Toby’s musical talent earns him Orchestra recognition

A GREENFIELD teenager has successfully auditioned to become a member of the most prestigious youth orchestra in the country.

Toby Johnson-Jones, 16, a pupil at Blue Coat School, has been selected to play with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

Toby, who also attended St Mary’s C.E Primary School, has played the French horn since the age of nine.

But proud dad Mark revealed his talented son originally had designs on learning another musical instrument.

“Toby came home from a school assembly and said: ‘I want to take up the drums.’ So we bought him a cheap set and took him to Oldham Music Centre for lessons.”

Toby Johnson-Jones

Toby, whose mum Vicky was a county standard French horn player, wasn’t destined to become the next Keith Moon or Ringo Starr.

But when the Centre erroneously offered him a chance to swop drums for the brass instrument, he didn’t look back or need more encouragement.

Toby now also attends the Junior Royal Northern College of Music and performs with the Halle Youth Orchestra.

“During the week, I am an active member of the Oldham Music Centre,” he said. “I’m passionate about playing thrilling orchestral repertoire, creating new musical experiences for audiences, sharing my musicianship skills and acting as a role model to other young people.

“The orchestra is made up of young people who all have something unique to bring as soloists, ensemble playing, or as part of a larger group. So, I am delighted to represent Oldham in 2022.

“As part of my role in NYO, I will be working alongside hundreds of other teenage musicians to open up orchestral music and share it with young people across the UK.

“Next year will see the exciting start of our relationship-building and performance sharing activities, with performances at the Barbican in London and Warwick Arts Centre in January. We will also take our performances directly to schools and youth groups around the country.”

Every performance is free for Under 19s and musicians will also be working to create physical and digital opportunities to break down barriers for young people who have less access to music.

Established in 1948, NYO was founded on the belief in the power of young people, and the knowledge they can achieve their full potential through highest standards of music-making.

This ethos continues in the modern iteration of the organisation today. NYO’s mission is to work alongside teenage musicians to open up orchestral music and share it with their generation and work to dismantle barriers stopping young people from feeling included in orchestral music.

NYO’s understanding of this art form is that it can and should be radically inclusive and relevant to every young person in the UK, regardless of their background or their access to music in school or at home.

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