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Youth orchestra toots its horn

Wairarapa Youth Orchestra [WYO] is desperately seeking… a trombone tutor.

WYO’s current tutor, Claudia Morgan, is moving to Wellington for a new job, leaving a trombone-shaped hole in the orchestra’s tuition team.

She isn’t a professional musician and was originally a choir singer before she picked up trombone when her children were in the Masterton brass band.

“She has a love of music and a real affinity for sharing her knowledge with new students in the brass band and orchestra,” orchestra founder Caitlin Morris said. “She has been great, and we will certainly miss her.”

Morris describes WYO’s tutors as “the engine room of our scholarship team”, and currently available for children learning French horn, double bass, violin, cello, clarinet and flute.

“They train and encourage new young musicians to develop the skills needed to graduate to the full orchestra. We want to continue providing our trombone lessons, and this is why we are reaching out to the Wairarapa community to find another trombone tutor.”

Founded in 2021, WYO makes music tuition accessible for Wairarapa students, including transport options and tutelage provided by retired and active industry professionals.

“We’ve received very generous funding over the years from the likes of Creative New Zealand, Carterton District Council, Masterton District Council, South Wairarapa District Council, local Lions and Rotary clubs, as well as several private donors,” Morris said. “This has enabled the orchestra to establish a solid platform to continue delivering quality tuition and an opportunity for members to learn and perform.”

The funding is vital, she said. “Participation in the orchestra is free, and funding means we can offer equal opportunities to our youth, regardless of age, gender, or demographic background. All are welcome.”

The funding also means that tutors such as Morgan can now be paid, which “makes a huge difference for us and our tutors”, WYO committee member Roger Fraser said. “We value their skill sets and expertise. Paying our tutors means we can also provide consistency for our students and the best music education possible.”

The new tutor will need not just technical ability but “a willingness and passion to pass their skills on”, Fraser said. “This is a great opportunity to work with talented kids in a wonderful environment.”

Prospective tutors would need to be able to commit to being available on Monday afternoons during the school term, and providing tuition to the orchestra’s three trombone students.

Fraser joined the committee after seeing a performance of the orchestra in which his granddaughter was playing.

“When I watch them play, I actually feel quite emotional,” he said. “The kids join up, they are valued and they play away on their instruments.”

The orchestra has grown to over 60 members and constitutes a full orchestra when they play together.

There are 12 young people currently enrolled in the scholarship programme.

“It’s our hope potential trombone tutors will make contact and offer their skills in a very rewarding environment,” Morris said.

For more information, email wairarapa [email protected]

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