A Year in the Life of an NYOI Bassoon Player

Delphi and Denis

Delphi Morris (14) of NYOI pictured here with Denis O’Callaghan (87) of the National Concert Hall’s Blow the Dust Orchestra at the launch of Positive Ageing Week in October 2013.

Hi, my name is Delphi Morris and I play bassoon with the NYOI, The National Youth Orchestra of Ireland.

It all began when someone recommended I audition for the NYOI last year. At that time, I never heard of the NYOI and I didn’t even know what is was! I remember when the letter arrived to say whether I was successful or to try again next year. It was a yes! I was so happy and excited! I couldn’t wait until the Christmas Course!

I was extremely nervous on the way to my first course. I was only 13 and I thought that everyone would know each other and I wouldn’t know anyone. I really didn’t need to be nervous at all! As soon as I got to Kilkenny College, everyone welcomed me. I was in a dorm with four other girls my age, one who was in the orchestra last year and the 3 others were new like me. These girls were so friendly and lovely! I also met new friends my age from other dorms and we all got very, very close. I still keep in contact with them all today! I didn’t just have friends my age, I was friends with the older musicians, the 18 years olds! Every single person in this orchestra is my friend. The evening activities, such as discos, ice-breakers, trad sessions and quizzes, were a great opportunity to meet new friends and new musicians from different sections of the orchestra which I wouldn’t have known before. They were also great fun and a break from all the music we were playing throughout the day.

For the first few days we had sectionals, which is where your section goes over the music that you are going to play with a tutor. All the tutors are very experienced and are fantastic! They really help you in whatever way you need help. The sectionals were great because we really got to know the music really well! I also became really close to my bassoon section, all 4 of us!

Then, the moment the whole orchestra had been waiting for, we got to play as a full symphony orchestra! The sound that we created was just amazing. It’s so interesting to be able to hear instruments that you aren’t familiar with and to be able to see how every instrument and musician plays such a huge part in this orchestra.

Our conductor, Gearóid Grant, was amazing! He was so funny yet he really helped us to create such beautiful music. Every rehearsal was so much fun and the room was filled with laughter almost constantly!

We did one concert at Christmas, it was in the National Concert Hall in Dublin. The experience I had playing in the National Concert Hall was fantastic. I had been to see many concerts there before but there is a huge difference between sitting in the viewing seats and sitting and performing on the stage itself. The concert was amazing but I was so sad to leave all my friends, especially the close friends I had made.

In the NYOI, there is a Christmas Course and a Summer Course. I was so excited for the Summer Course because I knew everyone and there wasn’t that feeling of nervousness I had felt before! I couldn’t wait to meet up with my friends again, because we had stayed in contact but we hadn’t actually met up! This time, we had the amazing Rafael Payare as our conductor. It was a fantastic experience to work with him and he was so funny and a brilliant conductor. I made even more friends in this course!

For our concerts, we went to Waterford, Limerick and Dublin. It was like a mini tour and it was great fun travelling around Ireland in a bus with all my friends! When the last concert ended, everyone was crying, including me! For some musicians, it was their last year because they had reached their 18th birthday. Since I was friends with all of the 18 year olds, I was so upset to see them go! Through the dramatic tears, I realised how much fun I had in these two weeks and how much better I could play bassoon and how many friends I had made.

When I got the music for this years audition, I practised so much! I knew how amazing it was so I really wanted to try and get in it again. I was thrilled when I got the letter that said I had gotten a place! I can’t wait for the 29th December when I will be off to Kilkenny again to meet up with everyone for a week of fun and music!

This orchestra has been THE BEST experience of my life and I am so happy that I have gotten a place in it again this year.