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City of Belfast Youth Orchestra

Former Member Profile No. 8 Jonny Thompson Tuba 2005-2011

Every few weeks we will be profiling a former member of CBYO and catching up with what they have been doing since leaving the orchestra. We aim to start with recent members and work back through the last 59 years !

Profile No.8 Jonny Thompson - Tuba 2005-2011

My name is Jonny Thompson and I had the privilege of being a tuba player in the CBYO for six seasons, from 2005 until 2011. It is hard to believe that nearly ten years have elapsed since I first auditioned. My first season was under the baton of Paul McBride with Robert undertaking his new role of CBYO manager in what was the orchestra's 50th anniversary year.

Looking back always brings back good memories. I had the privilege of taking part in two European concert tours and two Youth Proms held in the Royal Albert Hall. Participating in any one of these would have been a joy, but to have been involved in all of these high profile events was thrilling.

With hindsight I can say that this period of six years was when I developed most as a musician. While that was in part undoubtedly attributable to my fantastic tuba teachers at CBSM, I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to Paul and Robert. Along with the team of dedicated tutors, they sacrificed their Saturday mornings to make the CBYO what it was and continues to be. I also had the opportunity to serve on the orchestra's student committee for a number of years. Being a member of the committee enabled me to develop and improve skills in teamwork and organisation - both of which have already proved to be invaluable during training for my chosen career.

If I had to chose one particular memory from my time with the orchestra, it would without doubt be from the 2009-2010 season, when I performed an arrangement of Czardas for tuba and string orchestra. Needless to say it kept me busy for several months prior to the concert and took many hours of practice before I could (just about!) play it. Performing it with the orchestra in the Ulster Hall will, for me, remain the highlight of my time in CBYO.

To the current members of the CBYO, all I would say is that they should endeavour to make the most of their time in the orchestra. Whilst it is often hard work, the opportunities to learn and be part of a first class youth orchestra are fantastic. Sadly my time with the orchestra and also my time playing the tuba came to an end in the Summer of 2011. Music has always been and will continue to be a passion of mine but I chose to follow my other passion when I embarked on a training course to become a commercial airline pilot. Having graduated from the course a little over a year ago, I have since started a programme for young pilots run by and this coming winter will begin operating as a pilot for the company. I will always have fond memories of CBYO and look forward to perhaps having them on board a flight at some point as they embark on a future concert tour!

Posted by robert.briscoe on the Tuesday, 26 August 2014