County Ensembles

Find out more about the ensembles we offer and how to apply.

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We are delighted that our ensembles are now rehearsing 'in person' again. New members are welcome to join!

  • Click on the drop down boxes below - to find more details about each of the music groups, including their rehearsal dates and venues
  • Then scroll further down the page to see how to join

During the pandemic, it wasn't possible to rehearse 'in person' and so we moved online. Watch our online concerts to hear the types of music the various groups play:
 

Unity Through Music 1 Online Ensemble Concert - Watch here

Unity Through Music 2 Online Ensemble Concert - Watch here

​Here are just a few of the comments we received from parents: 
 
"My child loved being able to play with other musicians despite covid restrictions!"
 
"It really helped my daughter feel less isolated. Music is her only extra-curricular activity and these groups were wonderful for her mentally!"
 
We're excited to now be back rehearsing 'in person' and look forward to doing live performances!
 
Richard Johnstone with students Tilly and Sophie standing next to the High SheriffRichard Johnstone next to students Tilly and Sophie in front of Cheesburn Sculpture
Richard Johnstone from Music Partnership North, supported by students Tilly and Sophie from the Young Pipers Group, welcomed guests to the High Sheriff of Northumberland's summer festival at Cheeseburn Sculpture.

Do you play fiddle, flute, Northumbrian pipes, cello, harp, accordion, percussion, concertina, guitar, or keyboard?

The Northumbrian Ranters are made up of talented young musicians from Northumberland and Newcastle. Their aim is to promote and raise the profile of traditional music both in the county and further afield. They meet for eight evening rehearsals throughout the year at a central location, 6 - 8.30pm. There will also be two whole day weekend rehearsals. Click here for dates. New members may be asked to come for a short informal audition. 
  • Entry: Fiddle - grade 3 or equivalent.  Flute - grade 5 or equivalent. (for all other instruments please email below)
  • Cost: £195 per year
  • Contact: rachel.robbins@northumberland.gov.uk
This ensemble requires a level of commitment and dedication, as the group are involved in high profile performances throughout the year. Students are required to sing together, and will also have the opportunity to participate in traditional experiences such as clog dancing.

Click here to watch The Northumbrian Ranters and Alistair Anderson performing in Berwick Upon Tweed
 
"My daughter has had lots of fun making new friends. The experience has been very important to her musical development. Lots of opportunities -concerts, residential weekends and tours to Scotland – amazing!"

"As a parent, so many opportunities to watch and feel so very proud! Thanks to all the staff –  it would not have been possible without you!"

Do you play strings, brass, woodwind, or percussion?  Would you like to meet other young musicians and learn to play new and exciting music? Would you like to improve your playing and perform in concerts?  

The Northumberland Youth Ensemble meet for eight evening rehearsals throughout the year at a central location, 6 - 8pm. There will also be two whole day weekend rehearsals. Click here for dates. New members are invited to come and meet the ensemble staff prior to the first rehearsal.
 
  • Entry: Grade 3 or equivalent  (We do not like to turn anyone away so please contact us, requirements are more around experience than grade!)
  • Cost: £165 per year
  • Contact: rachel.robbins@northumberland.gov.uk
Students are accepted into this ensemble at any point throughout the academic year.
Northumberland Youth Ensemble - Practice 
Northumberland Youth Ensemble - Practice 2

Do you play the cornet, flugelhorn, tenor horn, baritone, euphonium, trombone, or tuba?

Click here to find out more about joining us!
 
  • Rehearsals: Bedlington Community Centre, Tuesday evenings (term time only)
  • Made up of 2 sessions: Trainer Band 6pm to 6.45pm,  Full Band 6.45pm to 8.30pm
  • Click here for rehearsal dates.
  • Cost: FREE!  a small donation at each rehearsal is requested
  • Contact: rachel.robbins@northumberland.gov.uk


Click here to view the virtual Miners Picnic performance 2020!

This ensemble is a community based project and accepts applications from both children and adults to come together to rehearse and perform. They actively recruit children and adults who want to play brass band music in a fun and supportive environment. The evening is made up of two band rehearsals. The 6pm band is the first step to playing in a brass band and specifically supports students who are playing in a school mini brass band or whole class brass project. If you're a bit more experienced then come and join the full band rehearsal.

Bedling Brass band Trainer band - Free membership
Young Pipers Group logo
  • Instrument: Northumbrian small pipes
  • Cost: TBC - sponsorship dependant
  • Entry: it is expected that students have been playing for at least one year.
  • Contact: rachel.robbins@northumberland.gov.uk
This initiative is possible through partnership working of MPN and The Northumbrian Pipers Society.

Morpeth Bagpipe Museum is the setting for this Northumbrian pipes ensemble, which brings young pipers from across the county together for a series of workshops. The aim of the group is to encourage players, no matter what level of playing, to share enthusiasm and skills with other young pipers. The workshops are built around what the students want to achieve. They may want to focus on rehearsing for a performance or have a specific skill learning workshop or even just to socialise, the decision is theirs. They meet for three workshop days throughout the year, 10.30 - 12.

The Hoolies are an exciting new group of enthusiastic vocal students whose aim is to build on the positive work of school choirs and vocal projects.

The group brings together vocalists of all abilities from across the county to sing a wide variety of music from all over the world. Over time, this will also give more advanced singers the opportunity to develop their own vocal leadership skills and play a part in shaping the direction of the group. Hoolies is the dynamic MPN youth choir and our aim is to build on the positive work done by school choirs and our vocal projects.

The Hoolies accept students of all abilities between the age of 7-18 and will meet 6 times per year. Click here for rehearsal dates. 
  • Rehearsals: 6 evening rehearsals throughout the year at a central location, 6-7.30pm.
  • Age: 7-18 all ability levels welcome!
  • Cost: £75 per year
  • Contact: rachel.robbins@northumberland.gov.uk
Northumberland Youth Voices group practising singing
Once your application has been received, we will email you with further information and ask you to fill in a parental consent form, which will need to be completed before your child can attend the rehearsals. 


Ensemble Policies

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Please note that strict Covid guidelines are in operation at all rehearsals. Students may be photographed, recorded and shown on social media so please take this into account when making your decision to be involved in the ensembles. If you would like to discuss any of these policies in more detail, email Fiona.Johnstone@northumberland.gov.uk