CLYO Residentials and Tours


In July each year the orchestra ends the season with a week’s music-making either on a summer school in North of England or an European tour.

In July 2017, CLYO will go on our biennial residential course at Repton School.  More information to follow soon.

Tour to Czech Republic and Slovakia, July 2016

Our orchestral tour to the Czech Republic and Slovakia commenced on a sunny Sunday morning. In a sea of hoodies, members clutched their travelling essentials of squishy pillows, copious amounts of snacks and earphone splitters to cope with the 28 hour journey ahead. After the coaches were laden with our belongings, we commenced our journey successfully without the previous instrument drama of Italy 2014. The coach antics of chants, games and sleep successfully blurred Sunday into Monday and we arrived in the Czech capital of Prague in the early afternoon after making good friends with the ring road several times.Tour16_5

The prickly heat and the desire of a shower did pose some frustration for a few hours while the hotel was being prepared. However, the surrounding neighbourhood did host a wonderful (and very cheap!) market which we descended on in our wait. From watermelon to fresh doughnuts priced at 24p, hunger was certainly satisfied. The entertainment at Hotel Duo was an amusing evening of bowling which was not only a great chance for everyone to get involved but revealed some competitive streaks!

Tour16_10After a vital night’s sleep, we commenced our travels to Plzen for our first concert of the tour. The charming town was greeted by a hungry CLYO and a common theme of the week was the almost disbelieve on how cheap the food seemed to be in this part of Europe. After refuelling, we rehearsed our tour repertoire in a truly wonderful hall. The charming space allowed the true CLYO sound to ring through and Sarah’s Lark Ascending was hauntingly beautiful in the hall.  Our first concert was a resounding success with a few familiar faces scattered amongst the audience. It was certainly a great start to the musical portion of the tour and not only did it remind everyone why we were here but it sparked a buzz in the whole CLYO team.

Our ‘day off’ was spent by taking in the sights of the city of Prague. With the help of the informative walking tour guides, we wandered around the bustling city from Charles’ Bridge to the clockwork tower in the glowing sun. From gothic buildings to those in the art nouveau style, there was a plethora of architecture on display as well as the jazz ensembles scattered throughout the city providing an eclectic soundtrack.  Although we only had a glimpse of this fantastic city, it was certainly an enjoyable place to explore for the day.

Thursday was a muggy overcast day in comparison to the scorching sun of the previous one. We transferred via coach to the small Moravian town of Kroměříž where we once again explored the eateries as well as the beautiful castle gardens. Despite a slight mishap regarding an exhibition piece and some intense Czech shouting, the rehearsal for our second concert was underway. The venue was certainly enchanting upon entry with the glistening chandeliers and mirrors catching the streams of sun throughout the rehearsal and the concert. This concert was the first outing of Dvorak’s Rondo in G since November and was played expertly by Max McLeish as well as some sensitive orchestral accompanying by CLYO, considering the difficult acoustic. (The author of this article is too modest to mention that her fine rendition of Lehar’s Vilja on this evening and the last, also brought the house to its feet in appreciation!)

Tour16_26On the Friday morning, we explored the pleasant town of Olomouc. With it being a centre of Moravian culture, there were many beautiful statues and churches to experience as well as a collection of markets which were perfect for gift shopping. Following our outing, we transferred to Slovakia to rehearse for our third concert in our only religious venue of the tour. Once again, both Max and Sarah played their solo items incredibly well and were greeted by standing ovations by our first Slovakian audience. Despite the challenging acoustic and a tumbling Tam Tam, the concert was so well received by the audience and the buzz was certainly evident in the coach transfer to Bratislava afterwards, where a solid hour of chanting commenced with the participation of some of our incredible coach drivers, Rick and Jane.

Our final day before travelling home was spent in the Slovakian capital, Bratislava. The morning portion of the day was free to leisurely explore the city as well as ride the tram. Set along the Danube River, the highlight was certainly the castle situated on a rocky hill in the central part of the city. Our final concert venue, the Slovak Radio Hall, was an imposing pyramidal structure which lacked a certain grace. However, the interior of the concert hall was quite the opposite. It certainly was an incredible space to host our final concert of the tour and for a few of us, our final CLYO concert ever.

Tour16_33The solo repertoire for the evening was the Séjourné Marimba concerto played by our expert percussion principal, Tom. With a poignant first movement and an explosive second, the audience were in awe and appreciation for his talent. The rest of the concert was also a huge triumph for the rest of the orchestra as we gave our finest rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake alongside a riveting and volatile delivery of Sarka. Owing to the finality of the occasion, emotions were certainly running high and the tearful encores of Nimrod and the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana as well as a loud delivery of Riverdance and a standing version of Pirates led to many mascara trails.

After the success of the concert and a well-deserved meal, the prize giving traditions followed and many laughs were shared. Another part of the evening was saying a huge thank you to the amazing team of staff who not only looked after us all so well but who were a true joy to be around.  Not to forget our additions to the CLYO family, the coach drivers! A special bond was formed with Don, Dan, Rick and Jane and they became fully fledged members of the group with Rick even winning one of the coveted student awards.

Tour16_31As orchestral experiences go, the tour was remarkable and it was complete privilege to share the experience with such a wonderful set of individuals. A huge thank you must go to all those who made it possible! For those of us who are leaving, I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking the return of our Friday evenings will be rather nice. However, CLYO truly is something special and that community will be sorely missed.

Meg Holch (18)

Summer Residential 2015

The CLYO residential courses are always a great opportunity both for exploring new repertoire throughout the week, and also for spending time with the amazing people that make up the orchestra. This year marked our return to Repton School, having been such a fantastic venue two years ago.

Shortly after arriving, we met a group from France also staying the week at the school, and it did not take long for a friendly/not-so-friendly footballing rivalry to begin! This culminated in a mass participation match on the Wednesday afternoon including about half the orchestra against the French and a James Cordon lookalike with a thick Manchester accent who frankly couldn’t have been less French. Ben Pritchard’s winner in the dying embers of the game will live long in the memory as a historic day for CLYO! With the French group obviously not challenging us enough, we had to turn our competitiveness against each other at the most intense game of them all, laptag. It became a bit of a craze throughout the week, involving a large proportion of the orchestra by Thursday. A possible addition to the next Olympics maybe…?


Of course the week was jam-packed with music making. We were very grateful for the work our tutors put into leading the sectionals, which helped get us through the amount of repertoire we were covering in the week. However this was by no means the only music going on, with plenty of other groups happening, including late night jam sessions around the piano in the canteen and also many preparations for our informal concert, held on the last night. Always being a very fun event, the concert ranged from different sections of the orchestra to boys and girls barbershops, and a special tribute to the one and only Dougie Scarfe, featuring Dan Johnson and Tom Pritchard on marimbas, playing a medley of various CLYO repertoire. The concert was capped off by a medley of Les Miserables which was kindly organised by Kipps and conducted by John Stringer.

Friday was a sad morning, not only as we were leaving, but the chef John had left the night before, having provided us with the most amazing croissants every morning. After clearing the rooms we said goodbye to Repton as we set off by coach to Ripon Cathedral for what was truly a remarkable concert and a pleasure to play in. From being the first Youth Orchestra to perform Gurney’s ‘War Elegy’ to the phenomenal playing of Jack Greed performing Mozart’s violin concerto in G major in the first half, and the immense Shostakovich’s 5th symphony in the second,  madefor a concert to remember.
Of course it would not be CLYO without a rendition of ‘Pirates of the Carribbean’ at about double speed!

It was a fabulous week which really showed what CLYO is all about, and I wish all the leavers the best of luck with what they’re moving onto.

Max McLeish – Cellist (17)

Tour to Perugia, July 2014

The tour started with the small matter of a 34 hour coach journey in which we travelled through most of Europe, including France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland before finally arriving in Italy. The journey was, admittedly, extremely tiring; however, the scenic and frankly breathtaking mountainous views which we encountered made up for the lack of sleep. We were able to build our excitement for the busy week ahead with plenty of card games and singing which we enjoyed over the course of the journey. 10421587_919034228112295_4581093947758140430_n
We finally arrived at the ‘Park Hotel’ in Perguia mid-afternoon where we were able to unpack and prepare ourselves for the first meal of the tour. We were served a huge plate of pasta which, unbeknown to us, was only the starter. This was then followed by an equally gigantic plate of meat and fresh potatoes before dessert – tiramisu – which happened to be a recurring theme of the week. We then retired to our comfy hotel bedrooms for a good rest before our first concert the next day.
In the morning we drove by coach to the beautiful town of Orvieto where the Grand Duomo is located in the midst of the town square. This 13th century cathedral was to be the first venue for our course of concerts. The atmosphere of the cathedral was breathtaking – we were able to see the ancient stained glass windows and original hand painted walls from the outside, as well as beautiful artwork and incredibly detailed stonework on the inside. This magnificent piece of architecture took over 300 years to complete and is considered a national monument so it was a great privilege to play in it. Before the concert, the orchestra was given free time to explore the town of Orvieto, where we were able to find a multitude of backstreet pizzerias to give us the energy we so needed for the concert – which ended up being a huge success!
10543631_920315704650814_116377423762066478_nOn the second day we travelled to the town of Assisi, where we were able to visit the church of St Frances, the founder of the Franciscan order.  This visit enabled us to gain insight on both the cultural and religious history of Italy and the Crypt underneath the Bascilica was a truly beautiful place of worship. We then had an hour’s rehearsal followed by a short walk to the restaurant aptly named ‘il Trombone’, overlooking the spectacular Perguian landscape. 10527312_920412734641111_7347974493278243709_n10462393_920412771307774_5413929128142928433_o
The concert, once again, was fantastic and much like the first concert we were asked to play four encores before retiring to the hotel long after midnight.
One of the highlights of our leisure time was the visit to the Perugia chocolate factory, home of the famous Italian confectionery ‘Baci’ meaning ‘kiss’. We were given a full tour of the processing, making and packaging of the chocolate and even experienced our own private tasting session, which was agreeably our favourite part of the factory tour.
On the penultimate day of the tour we experienced one of the most incredible sights Perugia has to offer – a view from the top of Mt. Ingino.
10556285_921421947873523_659085535483752463_n (1)After a rather terrifying journey up the side of the mountain in what can only be described as a thin metal cage hanging on a wire, we were rewarded with a stunning view. 10565082_921421851206866_1323544383358342356_n (1)


We could see for 50 miles in every direction as butterflies danced around us and our sweet drinks and refreshing gelato.
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Chiusi was our final venue, where we were greeted one last time with a standing ovation after our standing rendition of Pirates of the Carribean! Even before we played the final note, the tears were flowing, not only from the leavers, but also all the rest of us who will miss them so much.

Overall, we agree that this has been our best memory of CLYO and it could not have been made possible without the help of ‘Maestro Dowgee Scarfey’ and all the other fantastic members of staff. We wish all the leavers the best of luck in the future and we can’t wait to get started again in September for another amazing year of CLYO.
Luka Rix – flautist (17) and Jack Greed – violinist (17)


Summer Residential 2013

This July CLYO’s residential course took place at Repton School from 14th to 19th July culminating in a concert in Selby Abbey.



The CLYO 2013 Summer Residential

The course was a brilliant part of the year.  Everyone really got to know each other,  the atmosphere  very special and the music-making fantastic.

The programme included Rimsky Korsakov’s Cappricio Espagnol, Bruch’s Kol Nidrei, with principal cellist Zach Owen, and Rachmaninov’s magnificent Symphony No. 2.


Tour to Eastern Germany, July 2012

Every other year, the members and staff of CLYO pack their bags and embark on a foreign tour. In July 2012, we set out for a tour of eastern Germany; in our two main locations of Bautzen and Leipzig, we enjoyed a jam-packed week of 4 concerts, 2 hotels, 2 prison tours, several restaurants and free time in which we could explore our beautiful surroundings.

The repertoire for the week included Vaughan Williams’s A London Symphony, An American in Paris by George Gershwin, Symphonic Dances from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Concerto for Trombone, performed by our principal trombonist Ryan Durkan. We also paid tribute to German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, who spent much of his life in Leipzig, with a performance of his Double Violin Concerto by two orchestra members, Oscar Holch and Dominic Ingham.

germany 2012

Leipzig tour through the eyes of a CLYO member – Lydia Cockburn, 17, 2nd trombone

The tour began with an epic coach journey from Leeds to Bautzen, taking 25 hours in total. Although this seems a lot, the journey actually made for quite a sociable experience and certainly gave us plenty of time to get excited for the week ahead! After arriving and checking in to our rooms, we were given free time in which we were able to look around the quaint, hill-top town of Bautzen, before returning to the hotel for an evening meal.

We spent two full days in Bautzen, with a concert each evening in two beautiful, spacious churches in Herrnhut and Niesky. This stay included a guided tour of the Bautzen Memorial, a former Stasti prison, and a trip to the easternmost town in Germany, Görlitz, to have lunch and see the Polish border. Both of these excursions were fun and interesting, and allowed us to gain some knowledge of the local history and culture. Thanks to the widespread appreciation for classical music in eastern Germany, we were welcomed at each concert venue by large and appreciative audiences, making the experience all the more rewarding for the young players.

The following day involved transferring from Bautzen to Leipzig, so we went via the stunning city of Dresden, where we had a few hours to explore before a picturesque boat trip along the river Elbe. This was an ideal way to let off steam after a busy two days, and it was a great opportunity to experience another of the main cities in eastern Germany.

The next two days included more cultural outings such as a visit to Colditz Castle and a guided sightseeing tour of Leipzig, in which we visited the St. Thomas Church, where Bach was choir director for 27 years. Our third concert took place in the Festival Hall in Bad Schmiedeberg, and on this occasion we performed the Bach Double Violin Concerto, which went down extremely well with the local audience. Our final concert was in a beautiful church in Jena, where we played the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, and finished off with Pirates of the Caribbean as an encore.

Overall, the CLYO tour to Germany was a fantastic experience which saw the orchestra deliver its best concerts of the year, raise thousands of euros for charities and ultimately become a much closer group of people, now not only with shared interests, but also shared experiences.