Play a musical instrument? Note this!

Date: 27th Sep 2020 Author: Peter Tomlin

Applications for the 2021 NSGSO and NSGCB course are now open for Scout members between the ages of 12 and 25.

Applications can be made for both the Symphony Orchestra and the Concert Band. The residential course is held in Stourbridge, West Midlands, with concerts held at prestigious venues in the Birmingham area, as well as our first ever completely joint concert between the NSGSO and NSGCB at Coventry Cathedral. The course runs from Sunday 1st August – Sunday 8th August 2021 and the closing date for applications is midnight on Saturday 12th December 2020.

The course is hosted by Birmingham Scout County in conjunction with Girlguiding Birmingham but is open to applicants from across the UK who meet the selection criteria.

There is a  brand new website with a new domain name – Do take a look to find out more about the NSGSO and NSGCB, and how to get involved.

The NSGSO and NSGCB Course: The NSGSO and NSGCB meets every year for a fantastic week’s course of music and social activities, culminating in two concerts in the community for the Concert Band, and multiple concerts for both the Concert Band and the Symphony Orchestra on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th August at prestigious venues in the Birmingham area. This year we are particularly excited to introduce a completely joint concert between the Concert Band and Symphony Orchestra at Coventry Cathedral to coincide with Coventry being UK City of Culture 2021. To see for yourself what the course involves, watch our short promotional film at the end of this news item.

The NSGSO and NSGCB Ensembles: The 2021 course will be the 46th year of the Symphony Orchestra, with the Concert Band having been reformed in its current format five years ago, running alongside the Orchestra course. The NSGSO and NSGCB have separate identities but are managed together, so whilst they have separate rehearsals and concerts, participants from both groups come together for accommodation and social activities, and this year they will be completely sharing the concert in Coventry Cathedral for the first time! Applicants therefore have the choice of the two ensembles to apply for, though there are slightly different criteria and instrument choices for each. Please visit our website for more detailed information.

COVID-19: It was disappointing to have cancelled the 2020 course and of course  COVID-19 still poses a risk to holding the 2021 course. At the current time it is planned deliver the course for 2021, but the situation will be monitored at every stage in the process, with thee first priority being to keep all participants, tutors and staff members safe. Please do still send your applications in during the application period, and feel free to contact the organisers on with any concerns.

To apply for the 2021 NSGSO or NSGCB course and to find out more details, please visit

For anyone wishing to use this course for their DofE, QSA or QGA residential then this year must be the first time that they have attended.

You will hear before 31st December 2020 if your application has been successful or not.

Please email me at with any queries that you have.

The closing date for all applications is midnight on Saturday 12th December 2020.

For further information, download the flyer here  or contact: Alice Coomer, NSGSO and NSGCB Coordinator (Publicity), National Scout & Guide Symphony Orchestra and Concert Band  or watch the following video:

I want the public to know how Scouting continues to open young people’s eyes to a world of extraordinary promise and possibilities.'
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls