County Ensembles

Playing a musical instrument, and performing with others, is a rewarding, enjoyable and valuable skill. Find out more about the ensembles we offer and how to apply.

If you think your child would benefit from joining one of our ensembles, click on the 'ensemble application' form below to apply for academic year 2020-21.

Act now to get involved in our Online Ensembles! 

We have an exciting opportunity for young musicians in Northumberland and we’d love you to be a part of it. 

We are moving our ensembles online and working towards a virtual concert on 16th December.  
There will be a series of live, online rehearsals for each group where you will receive expert tuition to help you prepare for the concert. You will get supporting resources to help you learn the music, backing tracks to practise along to and instructions on how to record your own part for the virtual concert. The rehearsals will also be recorded, so even if you can’t attend the session, you’ll be able to watch it in your own time. 

Secure your place in three simple steps: 
  1. Click here to apply   
  2. Complete the parental consent form, scan and return to  
  3. Click here and select pay ensemble fees to make payment (fees for each ensemble are listed below) 
To take part in all the sessions, you will need to complete these steps by Friday 16th October.

Once you’ve done this, we will be in touch to schedule the sessions and get started. We hope will be an exciting new opportunity to showcase the amazing musical talent in our region. 
Remember that students will be recorded, and the final performance shared on social media. Please take this into account when making your decision to be involved in this project. 

The 5 ensembles available are: 
The Northumbrian Ranters – fiddle, flute, Northumbrian Pipes, cello, harp, accordion, percussion, concertina, guitar and keyboard play traditional/folk music (Entry: Fiddle - grade 3 or equivalent.  Flute - grade 5 or equivalent) £35 for the term 

Northumberland Youth Ensemble – suitable for strings, brass, woodwind, or percussion. (Entry: Grade 2 or equivalent) £35 for the term 

Hoolies - for singers/vocalists of all ages and abilities. £35 for the term 

Young Pipers Group – any Northumbrian small pipe player is welcome to join and play traditional tunes and have fun.  £20 for the term (kindly subsidised by Alnwick Pipers Society) 

Bedlington Community and Youth Brass Band – Students or adults playing cornet, flugelhorn, tenor horn, baritone, euphonium, trombone, or tuba are welcome to join this group and make music together. £10 for the term (subsidised by The Bedlington Community Brass Band)

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.
  • Entry: Fiddle - grade 3 or equivalent.  Flute - grade 5 or equivalent. (for all other instruments please email below)
  • Rehearsals: tbc
  • Cost: £ tbc
  • Contact:
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?  

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 6-6.45pm,  Full Band 6.45-8.30pm
  • Cost: FREE!  a small donation at each rehearsal is requested
  • Contact:

This ensemble is a community based project and accepts applications from both students and adults to join together to rehearse and perform. They actively recruit students who are or have been involved in a school based brass band project or mini band. Click here to view the virtual Miners Picnic performance 2020!


Bedlington Brass Band members performing at the
annual Miners Picnic event held at Woodhorn Museum.
The aim of this group is to encourage young Northumbrian pipers to share their enthusiasm and skills with others from across the county. They meet for a workshop session once every half term on a Saturday morning and the group is open to any student in full time education. Workshops are built around what the students want to achieve, rehearsing for performance, or even just to socialise.  This initiative is possible through partnership working of MPN and The Northumbrian Pipers Society.

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. 

The Hoolies accept students of all abilities between the age of 7-18 and will meet 6 times per year.
Northumberland Youth Voices group practising singing
This FREE ceilidh band for beginner young musicians is made possible through funding from the North East Endowment for Music Traditions Fund. It will be delivered in partnership with Music Partnership North and the Coquetdale Music Trust.
Once your application has been received, further information will be issued. Due to the current COVID-19 situation some details are waiting to be finalised and you will not be asked to confirm your child's place or pay until all relevant information and costs have been provided.

Full details for each ensemble can also be found here

Families who are applying for two or more places in any ensembles are entitled to a 10% discount. All students are required to apply each year to join, including current members.

Financial support may be available in certain cases, applications must be made in writing, in confidence to