Beth hits the right notes to win a place in national orchestra

A TALENTED Ripon Grammar School tuba player hit the right notes to win a place in the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain.

Hundreds of accomplished young musicians aged 14 and under from all over the UK attend highly competitive auditions each year, with the best selected to join the national orchestra where they get the opportunity to be coached and play alongside top professional orchestral musicians.

Year 7 student Beth impressed adjudicators when she played two contrasting pieces, one fast and one slow, and had to wait more than six months to discover, to her delight, that she had been accepted.

The 11-year-old, from Summerbridge, has only been playing the tuba for about a year, having previously played the euphonium from the age of eight.

The Ripon Cathedral chorister will now be attending two residential courses in Dorset, where all the NCO members come together to practise for a showcase performance.

Coming from a musical family, her father, she says, is her biggest inspiration: “My Dad plays cornet in the same brass band as me. I wanted to join so I could play in the band too. I expected to come home with a cornet, but the band conductor suggested I would be better suited to an instrument with a bigger mouthpiece. He was right and I love blasting out the bass line on my tuba!

“Then, when the first lockdown hit, my Dad taught me euphonium and then tuba from scratch. In fact, I only started official instrument lessons with my brass teacher and piano teacher this September, so I credit my Dad as my biggest inspiration so far.”

At RGS she plays in the brass ensemble, wind band and the Musicality choir and she’s also a member of the Summerbridge and Dacre Silver Band.

‘Playing music is a fantastic skill that opens up lots of exciting opportunities,” she says. “I have had a chance to play and sing some of the greatest music ever written, and made some fantastic friends along the way.”

Having taken her Grade 5 euphonium exam a year ago, she’s now working towards her Grade 6 and 7 in tuba, having transitioned to the instrument following her exam. She also plays the piano, currently working on Grade 5, and takes her Grade 4 singing exam next term.

Her proudest achievement, she says, was singing For I Will Consider my Cat Jeoffry as a guest soloist in Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb with her mother’s choir, Vocalis.

“As a chorister, I have performed in some really big and exciting services in Ripon Cathedral and with my brass band, I have performed at Ripon Races, the Nidderdale Show and the Kilnsey Show which were lots of fun.