Orchestral Course

This page includes everything you need to know about this year’s course

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  • Course Details

    The Orchestral course starts at 10am on Monday 6th August. It finishes with a concert on Friday 10th August, to which friends and family are encouraged to come. The concert starts at 4pm and lasts approximately an hour, and after this everybody goes home. This course is designed for 9 to 17 year olds who play an orchestral instrument: violin, viola, cello, woodwind or brass. During the week there will be the opportunity to play in larger and smaller ensemble groups. The course is a combination of full ‘tutti’ rehearsals, as well as sectional rehearsals where you will have a chance to get familiar with your parts in your section, and if you want to, you will also have the chance to practice your parts on your own. This course is about getting experience in an orchestra and playing with other musicians, but it is also about having fun in the process!There are games and creative activities run throughout the week. There is a tuck shop every day in morning and afternoon break, hot chocolate is served every evening and there is a bedtime story for those who want one. On one evening in the week there is a talent show (you don’t have to take part in this if you don’t want to!) and on the final evening we will have our traditional Grand Banquet.At the end of the week we perform to any of your friends or family who are able to attend. The concert is on Friday 10th August. Friends and family are encouraged to come to the concert. The concert starts at 4pm and lasts approximately an hour. Immediately after the concert everybody goes home.
  • Things to bring:

    • Your instrument (please ensure that you have insurance cover for your instrument if needed)
    • Your music stand (please put your name on your stand)
    • Pencil & rubber
    • A small amount of money for the tuck shop
    • Smart outfit for the concert
    • Suntan lotion: we do remind everybody about using suntan lotion, but you must also try to be sensible and remember to put it on and refresh it.
    • Towel
    • Grand Banquet outfit: the Grand Banquet is a good opportunity to dress up! On the last night of the course there is a Grand Banquet. It is a very glamorous event, so don’t forget to bring something to wear. There are a few more details about dress code in ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ below.
    • Talent show: if there is something that you already know you want to perform at the talent show, then please bring the things that you need for this.
    • We ask that you don’t bring tablets, laptops or games consuls – you will be too busy to need these things and they get easily broken.
  • Getting here

    Weycroft Hall, Weycroft, Axminster EX13 7LL. Nearest train station AXMINSTER

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Who comes to SURSUM?

    Some people who come to SURSUM know each other and have been before, but often people come along for the first time not having met anyone else on the course. We make sure that by the end of the first day everybody is making new friends. By the end of the second day it feels like we have all known each other for ages!

    Where do we stay?

    At Weycroft Hall, which is a beautiful Manor house outside Axminster. Apart from the main house (which has a wonderful baronial banqueting hall complete with minstrel’s gallery and tapestries) there is a converted barn and a common room with a pool table. There are also extensive grounds. Everyone sleeps in dormitories either in the main house or the barn. We eat meals in the baronial hall or in the garden on sunny days. Some of the videos on this website will give you a better idea about what kind of place Weycroft hall is

    What happens if I feel homesick?

    Very often, you won’t be the only one on the course who is feeling a little bit homesick. The most important thing is to tell somebody on the staff how you are feeling. A lot of the staff came to Sursum when they were much younger and felt homesick too, so you don’t need to worry or be scared about telling them how you are feeling. They will understand, and they will be able to make you feel better and cheer you up. Quite often, Sursum is the first time people have stayed away from home, so we make a special effort to make sure that those people are feeling ok.

    What if I don’t make any friends?

    There are lots of activities at the start of the week that are aimed at helping people to get to know each other and make friends. You will be in a dormitory with people who are your age group. Some of them will not have been to Sursum before and some will. We are always very careful to make sure that the people who have come before help the people who are new to settle in well.

    Can I choose who I share a dorm with?

    We allocate girls and boys dormitories according to age, but this is always a bit flexible to make sure that everyone ends up in a dormitory they are happy with.

    What is the grand banquet?

    The grand banquet is a Sursum tradition. We have a very sophisticated candle lit meal on the final evening and everybody dresses up. Some people wear formal evening wear and everybody else wears whatever they feel fantastic in.

    What happens if I hurt myself or feel ill?

    There are always qualified first aiders on site who know what to do when somebody feels ill or hurts themselves.

    I have to take medicine, can anybody help me with this?

    If there is medicine that you have to take while you are at Sursum, it needs to be kept in the staff room.

  • A bit more about SURSUM

    For those of you who are new to SURSUM there is always a member of staff on hand to ensure that everyone is coping with all aspects of the course.Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. This will be our 16th year of running SURSUM. Every year we like to do things a little bit differently so your feedback is important to us.SURSUM is as much about making friends as it is about gaining confidence in your musical and creative abilities.
  • Staff – for the course this year

    Who works on the course? This is a family run course. The core team bring with them a broad-spectrum of professional experience as musicians, artists, performers and teachers. They have been working together as a team on SURSUM for 16 years.The core team and course leaders are all residential. All staff are CRB checked and are personally known to the core team.

    Core Team

    Tito Saunt (Sally and Jenny’s Mum, and Josh’s mother in law) Worked for many years as an occupational therapist leading teams as a specialist in Music and Crafts. She is an accomplished musician and has coordinated countless community events working as a writer, composer, director and producer. Tito founded SURSUM with Lucy Saunt 16 years ago and is the only person in the known universe who has attended EVERY SINGLE SURSUM COURSE!

    Sally Jevons studied Viola, Violin, Piano and Voice at the London College of Music. She then trained as a primary school teacher specializing in music. Sally now combines classroom teaching with teaching the violin privately. She runs two children’s orchestras and a local youth group. She has played in numerous orchestras and chamber ensembles.

    Jonathan Jevons studied music at The London College of Music. His 1st study is Trumpet and he is an accomplished pianist and percussionist. Alongside his work as a freelance composer Jonathan has worked as a Director of Music in various schools. He has scored short films, animations and commercials and is a published songwriter. Jonathan has also written a number of children’s musicals and has extensive experience as an arranger and conductor.

    Course leaders

    Rachel Cooper started playing the violin aged 4 and after passing Grade 8 at 15 she went onto study Music at the University of Chichester where she gained First Class honours in Violin Performance. After moving to London in 2012 Rachel took up her Masters degree in Music Performance Science at the Royal College of Music where she focused her research on the value of Informal Music education taking Sursum as her case- study. She graduated in 2014 with a distinction and is now a full- time violin teacher and performer. Rachel works for London Music Masters, a charity that provides high quality teaching in low income areas where children regularly go on to study at Music colleges in and around London. Rachel also teaches in other schools and privately at home as well as running string courses for children in the holidays. Following her passion in the early years of violin education, Rachel has recently embarked on a 3- year Suzuki Violin training programme which focuses on developing a solid technique very early on. As well as teaching, Rachel performs regularly with a number of ensembles including West London Strings where she is principal violinist, the Brandenburg Sinfonia, London Arts orchestra, Women of the World orchestra and her her own string quartet.

    Lizzie Cooper, our entertainments manager, likes to make sure that everybody gets plenty of fresh air and fun while at SURSUM. She is a Ten Tors hero, leading a team of six through the Gold, Silver, and Bronze challenges and is currently in the process of applying for positions to train as a paramedic. Lizzie is a fully trained first aider, from Paediatric First Aid to Defibrillation. She works very closely with the ambulance service as a Community First Responder, and she teaches First Aid to children of 12-14 years old. Alongside all this, wonderful Lizzie is a violinist and supports the orchestral course.

    Course assistants


    Please see our Facebook page for updates on this year’s course assistants.