Kent County Youth Orchestra celebrates 50th anniversary

Béla de Csilléry conducting the newly-founded Kent County Youth Orchestra at Tunbridge Wells in 1963
Image caption Béla de Csilléry conducted the newly-founded Kent County Youth Orchestra on 16 August 1963
KVYO double bass section in April 1968
Image caption At residential courses tutors such as Mora Mukle coached sections of the orchestra, including the 1968 double basses
KCYO in Margate Winter Gardens
Image caption The Christmas course in 1963/4 ended with a performance at the Winter Gardens in Margate

A Kent orchestra is completing its preparations to mark the end of its 50th anniversary season.

The Kent County Youth Orchestra (KCYO) held its first concert at the County Grammar School for Girls in Tunbridge Wells on 16 August 1963.

Former percussionist Tommy Pearson, who went on to present on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM, will introduce the last concert of the season on 7 September.

A special choir will join the orchestra in Beethoven's Choral Symphony.

The 200 members of the choir have been recruited just for the performance in Mote Hall and will join the Kent County Singers and four vocal soloists.

The concert will feature two other ex-KCYO players.

Ben Oliver will conduct his own work written for the anniversary called Loop Concerto, which will be performed by jazz pianist Ivo Neame, accompanied by the orchestra.

Geoff Dixon, the KCYO's manager, said: "We wanted to do something special and inclusive in the third concert of Kent County Youth Orchestra's 50th anniversary year and this event offers singers from across the county a rare opportunity to take part in such a large ensemble."

The orchestra has been meeting for the third of its residential courses during the school summer holiday.

KCYO was founded in 1963 by the Hungarian conductor Béla de Csilléry.

Following a series of rehearsals at Broomhill Bank School, Rusthall, the orchestra performed its first concert at the County Grammar School for Girls in Tunbridge Wells on 16 August 1963.

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