Final Details for Residential 2020

We are all looking forward to our residential at Kingswood next week! Below is a copy of the information that has been emailed to parents/carers.


Can we ask that everyone arrives at St. Andrews Church by 5.15pm on March 6th 2020 ready for a prompt 5.30pm departure. This is to ensure we arrive at Kingswood ready for the evening meal.
For those parents taking their children directly to Kingswood please could you let us know (so we aren’t waiting at the church for you) by Saturday 29th February 2020  and could you aim to arrive at Kingswood for about 6.30 – 7.00pm.
We will be leaving Kingswood on Sunday at about 2.00pm, aiming to be back at St. Andrews Church by 3.00- 3.30pm.
For those parents collecting their children from Kingswood, please could you arrive at 1.45pm.



Please note, no nuts are allowed! All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are provided by Kingswood. There is a separate dining room where we will all eat together (Kingswood is a nut-free zone). Please can you let us know of any dietary needs / allergies by Saturday 29th February 2020. We have details on the Membership forms, but wish to have these confirmed so that we can let Kingswood know before we arrive. 

Packing list:

No huge suitcases, or bags, please. The coach space is limited with all the instruments too.    
  • One bath towel
  • Toiletries bag containing: toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, hairbrush etc. **roll-on deodorants only**
  • Night clothes (and cuddly toy)
  • Slippers or soft indoor shoes
  • Socks and underwear
  • T-shirts (at least one with long sleeves for the outside activities on Saturday afternoon), sweatshirt (one thick, one light)
  • Trousers and / or jeans and / or tracksuit bottoms
  • Old clothes for the Saturday afternoon outdoor activities
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Sturdy shoes or wellingtons
  • Trainers
  • Large plastic bag for dirty clothes
  • Gloves, hat, scarf
  • Water bottle
  • Small card games to share
  • Book to read
  • Some money (no more than £10) for the shop. The shop sells snacks and drinks, as well as postcards, souvenirs, games and mementos.
  • In case of lost property please put your child’s name on all items of clothing!

In addition to the items above:

  • Everyone must bring their instrument, a labelled music stand, spare strings / reeds, a pencil and a rubber. Cellists MUST bring a spike protector.
  •  A mobile phone/device with head phones is allowed, but please do not bring radios etc. which will disturb others.
  •  No chewing gum, food, sweets, or canned drinks will be allowed during rehearsals (bring labelled water bottles).

The committee wishes to stress that members will not be allowed to smoke or drink alcohol at any time during the weekend.

The weekend is usually great fun and consists of music rehearsals on Friday evening, Saturday morning and evening and Sunday morning. On Saturday afternoon there will be outdoor activities run by the Kingswood staff. There will be free time too in between rehearsals where the children can either chill in their rooms or use the outside space. The outside spaces have to be quiet by 9pm and everyone has to be in their own rooms by 10pm (Kingswood rules).

The committee or Kingswood cannot accept liability for the loss, theft or damage of any personal property your child may bring.

If you have any questions about the residential, please do get in touch ( and we will do our best to answer them.

Happy New Year!

We hope all of our members and their families had an enjoyable holiday.

Thank you again to everyone who supported us last term. We have had some wonderful feedback from our 40th Anniversary Concert, and we were delighted to raise £335.44 at our ASDA fundraiser.

The coming term is set to be exciting for all of us at SPYE. We have exciting new repertoire to get our teeth into, and our Residential to look forward to in March!

Our first rehearsal of the term is this coming Saturday (11th January). Just a reminder that our dates for the rest of the term can be found here.



Autumn Term 2019 Welcome

We hope you have all had a good summer! 2019-20 registration forms for returning and new members have now been sent out via email. If you have not received this, please check your spam/junk folders, or let us know that you would like to be added to the mailing list.

Rehearsals start again Saturday, 7th September 2.30-5.30pm at St Andrew’s church. A full list of rehearsal and concert dates are on the website; here’s the link:

This year is the 40th anniversary since SPYE was formed. To celebrate this we are going to be doing a concert in December with current and past members. If you are a past member, or know of someone who was, and would be interested in joining the orchestra as part of the 40th Anniversary Concert on Saturday, December 14th 2019, please contact us for more information. Details of repertoire will be listed on our website soon. 

Another Successful Concert for SPYE


On Saturday 18th May, we held our Summer Concert at Jesmond United Reformed Church. We were delighted to see the church full, with both familiar and new faces in the audience.

The concert began with Ennio Morricone’s Gabriel’s Oboe, the famous theme from the 1986 film, The Mission. This featured the strings from our Symphony Orchestra, with Oliver playing the oboe solo, as well as directing the group. The result was a very sensitive and beautiful performance, with strong communication between the soloist and the orchestra.

Our young musicians were joined by the rest of the woodwind section and their conductor, Peter, for Fauré’s Pavane, Op. 50. Opening with a haunting flute solo, the piece progressed with poise and elegance.

Our Junior Orchestra then took to the stage with their conductor, Hannah. They began with an uplifting Minuet and Trio by Mozart, performed with energy and precision. This was followed by Sibelius’ Andante Festivo, a challenging but exquisitely beautiful piece. Our young musicians gave a passionate and dedicated rendition, and thoroughly expressed their love of this work.

Our Junior Orchestra ended their performance with three movements from Pamela Wedgwood’s Jazzin’ About Suite, titled ‘Take It from Here‘, ‘Black Jack’ and ‘Strawberry Flip’. Each different in style, but with a delightful energy and humour, our young musicians demonstrated their skill in complex rhythms and wonderfully varied articulations and dynamics.


Our final work of the evening saw the Symphony Orchestra return to the stage for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1. Having performed the first two movements in the Winter Concert, this performance featured the entire work. This was the first time a symphony had been performed in SPYE’s forty year history, and a proud moment for all involved. This symphony is a demanding work, both in terms of musical content and the stamina that is required, but our young musicians produced a performance with integrity and drama.

As our experienced audience members will know, we can’t have a SPYE concert without a raffle! Some beautiful prizes had been donated, and there were some excitable cheers from audience and orchestra members alike as numbers were drawn.

As we draw to the close of an academic year, we had the misfortune of having to say goodbye to some valued members of our ensemble, as they move onto the next stages of their studies. Thank you to Jenny, Daire, Fiona and Benji for the hours (and years!) of dedication you have shown to SPYE, and the beautiful music you have shared with us. We wish you all the best for the future and hope you will come to visit us at future concerts.

Thank you also to our conductors and committee members for their dedication to SPYE. And an extra thank you to the parents and carers of our young musicians for your continued support and enthusiasm.

We will soon be posting information about our 40th anniversary celebrations. Watch this space!

Notice for Parents and Carers – arrangements for Saturday’s concert

This Saturday, May 18th is the SPYE concert. It is at Jesmond United Reformed Church.

Jesmond United Reformed Church
Burdon Terrace
Newcastle upon Tyne

Please can everyone arrive for a 2.30pm rehearsal start with their instruments, a NAMED stand, pencil and a packed tea.

Doors will open for all parents / carers / grandparents / friends at 5.30pm for refreshments in the church hall. The concert will start at 6.00pm. Please don’t be offended if we don’t let you into the church before 6pm as there could be rehearsals still continuing.

The dress code is white or black tops and black trousers / skirts for the Junior Orchestra and all black for the Symphony Orchestra please.

There will be a break, but only members who are Y9 or above who have written permission ON THE DAY will be allowed out of the church.

There will be photographs taken during the rehearsals and concert for our website gallery and social media. Please let the committee know before Saturday if you do not wish for your child to be included by emailing us at

2018/19 Update

Dear All

Hope you have had, and possibly are still having, a great Summer.

We are just over a couple of weeks away from our first rehearsal (full set of dates will be emailed separately) and we need to inform you of a few changes for the coming year.

Introduction of Woodwind / Change to Constitution

Following the success of introducing woodwind at the Summer concert, we have decided to make this a permanent feature, and hopefully extend this to brass instruments.

As the original SPYE constitution was specific to benefitting string players we had to lodge a change to the constitution with The Charity Commission (please find a copy attached). I’m happy to announce that The Charity Commission have accepted the changes and all that is left for us to do is agree the amendments at the AGM (date to follow).

Fees will remain at £150.00 for the year and the cost can be spread over 2 equal payments of £75.00.

Rehearsal/Concert Format

In the past few years it has been apparent that there are a number of children missing rehearsals in the Summer term. For the older children this is often due to exam commitments, but the younger children often have additional extra-curricular activities planned in the warmer months.

After discussion with the conductors, this year we have decided to trial compressing the rehearsals into about 2½ terms and only having two concerts, one at Christmas and one before the May half-term. This will hopefully allow everyone to attend as many rehearsals as possible and provide a more consistent cohort of members throughout the year.


The date of the AGM will be September the 8th at 5.00pm (Just before the rehearsal is finished). Please come along, all are welcome.

Committee Membership

We are desperate for new committee members this year. It is imperative that we have a healthy number of committee members to help with the smooth running of the orchestras and to offer help during the rehearsals and concerts.

We have an acting chairperson who is happy to continue this role permanently from September, but there is a vacancy for Treasurer. If you are interested in helping in any way please let us know.

New Conductors

Katrina Buzzard (Woodwind and Brass)
We would like to thank Katrina for the help she gave last term with the Summer concert and welcome her to SPYE in the capacity of coaching the woodwind and brass.

Discussions are progressing in appointing a new conductor for the junior orchestra and we will inform you all once this has been finalised.

Residential Weekend

After a successful residential weekend at Kielder we are identifying a possible venue and dates for this years trip. Watch this space!