We started with a rehearsal on Tuesday where we went through all of the pieces the ensemble were going to play on the tour, making sure every detail was perfect.

On Wednesday morning, we visited our first school of the tour, Winchelsea School in Poole. It was a fantastic place to start our tour. Each child had a tick list of things to look out for in the ensemble and one of our favourite moments was seeing a student fashion himself a violin out of a small whiteboard and marker pen, using the pen to bow along the whiteboard for the whole concert.

Our afternoon was spent at Victoria Education Centre, also in Poole. We were delighted to finally get the whole ensemble here to perform a concert as the school have been a fantastic supporter of the ensemble since they began.

We played to the whole school including members of the National Open Youth Orchestra (NOYO), the worlds first disabled-led national youth orchestra, of which we’re also a project partner.

Thursday was a day to visit two schools in Corfe Mullen; Lockyer’s Middle School and Henbury View First School. Along with our visit to Lockyer’s Middle School, we also welcomed James Ingham, reporter for BBC South Today to create a piece about the ensemble and their tour. The Q&A session was extraordinary; there were so many great questions that we just didn’t have time to answer them all!

We then visited Henbury View to play to a younger, but no less inquisitive audience. We had some unique questions to keep us on our toes including ‘Have we ever played for the Queen?’ and ‘Do we play at kayaking events?’. A big thank you to the staff who leant us their staff room as a green room (with some delicious cookies).

Friday came along very quickly and the last 2 schools of our tour. We were back in Poole for the day and visited Oakdale Junior School and Longfleet Combined School. The students at Oakdale Junior School were a fantastic audience with many taking the opportunity to meet the ensemble and get a closer look at their instruments.

Our visit to Longfleet Combined School in the afternoon ended our tour on a very colourful note! The students were having a non-uniform day for Children In Need so it was great to look out into the audience and see a sea of colour, sparkles, Pudsey ears and even, pink hair. The students had been learning about disability in their lessons before our visit so had lots of very thoughtful questions to ask the ensemble after the performance.
As quickly as it had come around, it was over and what a success it was!

Over 3 days, BSO Resound had played in 6 schools to over 1000 children and hopefully inspired just as many in the process to either take up an instrument or just believe that they too can achieve what each member of Resound has achieved.

The tour marked 6 months since I began working at the BSO and with BSO Resound and it’s been truly life changing. Not only have I ticked some things off my bucket list (e.g. to work at the Royal Albert Hall), I’ve also been able to be a small part of changing the perception of disability in the arts, something I’ve found a challenge myself personally.

If you read my last blog on BSO Resound’s Summer Schools’ Tour, you’ll know that I have Type 1 diabetes. Working with the BSO has given me the chance to finally be viewed as equal to any other co-ordinator in the industry. No-one bats an eyelid when I test my blood sugar, use my insulin pump or just have to take a break and it’s meant that I can fully be comfortable with my disability for the first time in my career.

At the BSO, I know it won’t count against me and I won’t be treated any differently to anyone else.

I can’t wait to see what the next 6 months will hold for me and BSO Resound at the BSO because I know that, whatever it is, I’ll be proud to be a part of it.

Alison Holmes, BSO Participate Co-ordinator