Mel receives a Special Mention

Mel Le Breuilly surrounded by orchestral sheet music

We’re pleased to announce that our Music Director, Mel Le Breuilly, has been given a special mention in the Making Music Awards 2022 for Best Music Director! Details of all the shortlisted nominees can be found here, along with how to join the free online ceremony on Thursday 22nd September:

We’re so very proud of her achievement in this hotly contested category!

Our nomination for Best Music Director was borne from the exceptional work that Mel did, starting in lockdown, but continuing into 2021 which was the period the award covered. Our nomination appears below along with a quote from Jennifer Ellis who provided a testimonial.

We’re also really delighted to share the excitement of the awards with our friends, Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra, who are in the final shortlist for the ‘Best project with a focus on new music’. We’re really looking forward to sharing a stage with them on 29th October to premiere Caitlin Harrison’s ‘From Dawn to Dreams’, as part of Making Music’s ‘Adopt a Music Creator’ project.

Best Music Director Award

Mel took on her first ever MD role at RYO in 2019.

During lockdowns, Mel kept the group together socially and musically with mini virtual projects, running rehearsals with small arrangements for the available players and put out several videos on YouTube. Mel managed the music, and the technology for these initially but subsequently worked alongside one of the young members to support their future aspirations.

In 2021, Mel took the decision to break away from the organisation which had financially supported the group for many years. Mel rewrote our constitution and led a decision to apply to become a CIO, putting RYO financially and musically independent for the first time; and we joined Making Music.

Throughout the year, Mel’s musical brilliance shone as she worked with members to plan and arrange music which suited the experience of our players, taking on Saint Saens’ Danse Macabre with a young soloist, first virtually then via in person rehearsals and a virtual performance. She supports the young people to write, play and perform engaging and exciting music, whilst bringing them together as a social group in really difficult times. They all love her, and we are blessed to have secured such talent!

Testimonial – Jennifer Ellis, 17

Mel is incredible! She has helped me develop my confidence as a player and a performer by giving me the opportunity to have solo lines within pieces, and providing the friendly, welcoming space that allows me to ask if I can’t get my head around a rhythm, or I find a part too tricky. She also chooses a wide repertoire for us to play, from fun, catchy folk songs, to more challenging movements from longer pieces. Mel has also helped me grow as a musician by assisting me with and letting me arrange pieces for the orchestra to play, which also helps my A Level Music course, as it boosts my confidence when it comes to writing for different instruments and allows me to be more ambitious.I am so grateful for all the opportunities RYO has given me, none of which would have been possible without the wonderful Mel!