About Us

The South Cotswold Youth Orchestra

Run by the Thornbury Area Music Trust, The South Cotswold Youth Orchestra (SYCO) was founded in 2012 to meet the needs of South Gloucestershire's advanced young musicians who were looking to play symphonic repertoire coached by professional musicians. Since then, the group has performed several successful concerts including symphonies by Beethoven and Mozart, concertos accompanying young soloists, has enabled young composers in the area to have their pieces workshopped and performed. The group has also had a visit from a former student to talk about his experiences of applying to music college, and the demands of studying music in two of the country's leading music colleges, and has been given a 'backstage' interview with a professional soloist whilst watching their concert at St George's in Bristol.

The group is for players who have reached at least Grade 5 standard on an orchestral instrument. Many of the players are working towards their GCSE's or A-levels, and courses take place in a 3-week period before or after half-term so as not to intefere with school work and other commitments. Entry is by audition, and players can either come along to one of our playing days and audition there, or they can audition via email (a short 1 or 2 minute audio clip recorded on a laptop or phone can be emailed to info@scyo.co.uk).

If you have any questions, you can email us at info@scyo.co.uk, or have answered some FAQs below:

What standard do I have to be to audition?
Many of our players at grade 8 or above, but we ask new members to be at least grade 5 standard. If you can't audition in person, you can send a short audio clip recorded on a phone or laptop to info@scyo.co.uk

When and where are the courses?
We hold at least three courses per year, one in each term (Autumn / Spring / Summer). The usual format is rehearsals over 3 consecutive weeks (Wed, Fri, Wed, Fri, Wed, Friday Concert), between 7pm and 9pm at St Helen's Church Alveston, just off the A38 in Thornbury.

Do I need to be in school in South Gloucestershire?
No. Many of our players are drawn from LEA and Private schools across South Gloucestershire, such as Thornbury, Yate, Little Stoke, Hanham, Downend, Chipping Sodbury. However, a growing number of our players are from the Southern area of Gloucestershire, such as Stroud, and some of our players are from Bristol. We do not put a geographical limit on who can play with SCYO.

What happens if too many people apply on one instrument?
Wherever possible, everyone will get to play in every concert. There may be sections where players are doubling, or you may be asked to play in certain pieces. However, the aim is that everyone will play in every concert.

Are the concert trips included in the course fee?
The concert trips are an extra, optional part of the course and therefore you will need to pay separately for your ticket. However, we will always pick a concert with a good student ticket price, or negotiate a group discount.

I'm not completely sure if SCYO is for me, can I try it first?
Of course. Come along to our playing days, or send us an email and you can come and sit-in on a rehearsal. Our players are very welcoming and friendly, and if you want to join, you can quickly play to a tutor in the break.

Hopefully we've covered many of the common questions, but if there's something we've missed, email us at info@syco.co.uk and we'll get back to you as quickly as we can!


About Us

The South Cotswold Youth Orchestra is an ensemble serving the young musicians of South Gloucestershire area and beyond. Part of the Thornbury Area Youth Music, it performs symphonic repertoire in 3 courses per year, involving players of grade 5 standard and above.





Registered Charity No.1150923