Thursday 27th September

Community Engagement - September Update

Busking in the Christchurch Bus Exchange, taking part in workshops, performing for each other; these were just some of the things that young musicians took part in during the 2018 Secondary Schools Orchestra Festival. In September, 10 youth orchestras from nine different schools, along with the Nelson Marlborough Youth Orchestra, came together over the course of two days to take part in the festival, which is hosted by the CSO in partnership with the Canterbury Westland Secondary Music Teachers Association (CWSMTA).

The students took part in sectionals with CSO musicians and engaged in workshops before performing for one another and altogether in a combined orchestra at the Showcase Concert at the end of the Festival, which was well attended by friends, families, teachers, principals and other supporters.

As a part of this year’s festival, groups of musicians from the NMYO, Burnside High School, Chisnallwood Intermdiate, and Rangi Ruru performed, flash-mob style, for commuters at the Christchurch Bus Interchange over lunch time in the new Orchestras On Board project. Many commuters stopped to listen to or film the performers, and family and friends also came especially to hear them play.

Proud grandmother Shirley Burgess came along to support her grandson, Ocean Tikihara, from Chisnallwood Intermediate School, as the school’s string and celtic ensembles performed several pieces, some of which involved a bodhrán (Irish frame drum). “I’m just awed. Their talent is just incredible,” she said. “It’s been wonderful and I was sitting down but I’m standing now because I want to see all of them. I’m a very proud grandparent.”

One commuter, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she deliberately missed a bus so she could stay and listen to the groups perform.

Coming up, we’re delighted to announce that we will be holding our annual conducting workshop with CSO Chief Conductor Benjamin Northey on Thursday 8th November from 1pm to 4pm at the CSO Rehearsal Rooms, where he will explain the basics of conducting before putting four participants through their paces as they conduct the orchestra. Observation is free. If you would like to register as an observer, please email CSO Community Engagement Programme Leader Cathy Irons at

Applications for the CSO Internship Programme, supported by Alison Barwick, are now open. Eligible for all musicians under 25 playing an orchestral instrument, this internship forms the link between musical studies and orchestral performances. Interns will perform two concerts with the CSO and receive two lessons from section principals prior to their performances. For more information, please click here. Applications close on 2nd November.