The church orchestra was formed as a result of three instrumentalists playing arrangements of carols in church in December 1986 and has been running continuously since. We have a core of adults with fluctuating numbers of junior members. Fortunately the instruments represented have always covered four-part harmony, so each time we play we can harmonise hymns with descants. Apart from the hymns we always perform an additional piece, often reflecting the theme of the service. On average, we play once a month, sometimes at Parish Praise and sometimes at festivals such as Easter, Mothering Sunday, Harvest or Christingle.
Parts can be tailor made to suit a person's standard or instrument, and are delivered a few days before the service. The orchestra meets half an hour before the service to run through the music, this normally being the only rehearsal, so it is helpful if at least the majority of the orchestra can read a variety of key signatures. The orchestra now has about 150 hymn tunes in its repertoire and 80 pieces have been played, of enormously contrasting styles – anything from Bach and Telemann to LeRoy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride" or "Neighbours"!
At present sets of music are available for recorder, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, trumpet, bassoon, baritone horn, violin, viola, cello, percussion and piano, but we are always hoping to enlarge the orchestra. Attendance tends to vary from 9 - 16 people. Some of us also enjoy playing in other musical performances in church and we are always on the lookout for new members.