These are an important part of the Instrumental Music Provision which is designed to enhance the musical, social, intellectual and emotional aspects of our pupils’ development.
This is achieved through a carefully constructed programme of rehearsals and residential courses which culminate in a series of concerts.
For pupils of primary school age we offer a short intensive rehearsal weekend at Bishopbriggs Academy. This is open to any pupil who has reached a standard which would enable them to play elementary orchestral music. On the Sunday afternoon there is a short informal concert of the music they have studied. The orchestra can have around 100 members.
For those who have progressed beyond this, we offer the opportunity to audition for the Primary Schools Orchestra which plays music of a much higher standard. In 2024 we hope to offer a longer residential course of 5 days to this orchestra. The concert following this is a more formal one where parents are asked to buy tickets. There are approximately 80-90 children involved at this stage.
When pupils have reached Secondary School age we provide two orchestras for those who play stringed instruments and two wind bands for all the woodwind, brass and percussion players. One of each type of group is designed as a training ground to which entry is open. The other is of a much higher standard and requires an audition before a place is offered.
These groups undertake a series of Sunday rehearsals between October and March and include a intensive non-residential weekend in their schedule. There is a concert in March, for all these groups held at the new RSNO Centre. Between 250 and 300 pupils take part in these groups.
The two senior groups produce the players required for the Secondary Schools Orchestra which is the most advanced level of all. Entry to this is also by competitive audition.
This orchestra has a residential course of 5 days in June which is held at St Andrews University and the course once again ends in a concert. This group involves 85-95 pupils.
In addition to this, the Secondary Schools Orchestra joins with the Primary Schools Choir to perform the Annual Christmas Concert in The Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow. There are 250 members in the choir which is drawn from 32 primary schools.
We also offer secondary school pupils the opportunity to play in the East Dunbartonshire Schools Jazz Orchestra which meets weekly until March when they perform in public.
For more advanced percussion players, the Percussion Ensemble meets for a residential weekend which is by invitation.