A talented teenager will be performing at venues across the country as part of a group of young musicians after impressing at auditions.
Elin Devine Douglass, who lives in the Loansdean area of Morpeth, has been awarded a place in the National Youth Orchestra (NYO) of Great Britain 2019 as one of the viola players.
She began to learn the violin at the age of seven and later took up the piano. She started playing the viola three years ago.
The 16-year-old and 163 other musicians will tour major concert halls in London, Birmingham, Nottingham and other locations in three blocks – three performances in January, three in April and two in July – that each have a different programme.
She may also be going to the USA as NYO has lined up performances in the country if it gets the required funds.
Elin first auditioned for this orchestra in 2017 and got through the first round at the Sage Gateshead to go to the second round in London, but she was not selected for the final group.
However, this year she was again successful at the Sage Gateshead initial audition and the previous year’s experience helped her when it came to round two in Manchester as she was chosen for the NYO strings section.
“In 2017, I wasn’t expecting to get to the second round, so I was pleased overall with how I did,” she said.
“Even though I was still nervous for the second round audition this year, I knew what to expect and I felt it was the best performance that I could have done on the day. I had to wait a week or so to find out and when I did, I was in a bit of shock at first.
“Then it began to sink in and I became very excited.
“We have been sent through the music to practice ourselves and we will come together to rehearse as a group between December 28 and January 3.
“I’m looking forward to seeing my friends who I know from NYO events and workshops, meeting new people and performing on the tour.
“The music we will play includes classic pieces that people will know well, but we will also be surprising audiences with more modern pieces.”
Elin, who attends Sacred Heart Catholic High School in Newcastle, auditioned after going along to free NYO Inspire days and taking part in its Inspire residencies that give youngsters a taste of playing as an ensemble with NYO musicians.
She added: “They helped to build up the skills I needed to feel confident in applying for the NYO and the experienced members give you a lot of encouragement.
“This is very important because being part of the orchestra feels unreachable at first, but the encouragement really helps you to believe it is possible.”