THE MID-SOMERSET ORCHESTRA was founded in 1973 and performs regularly in Street and Wells. From the player’s point of view, the aim is to give local amateur orchestral musicians of a high standard the opportunity to rehearse together, and to take part in four concerts during the year. From the music-lover’s point of view, we aim to give good performances of the classics for the enjoyment of the residents of this part of the country. For many years now, the orchestra has actively encouraged the support of young people by specially low-priced tickets.
The Mid-Somerset Orchestra rehearses on Wednesday evenings in school term time at
Croscombe Village Hall
The orchestra promotes 4 concerts a year, all at Strode Theatre, Street. We also perform once a year at Wells Cathedral for the “Sing for Somerset” carol service (promoted by Somerset Life).
He joined the MS0 on his return from University in 1975, first led two MSO concerts in February 1979 and officially became Leader in January 1980. He has led every concert since then except for three three which he conducted, including the 1990 Prom and the Millennium Concert in December 1999, and has as soloist with the orchestra a number of times in Romances by Beethoven, Dvorak and Svendsen, the Bach Double Concerto and the theme to Schindler's List; he has also been privileged to play some other major orchestral solos including Scheherazade three times, Dance Macabre twice and Beim Schlafengehen within Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs and has led many classic symphonies and concertos. He has also recently performed The Lark Ascending fulfiling a long-held ambition.
For many years he led the Strode Opera Orchestra for Brendan Sadler, including grand opera and almost all the Gilbert and Sullivans; he also led for several local choral societies, and also leads the Abbey String Quartet, which comprises members of members of the MSO and will be performing at the Somerton Festival on 13 July.
He taught for twenty four years with Somerset Music, for the last eleven as Head of Strings, then for five years until July 2016 owned the Glastonbury Music Shop. He continues to tutor with the County Youth Orchestra and to direct ensembles at COSMIC, the Saturday Morning Music Club in Street.
His violin is a copy of the beautiful 'Betts' Stradivari, made for him in 1994 by his first-ever violin pupil, Caroline Crowley of Bowlish, Shepton Mallet, now a distinguished luthier, who recently rejoined the MSO.
Rehearsing for this evenings performance
Tickets selling well, don't miss out it's going to be a great concert. Featuring Classic FM's number 1 in the Hall of Fame, Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending and our very own Hywel Jenkins
Just over three weeks to go until the summer concert.
Rehearsals going well, make sure you don't miss out, book your ticket now!
Members of the Mid Somerset Orchestra wind section are performing Folk Songs and Myths from around the world at a charity supper concert in support of the RUH Forever Friends appeal.
Tickets £15 in advance
(£20 on the door)
Contact Graham Darke 01749 677062
The spirit of “Merrie England” is at the heart of this summer offering, opening with the inspiration of English folk song with a local flavour in Gustav Holst’s A Somerset Rhapsody, leading to 2 ethereal masterpieces by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Five Variants on Dives and Lazarus for strings and harp, and the much-loved and ever-popular The Lark Ascending for Solo Violin and Chamber Orchestra, inspired by the poem by George Meredith. The celebrated violin solo will be played by MSO leader Hywel Jenkins.
The second half of the concert will move away from the rarefied to the rather more cosmopolitan inspiration of the English stage, first as observed from the world of American Musical Comedy in Robert Russell Bennett’s Symphonic Picture of Frederic Loewe’s My Fair Lady, which was such a runaway success when the MSO last performed it in 2003, then capturing the “Merrie England” spirit literally in Four Dances from the operetta of the same name by Edward German.
The concert will end with a great favourite, The March of the Peers from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe, before we all have the chance to join in Hubert Parry’s Jerusalem.
However the orchestra sometimes needs players to cover for absence in all sections, either in rehearsal or concerts. Additional occasional players are also required when larger works are performed.
The chair of the orchestra maintains a list of players that can be called on in such situations. If interested in being placed on this list, please email us with details of your instrument and experience.