There are over 50 recordings of EYO performances in the Essex Sound and Video Archive. They feature a range of composers, from Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach to those with a local connection such as Holst, Britten, and Gordon Jacob. The EYO regularly performed at local festivals and on tour, with concerts in the USA in 1972, Israel in 1976 and East Germany in 1982.
About Colchester Youth Chamber Orchestra
Colchester Youth Chamber Orchestra (CYCO) was founded in 1982 to provide talented local musicians an opportunity to play in an ambitious chamber orchestra. It also featured notable musicians, with trumpeter George Reynolds conducting from 1984. It closed in 2007.
The CYCO archive was deposited at the Essex Record Office in 2012. Alongside programmes, posters, and press clippings, the archive includes twenty recordings of CYCO performances, from concerts at the annual Colchester Rose Show to the first performance of Alan Bullard’s ‘Colchester Suite’.
The aim of the Essex Ensembles Assembled project
The project aims to preserve recordings of the Essex Youth Orchestra and Colchester Youth Chamber Orchestra and make them available for future generations to enjoy. It is funded by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC), a non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings.
As an aural record, the recordings provide a unique insight into the changing nature and repertoire of youth orchestras in Essex over the past fifty years, and give a platform to local musicians, conductors and composers.
They also capture music-making that is often lost to posterity, with performances by the Second Essex Youth Orchestra as well as the First, and the occasional wrong notes and coughs from the audience.
Nevertheless, as a whole the recordings reveal a high standard of performance, and demonstrate what young people can contribute to music in Essex and beyond.