A BASINGSTOKE student has been selected for a new, national orchestral project run by the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (NYO).

In previous years, NYO was a group of 164 young musicians who represented the incredible passion and dedication of the UK’s teenagers, playing across the country in schools and concert halls.

But this year, things are different. NYO has invited every teenager in the UK playing an instrument at Grade 6 standard to take part in its musical activities.

Hannah Crowdy, a year 12 student at Peter Symonds College, is one of 600 musicians participating in the NYO Lift Off project.

The 17-year-old started playing the oboe in April 2012 at school.

She said: “I picked it because my auntie had one that I could use to start with so my parents didn’t have to buy or hire one for me.

“My favourite thing about playing the oboe is the sound it makes, the extensive repertoire there is to have a go at and being able to play with others on ensembles such as orchestras. It’s really fun because often the oboe part has all the best bits!”

Hannah has been playing in groups for a number of years, starting with her school orchestra and progressing onto bigger groups including Basingstoke Area Youth Wind Orchestra and Youth Orchestra (BAYWO and BAYO. In 2019, she also joined the Hampshire-wide ensembles.

She told the Gazette that not being able to play in groups over the past year has been really difficult.

“I have missed out on a lot of opportunities music wise for the last year, as has everyone who is involved,” said Hannah.

“I get a lot of my motivation to play from playing with others, and as a result when everything was cancelled I lost motivation to practice for quite a long time over the summer. There was nothing to aim towards.”

However, things have improved recently and Hannah was excited to be invited to the BYO project.

“Joining college and being able to play with others again, as well as meeting my new teacher and getting a new perspective on my playing really helped me get going with practice,” she said.

“[NYO lift off] was one of the first nods towards things going back to normal again and the possibility of playing with other people in person again. Obviously the workshop was online this time, but it was really well done and it almost felt like we were playing with others in person again. Hopefully next time it will be in person!”

She added: “NYO encourage you to improvise and see how many different sounds you can make on your instrument to convey different emotions in a slightly less conventional way. This is something I hadn’t really thought about or done before doing the workshop.”

Hannah took part in the project on February 13, but the project has been going on on various dates throughout the month.

Every day, for 16 days, musicians from different parts of the country are meeting online to learn a brand new piece, composed by Dani Howard, titled Jigsaw.

The groups are established by connecting musicians who are local to each other, and the musicians will pass the baton around the country over the course of the two weeks.

The piece is being performed, live, at 5pm every day, with musicians recording their parts and sending them to NYO to be stitched together, so the full performance from each day can be shared.

It is designed to be played by any combination of musicians, so every day, musicians can meet others from their local area and share a performance together, even when concert halls are shut.

While Hannah has decided she probably won’t pursue music as a career, she hopes to continue her love for orchestral playing at an amateur level.