Conductors: Will Wilkins, James Underwood
Membership Requirements: by audition, grade 6 and above
Audition requirements: submit a video recording (8 mins max in total) of two contrasting pieces
Rehearsals: Saturdays, 10.00-11.00am
West Sussex Youth Wind Orchestra is the highest achieving wind band offered by West Sussex Music and has performed regularly in the finals of the Music for Youth National Festival at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, venues across West Sussex and toured Europe including Germany (2016) and Belgium (2018). Unfortunately, the pandemic meant a foreign tour to France in 2020 was cancelled, but we are keen to tour again as soon possible. The Wind Orchestra tackles repertoire from the 20th and 21st century British, American and European wind band tradition – from Grainger & Holst to Hess & Waespi. Current repertoire includes ‘Stephenson’s Rocket’ by Nigel Hess, ‘The Seal Lullaby’ by Eric Whitacre and selections from ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul arr. Michael Brown.
Will Wilkins is a euphonium player, and studied at the University of Southampton, specialising in conducting in his final year. He has worked for West Sussex Music since graduating in 2018 and has conducted various ensembles at Chichester and Horsham music centres. He became co-conductor of the Youth Wind Orchestra in 2020. Alongside his work with West Sussex Music, Will is a member of Bournemouth Concert Brass, one of the foremost competing brass bands in the South of England. He has a long association with brass bands, with highlights including being a member of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, and placing third at the European Youth Brass Band Championships in 2014. He works regularly as a freelance player and conductor with orchestras, brass bands, and wind bands.
James is Chief Executive here at West Sussex Music. He joined West Sussex Music in 2003 and moved to his current role in 2013. Previously he had been a woodwind teacher and head of music. James read music at Exeter University, followed by postgraduate studies at Sussex University (PGCE) followed by Goldsmiths, University of London (MMus in clarinet).