Though perhaps someone in the UK could help me understand something. Perpetua says there's no equivalent, but when I was in Italy, there were several youth organizations represented. It was a huge music festival, and I have the poster at mom's house, but I distinctly remember when we played in Florence, the Bromley Youth Wind Band played right after us. Is that a specialist group?
There is, but often they're not attached to individual schools. The Bromley Youth Wind Band looks to be an independent organisation. Sometimes they have some local funding but a lot of organisations like this are community bands in which members pay a sub to attend.
Again, I'd imagine it depends where you grow up here, too. Where I grew up there wasn't much in the way of music services; there was a peripatetic music teacher who came to the school once a week and we could have individual lessons with him, and there was a youth wind symphony and an orchestra, which were made up of players from all the schools in the district with rehearsals on Saturday mornings in the gym of one of the bigger local schools. I got into that because it was conducted by my music teacher and it was great.
Then there's somewhere like London, where you've got things like the LSSO (London Schools Symphony Orchestra). A player in our orchestra (I mentioned her in the thread someone posted about second hand instruments - the French Horn player) has just auditioned for the LSSO. It's an intensive programme that runs in the school holidays.
Things may have changed since I was at school, about six thousand years ago, but in my school there certainly wasn't anything like the 'music programme' you hear about in US schools. It would be very rare for an individual school to have its own band to the standard of something like Langham Creek (although they look pretty big, so perhaps they're made up of kids from lots of different schools? I don't know), although you might find that kind of standard in the district-run services as described above.
Possibly as a result of all this, community music is very alive and well in the UK. Many decently sized towns have a concert band - which is usually either a brass band or a symphonic wind band. Some of them are of an extremely high standard (others not so much!), and some of these organisations are big enough to have training bands, up through which young players can move to join the main band. When you get into the bigger towns and cities, you'll find several. London has absolutely tons of them, from symphonic wind bands to amateur orchestras to chamber ensembles to the London gay
Big Band. They're usually run as charitable concerns and members pay a sub to belong to them, which pays for the running costs. I really like them; I think community music is very important.