Meet the Youth Opera Company

The Silver Birch Youth Company met for the first time at Cressex Community School during the Easter Holidays for an intensive course of rehearsals. Over three days the company explored Roxanna Panufnik's music for the first time with vocal director Suzi Zumpe, and set some of their scenes with movement director Natasha Khamjani. Some of the Youth Company have taken part in summer projects over the past few years, a few took part in our community opera Road Rage in the Primary Company and we welcome some as newcomers to Garsington Opera.

Over the recent half term week they met again, this time with director Karen Gillingham added to the team, and they were the first in the Silver Birch Company to work on part of the actual set which was specially constructed in the rehearsal room.

Meet some of the participants:

Devon Year 9 from Wycombe High School
I performed as a fox when at Stokenchurch Primary School in the opera Road Rage. I’ve taken part regularly in the summer Youth Opera Company workshops, performing in The Creation, Mighty Oaks Academy and at least one other! I do Drama GCSE and also perform as part of the Lane End Players.

What do you like best: Everyone shares a common interest – it’s good to come together with everyone and gain a sense of joint accomplishment.

Georgio Year 12 Licensed Victuallers School, Ascot
I’ve never done anything outside school before but love opera and have singing lessons. My singing teacher told me about the opportunity.    

What do you like best:  I really enjoy singing and the physical feeling of singing – all the vibrations! I also like being part of a bigger group – never been in anything this big before and I love these guys.

Carlos Year 9, The Misbourne
I’m doing GCSE Music and I play the electric and acoustic guitar in a band at school: we play at school events. I’ve not done much singing before but I have taken part in two school productions, including Bugsy Malone. Garsington Opera came to do a workshop at school and I auditioned for Silver Birch following that.

What do you like best:  I enjoy meeting new people and making new friends.

Ellen Year 10, Oxford High School GDST
I do GCSE Drama and I’m also part of some a-cappella groups. I dance outside school and have classes of ballet and modern; this dance style is not the same, but it’s good to do something different. I’m also a member of CCF although we’ve stopped for the summer now.

What do you like best: I’m enjoying re-enacting the military scenes and being precise. It’s good to bring my CCF experience to life in a different way. 

Nikola Year 11 Cressex Community School
I’ve taken part in Garsington Opera projects before when they’ve come to our school, including the Foley project with Pinewood earlier this year. I’m doing my GCSE’s at the moment. I’ve done performing arts at school, but have finished this now. I don’t have time to do much else. 

What do you like best: I love meeting new people and this gives me an opportunity to perform to a lot of people and be part of something big and amazing.