21 March 2023

TYB and TYC 2023: Expressing joyful thanks!

Charlie Mylechreest, Katie Nash and Alicia Begley

Photo shows scenes from Territorial Youth Band and Territorial Youth Choir 2023
Pictures (TYB): Martin Davis | Pictures (TYC): Pippa Martin

Charlie Mylechreest, Katie Nash and Alicia Begley share stories from this year’s Territorial Youth Band and Territorial Youth Choir.

Dozens of young musicians met for a week of enjoyable, Spirit-filled brass music, writes Charlie Mylechreest (Nottingham Arnold). Territorial Youth Band’s daily sessions involved focused sectionals that allowed musicians to improve their instrumental capability, whole band rehearsals, morning and evening prayers with time for worship, and plenty of meals shared together – as well as late-night pizza deliveries.

The week included a significant amount of free time, which could be spent at the hotel or outside playing football or visiting the town and its shops. Each day featured special sessions that ranged from a visit from the International Staff Band to an evening trip to the beach, and, of course, the end-of-week review session that contained relentless jokes and tasks for staff and students, as well as a surprising feature of ‘Christmas Joy’!

Quicker than expected – as with every year – came Friday and the Youth Makes Music festival. After hours of practice, all the pieces were polished and ready to perform, from impressive festival pieces such as ‘Variations on Laudate Dominum’ to the quiet cornet solo of ‘The Candle of the Lord’ and the exciting, new arrangement of ‘Rock Eternal’. They all had challenging or technical sections but ultimately sounded near flawless in just a few days.

The advice and practice sessions offered by the experienced staff musicians were my favourite opportunities of the week, which helped me and many others vastly improve our playing and dedication to music. Ultimately, TYB this year has been better than ever, offering incredibly helpful music sessions and unforgettably funny memories in the span of one short but packed week, creating a close community of young musicians from across the territory.

Photo shows members of Territorial Youth Choir 2023.

Many students returned or came for the first time to Territorial Youth Choir, reports Katie Nash (Hendon). During the week we did many fun activities along with rehearsals. We had our first practice on Monday afternoon in which we were put into our rows and sight-read songs. During Tuesday’s Bible teaching session, we were introduced by Megan to the theme of the week, Joy. We were asked: ‘What is joy?’ We were given the answer that joy is happiness that does not depend on the circumstances. We looked at how we could choose, show and live joy through three different Bible teaching sessions in our cell groups.

We also had rehearsals led by Karl Westwood (Bromley Temple). We spent time learning each song and looked at the meanings behind them. My favourite bit was when we all stood in a circle at the end of a few rehearsals. It was fun to hear other people singing rather than those you usually sit next to.

Another thing we did during the week was workshops. On Monday we had to choose between art, discussion, dance, multimedia and conducting and leadership. I chose art, in which we created a piece of art about the things that make us joyful.

During the evenings we did many fun activities and games. On Monday we had icebreakers in our cell groups, which was really fun. On Tuesday, an open mic gave us a chance to hear others and support each other.

On Wednesday we had a silent disco, which we had all looked forward to. On our last evening, we were given the opportunity to pray and worship without staff input.

Thank you to all the staff members who made TYC possible and as enjoyable as it was!

Photo shows Territorial Youth Band 2023.

Friday evening saw young people from across the territory gather at the Lighthouse Theatre in Poole for the final festival, reports Alicia Begley (Bromley Temple).

After a short welcome video, TYB and TYC joined together for an exuberant start with ‘Joyful, Joyful’. TYB presented William Himes’s exciting march ‘Motivation’, which was contrasted by the choir singing the beautiful ‘Rest’.

TYC member Joel Hollowell shared a prayer before Director of Music and Creative Arts Stephen Cobb greeted those in attendance, including civic leaders and territorial leadership. The evening couldn’t continue without a public thanks to Ira Thomas, who led TYC for about 20 years, contributing to generations of Salvationist musicians.

TYB presented the exhilarating ‘Variations on Laudate Dominum’, featuring some principal players including George Sharman on cornet, Jak Camp on euphonium and Charlie Mylechreest on trombone.

Under the leadership of the skilful Karl Westwood, TYC brought the upbeat ‘No Other Name’. The song featured two dancers from the dance workshop – Neve Bradbury and Sophie Pepperrell. This was followed by the enchanting ‘The Road Home’, which speaks of a constant calling.

In a tribute to the immense legacy of Joy Webb, the band played the reflective ‘The Candle of the Lord’, highlighting flugelhorn player Ellen Farmer. The percussion section seemed to have fun in the band’s exciting ‘I Will Sing unto the Lord’.

To finish the first half, the choir presented their major piece: ‘In the Beginning’ by Len Ballantine. This impressive choral work, which tells of the Creation story, alternated between exciting and vibrant, and ethereal and angelic. A special mention goes to accompanist Andrew Wicker and the supporting musicians for their contributions.

After a short interval, Paul Sharman led the rousing congregational song ‘Joyful, Joyful’ before leading the band in his piece ‘My God and King!’. TYC sang ‘Still Holding My Hand’ from Matilda the Musical, with stunning vocals from Anna Sharman.

Karl spoke about the workshops that the choir had engaged with through the week, including media – where delegates created a short video about sources of joy. Nik King superbly accompanied the choir in mellow gospel piece ‘Take it to the Lord in Prayer’.

Territorial Children and Youth Secretary Major Helen Schofield gave a short Bible thought to remind us that gratitude makes us joyful.

The dignified ‘Lord of All Hopefulness’ was played by TYB before an adaptation of the choral piece ‘Rock Eternal’. For TYC’s final two pieces of the night, they sang the beautiful ‘He Will Hold Me Fast’, arranged and played by Andrew Wicker, and ‘Distant Shores’. The choir had a rich and full sound – clearly a result of excellent vocal training throughout the week.

The evening concluded with TYB playing ‘Life Ablaze’, which featured three well-known songs – ‘Happy Day (Greatest Day in History)’, ‘The Potter’s Hand’ and ‘Strength Will Rise (Everlasting God)’.

Rapturous applause and a benediction rounded off a fantastic night!

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