The Bournemouth Youth Handbell Team was formed in 2005 by its Musical Director, Cathy Beeby. Its members, aged 12-18, are from a variety of areas in Dorset. They have broadcast live on BBC Radio Solent, given Recitals and performed with Choral Societies in Bournemouth’s Pavilion Theatre, Wimborne Minster, Christchurch Priory & Poole’s Lighthouse Concert Hall. They hold consecutive Youth Ensemble Titles at the Bournemouth and New Milton Festivals.
Performances further afield include the Barbican Concert Hall London, London University’s Royal Holloway College, Wells Cathedral School and a Master class at Harper Adams University, Telford where the BYHT were selected to work with an American Conductor. The Team were delighted to be presented with the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Performance Practice in the Ensemble Finals in 2014 at the National Festival of Music for Youth at the Birmingham Conservatoire and they also completed a highly successful 10th Anniversary Concert Tour to Milan, including two performances at the World EXPO Milano 2015.
In December 2016 the Team performed with the Barclays House Choir and St. Peter’s Orchestra and were invited in April 2017 to represent the South West of England in Concert at The Great Hall, Exeter University. They also performed with Verwood Concert Brass in December 2017, Tempo Brass and the Bournemouth School for Girls Chamber Choir in March 2018 and 2019.
They were again selected in 2018 out of more than 1200 entrants to perform as one of only thirty ensembles to compete in the Ensemble Category Finals in the Concert Hall of the new Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in the National Festival of Music for Youth. November 2018 saw the Team perform in the Royal Albert Hall in “Symphony 125,” a work composed to commemorate the 125th Anniversary of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, sponsored by SoundStorm (the Music Agency for Bournemouth & Poole) in the Music for Youth Proms. The BYHT had a pivotal rôle in this work by James Redwood, including a solo cadenza composed by the BYHT’s Musical Director Cathy Beeby, with the challenge of playing a complex ten-minute piece entirely from memory!
In 2019 the BYHT took part in several further performances, collaborating with Vintage Brass and Bournemouth School for Girls’ Chamber Choir in “Rhythm of Life 2” and again in July at the Southampton Guildhall, in a reprise of James Redwood’s epic “Symphony 125.” The Team also performed in SoundStorm’s one day Festival “Transmission” and were the winners in the Ensemble Category of the 2019 and 2021 Bournemouth Music Competitions Festival.
It goes without saying that there was a pause in the usual rehearsals during the pandemic, but continuing with thirty-one weekly “Zooms”, all members of the Team were ready for action when the restrictions were lifted. They have re-started their public performances and will be performing in a Gala Concert of the Croydon Performing Arts Festival in June 2022, at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon.
BYHT perform “Now the Green Blade Riseth” by Kevin McChesney – Music for Youth, Birmingham Conservatoire
BYHT perform “Scrapple from the Apple” by Miles Davies – “Rhythm of Life”, St Mark’s Church, Talbot Village, Bournemouth
BYHT perform “Carillon” by H. Dean Wagner – Croydon Performance Arts Festival, Royal Russell School, Croydon
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