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NYSW celebrates 4th year with a national title

Northern Youth Symphonic Wind (NYSW) also known as Northern Youth has marked its fourth year with a national title in the Open C Grade. Conductor Matthew Walmsley likes to tell the story of how he set a goal to win a national championship in four years and on winning the national title, he said: “It looks like we’ve achieved that.”

When Northern Youth began, it was a band of 45. Now it comprises 75 members. That is a massive growth over four years. According to its website, NYSW is a concert band based on Sydney’s north shore “Formed in 2008, NYSW was created to provide a challenging band environment for high school and senior primary school students looking to extend their musical experience,” the site states.

When I asked Anna Pienaar what Northern Youth was to her, she said “[Northern Youth] is a great opportunity for high-school kids like me to play in a national Junior A Grade band, because most high-school bands don’t have the opportunity to play at a standard this high.” She also commented on the win. “We were all extremely happy and excited when we won the Open C, and were equally happy with our performance in Junior A!”

The children involved really enjoy it. When I spoke to Max Moffat, he told me that being in a band was “great, because being in a band is heaps of fun, not only for social reasons, but it is a chance to improve your playing and co-operate in a group”. When I asked Natalie Smith about the National Band Championships she said: “We rehearsed for ages, giving up every Thursday night and some Mondays but it was worth it ‘cause we played our best and we won. Everyone was so surprised, even our conductor. I can’t wait till next year!”

In their first year, Northern Youth competed in the Junior B Grade and came third; in 2011 they again competed in Junior B Grade and came second. This year, they competed in the Junior A Grade, placing third and in the Open C Grade they won the national title. That is a huge accomplishment for such a young band.

by Sophie Dyson

Courtesy of Gazette May 2012
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Youth ... proud national title winners
Photo: Ian Dyson





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