A Trip to the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain's concert by Francesca Fitzgerald

Thanks to the generosity of the National Youth Orchestra we were given a discount code for London Music Fund Scholars for the NYO's concert at the Barbican on 5 January 2020. One of our 2019-23 Scholars, Francesca Fitzgerald went along and has written this lovely account of her experience for us (and it turns out she was sitting near to Charles, one of our graduate Scholars who plays double bass in NYO!) Many thanks to Francesca for sharing this with us, we hope you enjoy reading it!

On the last day of my Christmas holiday, my mum and I took several trains to go to the Barbican Hall in London;  as a LMF scholar we got discounted tickets to watch the NYO, National Youth Orchestra. I never knew that musicians could play for so long without stopping!  It was a great experience to see 164 teenagers playing in such harmony that made me feel so many different emotions,  like spookiness, shock, sadness as well as feeling sucked in the music that went from calm to loud to slow to fast all in a surprising way.

We were sitting quite close to the double bassists - I counted about 12 of them! My mum told me that one of them was an ex LMF scholar!
I loved the four harps on the opposite side that had all the lovely engraved decorations and how they looked like gold!  Because I play the oboe, I liked how the oboes started everyone off as they tuned the instruments. Just one note sounded like the beginning of a brilliant piece! I was so astonished when I heard how long the second piece was: almost one hour!  If I were playing with them, my lip would have dropped off!! How on earth did they do it?

The conductor looked as if he was actually part of the music!  He did his job with such energy that even looking at him made me feel tired.
When they finished,  he invited each section to stand, starting with the head of the section and finally swept everyone up with his arm.
The audience stood up, applauded and roared with delight.
I was surprised to see the musicians didn't look tired but instead just very happy standing by their faithful instruments.