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Why play in a band or orchestra?

  • It is one of the main reasons you learn to play!
  • Make new friends
  • Play new music
  • Perform at home and abroad
  • Having fun
  • Working with others
  • Learning new skills
  • Teamwork
  • Confidence
  • Social
  • Transport on main routes is free
  • Senior ensembles go abroad on concert tours

MusicMakers Ensembles

MusicMakers gives young musicians their first opportunity to make music in much larger groups than is possible in school.

Each centre has a String Orchestra catering for players of violin, viola, cello, and double bass; a Wind Band for woodwind, brass and percussion players. In addition the Newry and Dungannon centres have a Primary 7 Choir aimed at pupils who are not currently receiving instrumental tuition from the Music Service.

Entry standard: 1 years tuition

Rehearsals September to March for 20 sessions.

Portadown MusicMakers - Monday 6.15 p.m - 7.45 p.m
Newry MusicMakers - Wednesdays 6.30 p.m - 8.00 p.m
Dungannon MusicMakers - Thursdays - 6.15 p.m - 7.45 p.m

Intermediate Groups

  • South Ulster Academy Orchestra
  • South Ulster Academy Band

The Academy Band and Academy Orchestra are very large ensembles mainly catering for pupils who progress through MusicMakers although direct entry is possible.

Entry standard: Players must be at least grade 3 standard to join.

Entry is by audition held in May/June.

Rehearsals September to March for up to 20 sessions.

Portadown College - Saturdays 9.30 a.m -12.00 p.m

Specialist Chamber Groups

  • South Ulster String Orchestra
  • South Ulster Recorder Ensemble
  • South Ulster Harp Ensemble
  • South Ulster Celtic Ensemble


Minimum Standard: Grade 3. Members must be Year 9 or above.

Entry by audition in June/must also be an existing member of another ensemble

Rehearsals September to mid-May for up to 20 sessions.

Portadown College - Saturday 9.30 a.m -12.00 p.m

Senior Groups

  • South Ulster Youth Orchestra
  • South Ulster Youth Band


Minimum standard: Grade 5. Members must be Year 10 or above.

Entry by audition in May.

Rehearsals September to mid-May for up to 20 sessions.

Bann House Portadown - Saturday 9.30 a.m -12.00 p.m

Adult Groups

South Ulster Brass Ensemble

The S.U.B.E caters for advanced brass players who are or have been members of the SELB Music Service. If you are at least grade 8 standard and would like to join please contact Seamus Dinsmore, Deputy Head of Service.

South Ulster Sinfonia

The Sinfonia is open to any adult who plays an appropriate instrument to a sufficient minimum standard (currently around grade IV/V.) At present, there are 30 members, who come from a fairly wide geographical area; they vary in age, and include some current and former string teachers, ex-SUYO members, players who learned through one of the other NI Music Services, and some from different backgrounds or further afield.

Bann House Portadown - Saturday 1.00 p.m -3.00 p.m
(approximately every three weeks)

Rehearsals throughout the year depending on engagements.

Entry standard variable details on request.




The Southern Education and Library Board (the ‘Board’) was established as part of Local Government reorganisation in 1973 and is the largest of the five area Boards. The Board's principle functions are the provision of education and youth services to the District Council areas of Armagh, Banbridge, Cookstown, Craigavon, Dungannon & South Tyrone and Newry & Mourne. It spans 1,450 square miles with a total population of approximately 390,300 including 75,767 pupils.


3 Charlemont Place, The Mall, Armagh, BT61 9AX.
Telephone number: 028 3751 2200 | Email: info@eani.org.uk