B&NES Society of Young Musicians

Here are details of the BSYM groups:

The Training Band

This group is open to all woodwind, brass and percussion players of grade 1-3 standard. Rehearsal takes place from 9.30am to 12.15pm with all members having a choir/ general musicianship session from 10.30am-11am. The group is now directed by Rachel Williams. Members play in at least 3 concerts per year.

Intermediate Band

This ensemble is directed by Andrew Foister. Brass, woodwind and percussion players join the wind band at grade 3 and work through to grade 5. On reaching grade 5 in this band, students may wish to audition for the Senior Wind Band. Members play in at least 3 concerts a year.

Senior Band

Directed by Andrew Foister, this ensemble is our highest level wind band. Players are at least grade 5 standard and entry is by audition only. Auditions take place in September each year. Application forms are available from the Music Service office on 01225 395110. Senior members perform on numerous occasions throughout the year.

Intermediate Brass Band

This band is directed by Andrew Foister and is made up of brass members from the Intermediate Band. There are opportunities for members to audition for the Senior Brass Ensemble on reaching grade 5.

Brass Tacks Senior Brass Band

Directed by Sue Avison, this ensemble is a high level Brass Band. Entry is by audition only. The ensemble performs regularly in B&NES and has also gained a place at the National Festival in Birmingham for the past 2 years.

Flutes Galore

This ensemble is directed by Sophie Holden. The ensemble consists of Senior and Intermediate Band flautists who work together and in 2 smaller ensembles. There is an opportunity for all members to play piccolos, alto and bass flutes as part of the ensemble.


Conducted by Elaine Cheshire, this clarinet ensemble is made up of Intermediate and Senior Band clarinetists. The ensemble sometimes splits into 2 ensembles and there is opportunity for members to extend their skills by playing Eb and bass clarinets.

Saxophone Ensemble

This ensemble is made up of saxophone players from the 2 upper wind bands. The ensemble caters for all types of saxophone. The ensemble is conducted by Nicole Willis.

Acoustic Guitar Ensemble

This group was formed by Bill Lynn and covers repertoire of all different styles and genres. The ensemble accepts all levels of player.

Electric Guitar Ensemble

This is a large ensemble consisting of players of all levels. The group enjoys performing medleys of rock songs and developing improvisation skills and combines with a drum kit player for concerts.

Music Time

This is a class for students of 4-7 years of age. Its aim is to develop basic musicianship through fun games and songs. Students will develop onto pitched instruments and basic reading skills. The class is taken by Siobhan Davies and runs from 9.30am-10.15am. 

Music Club

This class is for 7-11 year olds who have recently started to play an instrument. The classes develop ensemble and general musicianship skills in preparation for attending the Training Band on reaching grade 1 standard. The class is taken by Siobhan Davies and runs from 10.15am – 11.00am.

Junior String Ensemble

This ensemble, directed by John Fowles, caters for junior age string pupils who are about Grade 1 standard. Repertoire is chosen that is fun for the students but also challenges them to improve their ensemble awareness. This group meets from 5.00 p.m. until 7.00 p.m on Wednesdays.

String Ensemble

This ensemble, directed by Louise Jenkins, is for senior string players who have reached about Grade 3 standard.

This group meets from 5.00 p.m. until 7.00 p.m on Wednesdays.  Entry is open access.

School's Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO)

This is a full size symphony orchestra that studies and performs main stream orchestral repertoire, conducted by Rainer Dolz.

Entry is by audition, players need to be of at least Grade 5 standard (Wind and Brass are usually a higher standard and usually have already been a member of Senior Wind Band or Brass tacks). This group meets from 5.00 p.m. until 7.00 p.m on Wednesdays.