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Melbourne Youth Orchestras turns 50 but it’s still young at heart

Simon Plant, June 28, 2017 5:50PM Herald Sun

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reading level green

Reading level: green

MUSIC spans generation gaps and trumpeter Hillel Benedykt and violinist Ella Whittaker are proof of that.

Nine-year-old Ella is one of the younger members of Melbourne Youth Orchestras (MYO) while Hillel, 62, played trumpet with the company way back in the early 1970s.

So when we brought them together, ahead of a 50th anniversary MYO concert this weekend, the pair did what comes naturally and played beautiful music.

The MYO is a Victorian arts organisation dedicated to “enriching young lives through the power of music.”

Melbourne Youth Orchestra media_cameraMYO members mucking about. Picture: Jason Sammon

An orchestra is a group of instrumentalists, often combining string, woodwind, brass, and percussion sections, playing classical music.

MYO chief executive Dorian Jones said the young musicians are there for the love of the art.

“We have hundreds of students in nine ensembles — the youngest aged eight, the oldest 25 — and every one of them is there because they love it,” he said.

Musical work ‘New Worlds’ will be performed at the Melbourne Recital Centre and feature MYO’s flagship ensemble the Melbourne Youth Orchestra.

They will play under the baton* of maestro* conductor Steven Hillinger.

Marking half a century of music making, MYO students will also give “surprise performances’’ at the State Library in September and a gala* concert in November.

Melbourne Youth Orchestra media_cameraPlaying in Federation Square. Picture: supplied

Jones said: “We’re going to have a lot of young people on stage. The challenge now is to get just as many young people in the audience.’’

For more information visit the website:


baton: stick used by conductor

maestro: distinguished conductor or performer

gala: special event



Activity 1.
Create a full-page advertisement for the Melbourne Youth Orchestras.
The purpose of your ad is to encourage as many kids as possible to come to the 50th anniversary concert.


In the story you read about the different types of instruments in an orchestra.
Find out more about the orchestra.

Use the information that you have found to write a guide to the orchestra.
Your guide should be one page and outline the most important facts about orchestras.

Time: allow 105 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: Visual Communication Design, Media Arts, Music

Activity 2.
What is your favourite song or piece of music?

Write a list of at least five reasons why you like it so much.


Imagine that you are a journalist for Kids News and you’ve been sent out to interview Ella Whittaker, the violinist in the story.
You want to know why she enjoys playing the violin and what it is like to be part of the Melbourne Youth Orchestras.

Write at least six questions that you would ask Ella and the answers that you think that she would give you.

Hint: you might want to find out more about playing the violin and what it’s like to play in an orchestra!

Time: allow 50 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: Music, English, Media Arts


Adding a VCOP link into Activity 2

In activity 2, you were asked to write 5 reasons why you like a piece of music. In order to do this, you will need to use connectives to explain your reasons and to give further information- because, when, so, hence, therefore… highlight what you have used in pink. Are they all the same? Can you up-level any of them?

In the extension activity, you were asked to write 6 questions for Ella. Did you remember to start your questions with a capital letter and end with a question mark? Highlight all your punctuation in green.







Extra Reading in reading level green