The Doncaster Youth Swing Orchestra

Directed by John Ellis

Doncaster Youth Swing Orchestra

The Swing Orchestra is the second tier of the four Association ensembles.

At this level, young musicians find themselves exploring the popular and exhilarating charts of the 'Swing Era', alongside the more complex harmonic and rhythmic styles of the modern day Big Band. Playing members are encouraged to further enhance their individual soloing skills through exposure to improvisation within the swing band format.

Interest in this idiom is such that the usual Swing Orchestra 'squad' in rehearsals is large and enthusiastic. However, the band size is occasionally restricted to the standard line-up for some concerts, and festivals in order to ensure a controlled musical balance and blend.

Young vocalists are encouraged to discover and perform big band 'standards' with this band. Singing with a large Swing Orchestra can be an exhilarating or intimidating experience, depending on the individual singer's approach and the sensitivity of the backing ensemble. 18 year old Anya Thomson is the featured soloist on the recent swing orchestra CD entitled 'The Beckett Road Sessions'.

In March of 2008, the Orchestra received the Outstanding Performance Award (Youth Section) at the Great North Big Band Festival in Sunderland — for the third successive year.

The Doncaster Youth Swing Orchestra enjoys its own identity as a driving modern Big Band. With the accent on 'swing', both modern and traditional, this dedicated group of musicians always endeavour to interpret the music as authentically as possible. Their varied repertoire has delighted audiences on several tours abroad and throughout the north of England.