Schools orchestra European tour

Students perform on their European trip.

Returning from a whirlwind European tour with 100 young musicians who performed five concerts in 14 days, you'd expect the instrumental music conductor to be exhausted.

But the arts unit's Steve Williams has never felt more alive.

"I wish I could do it all over again right now! Reality has bitten me badly. I could seriously be on tour for the rest of my life," Mr Williams said.

"I can honestly say that I have never had a more enjoyable and musically memorable time. Everyone was fantastic to work with, both musically and socially.

"It was simply a fabulous time to be around such talented young people, who were all great ambassadors for our country, and of whom, I'm very proud."

The NSW Public Schools Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Wind Ensemble workshopped and performed in Salzburg and Vienna (Austria), Budapest (Hungary), Hodonin, Karlovy Vary and Prague (Czech Republic) and Ulm (Germany).

And in between performances, the students immersed themselves in the culture and atmosphere of Europe including attending Mozart, Strauss and Beethoven concerts, visiting palaces, cathedrals and castles, reliving the Sound of Music and generally just having a wonderful time.

Relieving manager of the arts unit, John Benson said he had never been involved with a group of students who were so committed to the task at hand and were so proud of what they had achieved.

The students all took back with them special memories.

"The experiences of performing and doing master classes with renowned conductors has helped me look at music in a different way and understand the music I'm playing a lot better. Also, thanks to the help of the conductors ... I got a different view on what music is, rather than notes on a page."          - Marc Valpiani

"I think the arts unit and the tour is special because we're all young students and have this exuberance and I think it really comes through in the music ... At the last concert in Ulm, everything just came together and sounded really inspired." - Samuel Gill

"Europe has really opened my eyes as to what else is out there in the world. It was such a wonderful and fulfilling place ... Thank you for including me in this adventure."
- Adam Parker

"The tour and the arts unit are special because of the attitude of the tutors and the players, and the life that the conductors bring to us (the orchestra)." - Nina Dodd

"What is so special about the arts unit? Good tutors and people who inspire us. Everyone works hard and wants to put on a good performance every concert. It's a great atmosphere where we learn and work hard together."     - Michaela Castagnone

Photo by Wendy Pritchard.

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Further information

Watch an audio slideshow of the tour.