Hallé Youth Choir and Orchestra Tour – Dublin 2016

[Report from Isabella Vesperinas of the Hallé Youth Choir]

Having had the privilege of being a part of the Hallé for the last five years, I have experienced many different concerts in a variety of venues. While all the concerts I have been in have been breathtaking, I am always at my happiest when I am in a concert as part of the annual summer tours. This year we went to Dublin and the Youth Choir were joined by the Youth Orchestra, a new experience for me. Having only worked alongside the Youth Orchestra in one concert before, I didn’t know anyone. However, the whole of the Orchestra were so welcoming and we all quickly integrated and made new friendships. The community atmosphere as part of the Hallé Youth Ensembles never fails to amaze me. Despite all coming from different places, I come from Lancashire while many of my friends live in Cheshire, everyone fits in and find people who truly become their best friends. As well as performing in concerts at the most beautiful venues, the activities throughout the day were so fun while showing us some of Dublin’s fascinating history. This summer we took part in what has truly been one of the best weeks of my life, meeting so many vibrant and like-minded people while building on existing friendships with those we had known for a while. The concerts themselves were most definitely the highlight as we had the opportunity to perform a variety of music in the most amazing venues. As well as being able to perform in the Choir, it was lovely to be able to listen to the orchestra and I was blown away by how seamless their pieces were after such a short rehearsal time. It is inspiring to see first-hand what a group of talented young people can achieve in such a short space of time through the drive, determination and friendship that was demonstrated from everyone throughout the tour.

[Report from Felix Blake of the Hallé Youth Orchestra]

The HYE Dublin Tour 2016, was the most enjoyable and riveting one yet!  The tour not only allowed us to play many great masterpieces (Sibelius –  Symphony No. 1, Britten – Five Flower Songs and Vaughn-Williams – Serenade to Music, to name but a few!), with other likeminded artists, but it also permitted us to immerse ourselves in the thriving culture of a country, many of us have never visited.  Irish tradition holds its grassroots in one of the first Viking settlements in the country, Dublin, and we got the chance to embrace their heritage through the Gaelic group dance of Ceilidh (kay-lee).  I can still remember the rhythmic stamping that accompanied the intricate spinning, circling, running and jumping throughout the dance.  During our time upon the Emerald Isle, our diet frequently consisted of the delicious traditional Irish stew.  The hearty contents of beef and vegetables is good enough for the Irish and was definitely good enough for us!  However, the tour took a poignant turn when we delved into the extensive yet riveting history of Ireland. We marvelled at the development of Irish civilization since the invasion of the Vikings, and were sobered by the tragic suffering of the Irish people during the Great Famine (1845–52).  Akin to the stimulating history of the Isle, Dublin is now a bustling, cosmopolitan capital, and the HYE savoured every moment spent there.  Thankfully, we had the privilege to perform in many beautiful venues under the guidance of the masterful former Hallé Youth Assistant Conductor – Jamie Phillips and brilliant former Hallé Youth Choir Director – Richard Wilberforce.  We had the delight of performing advanced and beautiful repertoire by the likes of Sibelius, Vaughn-Williams, Britten and Whitacre.  In summary, a fine week of music, camaraderie and culture – what a thrilling adventure!