MYMS restarts on Friday

MYMS restarts for the new academic year on Friday

This is to remind you that all the MYMS ensembles begin again on Friday 6 September 2019 at their usual times at Invicta GS.

Welcome back to everyone and a particularly warm welcome to all our new players and their parents.

As is usually the case at the beginning of the year, there is a great deal of information here – please persevere to the end…. Please note especially the new arrangements for data protection and the revamped student information forms that are attached.

Brand New Ensemble – We are launching a brand new ensemble on Friday. Its initial name is going to be the MYMS

Beginner Brass Group

  • it will be for all brass players up to around Grade 1+, when they will progress to our other ensembles;
  • it will be conducted by Nigel McDonald, who also works with our top wind band MYWO;
  • it will take place between 4:45 and 5:45 in a classroom in the Orchard Block;
  • all members of the Beginner Brass Group, will also be invited to join MYMS Voices Massed Choir [between 4:15 and 4:45];
  • please encourage any young brass players you know to come along.

New Ensemble Membership Each summer, we have a number of Year 13 students who leave MYMS and therefore we are currently working out the best balance of numbers and different instruments. Some players will therefore be moving to new ensembles – please be patient with us, as things may take a couple of weeks to settle down.

Weekly Arrangements Students should be in their seats ready to play at the above times, and are expected to help set up beforehand and to help clear away stands, music and instruments as appropriate at the end of rehearsals and put the rooms back to how they looked beforehand. It is expected that players will attend all rehearsals and concerts and any planned absence should be notified to the MYMS Manager &/or the conductor well in advance so that rehearsal time can be planned effectively. In case of illness, messages or texts may be left on the MYMSManager’s mobile (07802-425022) and students may be contacted via Richard, the MYMS Manager, on this number during Friday rehearsals. Students are NOT permitted to use mobile phones during rehearsals.

Rehearsals are held each Friday during the school term, but there will be no rehearsals on the following Fridays in the Autumn Term 2019:

25 October, 1 November, 6 December, 13 December, 20 December, 27 December 2019 and 3 January 2020. We restart after Christmas on Friday 10 January 2020.

Concert dates for this year are as follows. PLEASE update your diaries with these dates.

Winter Concert Friday 29 November 2019 at 7:30 pm in the Hall at IGS [plus MYMS AGM beforehand]

– the Mayor of Maidstone will be joining us for this concert;

Pupils’ Concert Friday 28 February 2020 “Music at Night” details to be confirmed in due course

Spring Concert Friday 27 March 2020 at 7:30 pm in the Hall at IGS

Summer Concert Friday 26 June 2020 – at 7:30 pm at IGS, including 2nd General Meeting.

I am also attaching a copy of the latest version [Version 3] of the MYMS Calendar for 2019-2020. [Currently, two dates are pencilled in in June 2020 for a POSSIBLE Bandstand Concert – please reserve both for the time-being.]

MYMS Voices – Please remember that EVERYONE – literally EVERY player at MYMS – is invited to join the massed MYMS Voices when they rehearse in the Auditorium at 4:15. If you are already an instrumentalist at MYMS, it doesn’t cost any more to join the choir for that initial half-hour. This is great fun with Ciara…. We particularly would like more young men to join MYMS Voices.

MYMS Voices We shall be continuing with the experiment of having:

  • Junior Chamber Choir – 4:45 to 5:30 with Ciara Considine;
  • Senior Chamber Choir – 4:45 to 6:00, directed by Ciara between 5:30 and 6:00.

MYMS Website The MYMS website is currently being substantially revised. There may be some hiccups in the short-term but please remember to check regularly on for updated news.

The Tuck Shop will be open each week from 4:00 pm to 4:40 pm and from 5:45 pm to 6:30 pm. We already have one or two very helpful volunteers but, if any other parents were willing to help supervise this activity, especially between 5:45 and 6:30 pm, we could share out the responsibilities. Please contact Richard, the MYMS Manager, if you are able to help.

MYMS Committee The Committee does an enormous amount of work behind the scenes. We are always looking for new members. Anyone interested is invited to speak to me or to Elizabeth Rees [Chair].

MYMS Subscriptions Parents agreed at the Second General Meeting in June 2019 that Membership Fees should be raised as follows:

Fees and deadline date for 2019-2020:

Before 31 October 2019 After 31 October 2019
Individual £162.50  ** £190
Family £272.50 £300
Siblings of full members attending massed choir of MYMS Voices £35 £35
Membership only of the massed choir of MYMS Voices £60 £60

[** MYMS is open for 31 weeks in the coming year – this represents just under £5.25 per week to cover all the conducting and tuition, provision of sheet music, additional instruments and stands, use of Invicta GS, insurance and management. The membership subscription also doesn’t vary according to the number of ensembles in which the students play – it is EXCELLENT value.]

If you are likely to have any difficulty paying the membership fee by the appropriate date, please contact me in confidence [on 07802-425022] and we can discuss alternative arrangements, which could include termly payments or monthly instalments. You may not be aware that MYMS has its own bursary scheme, which could provide financial assistance with subs. If this would help, just ask….[all enquiries are dealt with in the strictest confidence]. Our priority is to have as many young people as possible making music each week and we don’t want finance to be a barrier when there are ways to help.

Payment of Subs – Electronically As usual, we are able to offer parents the facility of paying the MYMS subscriptions by electronic bank transfer. If you wish to pay this way, the details you need are:

Sort Code: 08-92-99 Account Number: 65370937 Reference: Please remember to add your child’s name in the reference box, especially if the child’s surname differs from yours.

By cheque Alternatively, fees may be paid by cheque [payable to MYMS] and handed in – in an envelope addressed to Richard Gretton, MYMSManager – on Friday evenings or by post to Richard Gretton, MYMS Manager, 16 Sycamore Crescent, Allington, Maidstone, ME16 0AG. Please write the student’s name and MYMS ensemble on the back of the cheque and send it in with the reply slip included in the attached paperwork. An updated Gift Aid form is attached: if you are willing to complete this [and you are a current taxpayer], and have not completed one in the past year, please print it off and return it with the subs and application/membership forms, as this benefits MYMS substantially.

Data Protection and Membership Information Each year, we need up-to-date contact information and permission slips. This is because there may be changes in students’ health and medication, address, contact telephone numbers, school, instrumental teacher(s) or grades. They also grow up and change Year Groups.

With the introduction of new government regulations regarding Data Protection, we have had to revise our membership forms. They now include a separate Consent Form in which you have to grant MYMS permission to hold your personal data. Please note – MYMS will need a Consent Form completed and signed individually by each parent. There are also new requirements regarding the retention and storage of personal data and all redundant information from last year will be shredded as soon as the new information is received.

Please print off and complete the attached application forms to ensure that we have all the current details. Please return them ASAP [please note – these are individual membership forms so I need one for each child in a family], together with your subs and Gift Aid form.

Recruitment MYMS will again be paying £10 to any current member who brings a new member along. This is paid once the new member pays their own subs. Again, the relevant form is attached with two spaces to fill in. Please encourage your friends to join MYMS….

IMPORTANT – Safeguarding and Child Protection – Being collected from MYMS – please impress on your child, especially the younger ones, that – if the person who normally picks them up from MYMS doesn’t come at the usual time – they should come back into the canteen area and inform me. I have all the necessary contact numbers with me each week and can sort out any problems.

IMPORTANT – Fire Evacuation Procedure

The details for students and visitors are included in this briefing email. Their conductors will go through the procedure with them but can you please ensure that your son or daughter knows what they need to do and sign the appropriate part of the attached paperwork?


  • The normal fire alarm signal is a high-pitched ‘whoop’ [although the instruction for a fire drill may be given verbally over the tannoy].
  • Take personal bags that are with you [DO NOT go back to the canteen to collect anything]

o Do not wait to pack your bag; take it as it is

o If you have a mobile, take it with you

o Do not take your instrument or your instrument case

  • Do not visit any other parts of the building


  • Students should leave the school building by the nearest fire exit and go IN SILENCE to the school’s all-weather pitch near the bottom car park – no running please
  • Ensembles should line up on the all-weather pitch and stand there in silence apart from answering their name on the register
  • Please do this in the following order:

o [Nearest to school]

o Beginner Brass Group

o Beta Percussion

o Orchestra for All

o Alpha Band

o Youth Strings

o MYMS Voices, including Junior and Senior Chamber Groups


o [Nearer to Valley Park School]

  • If only the Maidstone Youth Orchestra is on-site, they will be the only ones lining up.
  • If a music tutor is absent, the first student on the register should report this fact to the MYMS Manager.
  • In the event of a bomb scare, further evacuation will be necessary to a minimum distance of 200 metres from the building; i.e. to Valley Park School, East Borough School or to Vinters Park.


  • Any parents or adult visitors on-site should also leave the school building by the nearest fire exit and go to the school’s all-weather pitch near the bottom car park – take your mobile with you, if it is near at hand.

If you want to discuss any aspect of MYMS’ activities at any time or you wish to get more actively involved yourself, please feel free to contact me – or any of the staff or committee members.

Please remember to print off all the attached forms and return them when completed, together with your membership subscription.

Yours faithfully

Richard Gretton,

MYMS Manager