Valley Orchestra to Perform in England and Wales

news-orchestra2013The Valley High School and Valley Southwoods orchestras are keeping the Olympic Dreams Live program alive in the district as they travel to England and Wales March 13-22 to visit and perform with students from one of the district’s partner schools from the program.

As part of Olympic Dreams Live, the British Council and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) selected 45 schools from around the world where athletes participating in the 2012 Olympics have attended and paired them with schools in the United Kingdom. Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson is a former student of each of the selected Iowa schools.

The orchestra will travel to Ysgol Bryn Alyn, Valley Southwoods’ partner school, to perform a combined concert with students at the school. They will continue a tour of the UK, visiting and performing in Wrexham, Bath, Oxford and London. A highlight of the trip will be when students enjoy a private tour of the Houses of Parliament in London with friends from Ysgol Bryn Alyn with a select group performing for the Houses.

“Trips overseas are invaluable learning opportunities for our students,” said Phil Peters, Valley orchestra director. “Not only will they have the pleasure (and pressure) to perform four concerts within a week but they will also be exposed to a new culture. Our students on this tour will travel in the footsteps of William Shakespeare and The Beatles. They will participate in a home-stay with the kind and generous people of Wrexham, Wales. They will tour the House of Parliament and spend time sightseeing in England. Their gifts of music will be shared with others and allow them to meet and make friends from “across the pond.”

Two of the concerts will be in Christchurch Cathedral in Oxford and at St. Sepulchre Church (the “Musician’s Church) in London. Additionally the group will join forces and play a joint concert with the Bath All-Comer’s Orchestra at St. Luke’s Church in Bath. They will also be visiting The Beatles Story in Liverpool, Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stonehenge, Westminster Abbey and a guided coach tour of London.

The British Council is very impressed at the relationship between the WDMCS and the partner schools, a stand-out in the Olympic Dreams Live program.

“I cannot tell you how much it heartens me that this partnership which began with the World Olympic Dreams project has flourished into something really special for all involved – the teachers, the parents, the communities, and most importantly, the students,” praised Tim Rivera, project and partnerships officer for the British Council. “It’s not often that we get to see deep long-term impact that some of our programs can make,” Rivera said. “Everyone was quite moved and appreciative of the great outcome of this partnership.”

The British Council is the UK’s international organization for educational opportunities and cultural relations. They work in over 100 countries worldwide to build opportunity and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people. The BBC is a public service broadcaster, established by a Royal Charter and funded by the license fee that is paid by UK households.

You can follow the group on Facebook during the tour and enjoy photos and videos at