WYJO have performed at an impressive number of events and venues around the region including the Pershore and Upton jazz festivals, Huntingdon Hall, The Swan, the No.8 and Artrix theatres, Caldwell Castle, Himley Hall and big band weekends in Hayling Island and Weston-Super-Mare. Averaging 10 public performances a year throughout the county and further afield, the band has performed with Bruce Adams, John Ruddick MBE, Trevor Emney, Pete Long, Mark Nightingale, and Julian Siegel.
2009 saw WYJO touring abroad - playing 5 gigs in 4 days in Holland, Germany and Belgium - as well as recording the music for an episode of a Dutch TV show "Dip & Dap". The long awaited WYJO CD, "The Horn Ultimatum" was released in 2010. WYJO2 was started in 2008 to feed the main WYJO and continues to go from strength to strength.
Where & when does WYJO & WYJO2 rehearse?
Both WYJO and WYJO2 rehearse at the Royal British Legion Club, Salwarpe Road, Droitwich on Tuesday evenings in term time. WYJO rehearses from 7:30 pm to 9:45 pm (this may occasionally be extended to 10:00 pm with occasional extra rehearsals if required). WYJO2 (the intermediate WYJO) rehearses from 6:00 pm to 7:20 pm.
What's the minimum standard for players?
In order to join WYJO, you need to play at least Grade 6* or above and should be prepared to have a go at improvising. If you're not yet at this level, you may be eligible to join WYJO2, which is the intermediate big band. The standard for WYJO2 is between grade 4* and 6*. All players in WYJO2 are expected to try improvising. Auditions are normally held in the summer and are arranged through Worcestershire Youth Music (WYM). You are welcome to sit in on a rehearsal first at any time as a way of deciding whether WYJO/WYJO2 suits you. Do contact Ian to find out more or to arrange to come along! *All grades levels are approximate*
Does WYJO perform Concerts and Gigs?
Yes! Public performance is very important to WYJO and WYJO2 and ensures real commitment from players to develop a professional standard of performance. The Gigs page on WYJO's website has details of all gigs.
Who can I contact to ask about WYJO?
Ian Hattersley - 07949 591902 or email address via website
What kind of music does WYJO play?
WYJO and WYJO2 plays a varied repertoire of music from jazz standards to arrangements of pop tunes.
Do I have to come every session?
Yes and No. No - because occasionally other things get in the way and we are understanding when there are reasonable circumstances that prevent you from attending (you must contact the Musical Director in advance). However, it's mostly a Yes because significant commitment to WYJO and WYJO2 is expected, including playing at gigs where you have agreed in advance. If you can't make a gig, please say so at the time of the offer, not a few days before! During the examinations period, WYJO and WYJO2 rehearsals continue. If you have an exam the following day, we understand if you request to miss that rehearsal, but this should be no more than two consecutive weeks otherwise the continuity is lost and it's not fair on others in the band.
What instruments are in WYJO and do you have vocalists?
WYJO has a classic 'Big Band' instrumentation:
alto, tenor and baritone saxophone - sometimes doubling on clarinet and/or flute
tenor and bass trombone
double bass/bass guitar
drum kit and percussion
Vocalists are welcome for styles that include singing jazz and Big Band standards. Please contact Ian to find out more.
Membership is open to players aged between 10 and 25.
Please arrive in good time for a prompt start to rehearsals and don't forget to bring a music stand.
From Graham. "The band needs to be set up really by 7.30, so you need to arrive by 7.00, rhythm a bit earlier of course. The address of the Hyatt is 2 Bridge Street, Birmingham, B1 2JZ. WYJO are playing straight after the first dance which will be around 7.45, until 9pm which is when the disco starts. After 9pm you are all more than welcome to help yourselves to the buffet and stay for the disco. The disco will run until about 12.30. Don't worry about wearing your blacks, wear something that you'd normally wear to a wedding evening reception (so nice dresses etc)".
If you can't make the rehearsal, don't forget to let Ian know
David Turner - 13/7/2011 - The Artrix Theatre
My wife and I attended this concert
purely for the music, not being related to band members in any way. I
am 81 years of age, a jazz and swing fanatic since I was 14. I was
buying 78's of Goodman, The Dorseys, Basie, Herman and Miller. In
those days I remember two of the record companies, Parlophone being
one, used to issue one jazz or swing 78 per month. I have still got
78s by Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt and others.
Over the years I have attended many live big band performances including Kenton, Basie, Ellington ansd Buddy Rich, but seldom have I been so excited as I was this evening. I became very emotional because I was so aware that all these fine young musicians were carrying forward the music traditions that I grew up with. The furure of big band music seems to be very safe in their hands.
Thank you, Ian Hattersley for all the enthusiasm and sheer hard work that you put in. Some years ago I went to two or three rehearsals of your then big band in Finstall Village Hall and realised just what hard work it is to get something to work so very well.
Lastly, Trevor Emeny was terrific. I last saw him thirty years ago when I was President of Bromsgrove Lions Club and talked him into organising a big band concert by young musicians. This was in 1981 in the Dolphin Suite in Bromsgrove. He was a great guy and a fine musician then and tonight proved that he has just got better and better.
Thanks again to everybody responsible for this super concert but most especially to all those fine, talented and enthusiastic boys and girls that made up the two orchestras. You are all phenomenal !
Isidre Freixas - 8/6/2011 I have received your CD, and it is a pleasure for me to transmit my sincere congratulations for your superlative work and for the swing and enthusiastic job of the young and wonderful musicians of the band. I very much enjoyed listening to your music, plenty of swing! Ian, I hope in the near future to receive news of the second album of this great WORCESTERSHIRE YOUTH JAZZ ORCHESTRA. In my opinion this orchestra have splendid future, until the next. Best regards and congratulations from Spain.
Richard Mayhew - 19/3/2011 Please convey my great appreciation and thanks to WYJO members tonight. They were marvelous on Saturday, and I have received so many expressions of thanks and appreciation from people who attended our celebrations. Apart from their very obvious talents, people have remarked on the real pleasure that members showed as they played. The evening was a great success, but it was WYJO that made it so and for that we shall remain for ever grateful. Best wishes to all.
Melvyn Docker - 7/9/2010 "Despite the rain on Sunday afternoon last, the audience in Priory Park, Malvern were given a good 2 hours of rousing big band/jazz music by WYJO. There was music well played, vocals well sung and action adding to the visual appeal of the afternoons show. The best of 'Music in the Park' performances I have seen/heard this year. I hope they will return next year. The CD on sale is also excellent - and my web purchase arrived promptly and in good condition."
The Grenz Echo - 22/7/2009
Great on stage performance at 'Summer in the City.'
The young English people were able to demonstrate their versatility due to the varied selection of different genres chosen. Be it Jazz standards such as Duke Ellington's 'In a Mellow Tone', 'Lady be Good' from the George Gershwin musical of the same name, or the old favourite 'Quando, Quando' by Englebert Humpadinck, the 24 young musicians from Worcester , England, offered a genre-spanning program of music, with their 'Summer in the City' concert on Sunday afternoon, which was highly enjoyed by a large crowd. The organisers, Eupen's Cultural Office, were lucky for two reasons: The Worcester Youth Jazz Orchestra turned out to be a real find, due to the abilities of the talented, budding musicians, besides, the heavens did not open. The concert was performed on stage in the dry, except during 'Singing in the Rain,' throughout which numerous umbrellas were opening, as if on command. The organisers could not have hoped for better. The young people (aged between 16 and 22) were able to demonstrate their versatility due to the varied selection of different genres chosen. Swing, Blues, Latin, Reggae and even Funk were played side-by-side with Jazz standards. With a steady, powerful groove, but also playing together with discipline, they really went to town on the Klotzerbahn. In the course of their performance, they showed off some of their multitalented members: the soon-to-be 18 year old Joe played alto saxophone and sang some Frank Sinatra; Trombonist Lydia interpreted hits from musicals and was convincingly sassy at the front of the stage, as a Rock'n'roll interlude. Stephen, the baritone saxophone player, tap-danced like there was no tomorrow and earned great applause by moon-walking in the style of Michael Jackson. Only the presentation by Jim McKeane in English had greater entertainment value: the young man had evidently prepared himself well for Eupen, and greeted the crowd in 'the Capital of German in Belgium.'
Under the direction of Ian Hattersly, the Orchestra, is made up of music students and students alike, who are almost universally trying to make careers as working musicians. At present, the band finds itself on tour in the Netherlands and in Germany. Eupen was scheduled as a detour via a contact of the best known local musician, Harald Mathie. It was incidentally the leaving concert for half of the musicians, before they carry on with their careers.
What was most characteristic was the enthusiasm, so that you could tell that they were still having fun playing music, even after the encore, which lasted more than half an hour. The Big Band ended with 'New York, New York,' to an uncontrollably enthusiastic crowd.
(English Translation by James McKeane)
Bruce Adams - 15/7/2010 - The Artrix Theatre "Just to say how much I enjoyed the other night. I thought both bands played really well, and that you have a lot of talent there. Also the kids are really nice to work with"
Mrs X - 15/10/2006 - Hayling Island "I didn't think I was going to like that, but I really enjoyed it".
Bruce Adams - 08/09/2006 - Pershore Jazz Festival "Truly inspirational"
Mark Nightingale - 12/07/2006 - Swan Theatre "Working with WYJO was a tremendously positive experience. The band pulled out all the stops and really rose to the occasion for our concert at the Swan Theatre. WYJO is a credit to the county, and a great asset to current and future generations of young musicians in Worcestershire."
Lorraine Beasley - 12/07/2006 - Swan Theatre "I was very impressed, the performance was so professional"
Jill Hopkins, Worcester News - 01/03/2006 - Huntingdon Hall "Playing big band jazz with enthusiasm and considerable expertise, the two dozen or so youthful musicians of WYJO under the direction of Ian Hatersley brought a breath of of fresh air to the lunchtime concert of Worcester Concert Club"
WYJO & WYJO2 both rehearse at the Droitwich British Legion Club from 6-7:20pm and 7.30-9.30pm on Tuesdays, and most of us share lifts.
To raise funds, WYJO has an online affiliate shop. If you plan to buy online from HMV, Amazon, Ebay, M&S and more, please visit their sites by clicking our affiliate link rather than typing their site addresses directly. You pay the same price, but we get a cut for recommending you! Visit shop
WYJO couldn't exist without its more-than-dedicated band leader Ian Hattersley, and assistant Percy Pursglove. The following companies have also provided us with all sorts of help and support.