A once shy Oxfordshire teenager now has something to bang the drum about after performing on the most-famous stages in the country.
Talented percussionist Jo Sancio, 18, recently joined fellow Oxfordshire County Youth Orchestra musicians at London’s Royal Albert Hall for a special concert marking the end of a national competition.
Just four years ago, she went into care with her confidence low but was encouraged to follow her passion.
She said: “I was so shy when I was younger – I wouldn’t have even picked up the phone to you and the first few months after coming into care were very difficult.
“My foster carer has been amazing. She kind of pushed me a bit and gave me the confidence to pursue the things that interest me.
“She took me to see my first concert – an orchestra performing at Dorchester Abbey. I loved it and that’s what got me into classical music – and percussion in particular.”
The musician’s journey to the RAH as part of one of the nation’s best youth orchestras is all the more remarkable as she only started with the county music service three-and-a-half years ago – most of the musicians had been performing for longer.
The performance didn’t go entirely without a hitch though, with the conductor for one of the pieces asking the percussionists to play an entirely new part on the night, having initially given them the wrong score.
Ms Sancio said: “There was a whole section no one had played before so we just had to improvise, which was pretty funny.”
Adding another string to her bow, Ms Sancio was recently appointed chair of Oxfordshire’s children in care council, ensuring the voices of looked-after children are heard.
She’s currently working with young colleagues on safeguarding issues to help inform and improve local services, while also preparing to sit her A-levels to fulfil her ambitions of studying a fine art degree at university.