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A SOUTHAMPTON based youth orchestra is going virtual – and global!

Virtual Youth Orchestra has given young musicians the opportunity to carry on performing and practising while staying at home.  The orchestra was born out of an idea from Hampshire-based Showcase Music School, founded by music teacher Alex Pope. He aims to make sure that all children, aged seven to 18, can keep playing new music each week while off school. 

“Our whole ethos is that music should be accessible to all with no financial or cultural restrictions, hence the idea to launch the virtual orchestra during these times. We want to ensure children can keep playing each week with a new piece of music to keep them engaged and give them something to work towards and practice without face to face coaching.”

“I am orchestrating parts for children who play instruments of all abilities to music from various styles and they will be provided with a part, a rehearsal track and a backing track to video themselves. The idea is that I will then combine all their videos into one massed orchestral performance via video each week featuring the children that take part.”

Alex Pope, Showcase Music School.

Virtual Youth Orchestra offers a completely free and fun way to ensure children remain engaged during these tough times. Hundreds of young music lovers have already signed up for the free Virtual Youth Orchestra from across the UK and as far afield as Australia and the USA.   If you watch carefully, you’ll be able to spot one of our young St Andrew’s band members playing trombone in their latest video.

Showcase Music School are a Southampton-based group, comprising the Showcase Young Voices, Drumming Academy and Troop, Philharmonic Orchestra, Jazz Orchestra, and newly-established Virtual Youth Orchestra. Open to musicians aged 18 and under, the group’s aim is to spread awareness of how music can benefit the wellbeing of young people, especially during difficult times such as these.

In ordinary times, Showcase Music School bring life changing access to music to thousands of children across Hampshire and Dorset every week – providing free weekly access to choirs and an orchestra of over 50 musicians. Children have performed at top venues around the world, including recent trips to Paris and New York.  Founder Alex Pope conducted and staged the 2018 Hampshire Festival of Remembrance at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre raising over £17,000 for the Royal British Legion, as well as the Southampton Celebration Proms on the same stage back in January 2017.

Any child or student below the age of 18 can sign up to The Showcase Virtual Youth Orchestra. Parts are available for all instruments of any ability so anyone can take part, but children must be able to read music at a basic level.  Once they have signed up online, they are then sent a music sheet to follow and a track to listen and play along to.  They then send a recording of themselves performing the piece back to the music school, who compile it into a video.

If you’d like to watch more videos of Virtual Orchestra performing, you can click here to go to their You Tube channel

To find out more about how to join the orchestra and also the virtual choir, click here to visit their website or send an email to

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