The National Scout and Guide Symphony Orchestra (NSGSO)
The NSGSO was founded following joint meetings between the Girl Guide Association and the Scout Association in 1975, with the first official course taking place at Gilwell Park over New Year 1976/77. In the early years, led by founding conductor Professor George Odam, the Symphony Orchestra performed at many prestigious venues such as Westminster Abbey, the Royal Albert Hall and The White House. The NSGSO have undertaken several international tours, firstly to Germany in 1984 and most recently to Estonia in 2004. Back in the UK, the Symphony Orchestra has given hundreds of Scouts and Guides the opportunity to perform at many impressive venues including the O2 arena and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
The National Scout and Guide Concert Band (NSGCB)
The NSGCB was formed separately to the NSGSO and was led by conductor Zara Bowness-Smith from 1979-88. During this time, the Concert Band performed in many prestigious events including the 1982 Dortmund 1100 Celebrations and the 1985 Lord Mayor’s Show celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Girl Guide Association. The Concert Band have embarked on several international tours of their own, visiting Germany twice, and Japan in their final year. The original NSGCB disbanded following the 1988 tour of Japan.
The NSGSO celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2015 and the NSGCB was reformed in 2016, in response to increasing numbers of applicants to the Symphony Orchestra. The Symphony Orchestra and Concert Band are now managed alongside each other by Birmingham Scout County and both ensembles see record numbers of applicants every year. In 2022 both ensembles played in their first ever joint concert at Coventry Cathedral.