Latest News

  • Public Concert Sunday 4 July
  •  Date Posted: Thu, 24 Jun 2021

    Wantage Orchestra Summer Concert
    Sunday 4 July 2021   7 pm
    Dvorak Symphony no. 9 in E minor Op.95 From the ‘New World'
    Handel Concerto Grosso op.6. no.6 - string players
    Ruth Gipps ‘Seascape’ - wind players
    Strauss Serenade for 13 wind instruments - wind players

    We are now excited to be able to perform a concert which we have been working towards over the pandemic year. Our members come from all walks of life and find playing together a fantastic outlet.  It has been a hard year, but the orchestra has continued to meet nearly every week physically, when possible, and virtually during the lock downs.

    With Covid restrictions the orchestra have often split into strings and wind in order to rehearse. As a consequence, we have a fantastic selection of wind and string pieces, as well as a symphony where we all come together.

    Our concert will include Handel's Baroque masterpiece, Concerto Grosso opus 6, No. 6 for strings. It includes the gravely elegant Musette. Handel would often perform it as a separate piece during oratorios and it was brilliantly featured on the soundtrack to ‘The Madness of King George’.

    The wind section will play Ruth Gipps ‘Seascape’. Gipps, born in 1921 was a student of Ralph Vaughan Williams. She experienced prejudice as a female performer and composer and was consequently judged ‘prickly’.  Now she is thought to be a ‘compositional genius’. The piece is evocative of the rise and fall of the ocean as you are transported along the ancient trading routes.

    The third piece is Richard Strauss’s Serenade for thirteen wind instruments, composed when he was just seventeen. A melodic triumph.

    The strings and wind come together for Dvo?ák’s Symphony No 9 ‘From The New World’, his most popular symphony, played in concert halls all over the world and beyond… . When Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon, it was on his mix tape.
    Dvo?ák, inspired by the folk music of his native Czech culture, wrote this symphony during his time in America, in the 1890s. Dvo?ák wrote that he really admired African-American spirituals and saw links to his beloved Czechoslovakia which he was homesick for.
    His audience in the USA wondered if it was indeed a new tune for a ‘New World’ or a home sick lament for the old world ? Please come, listen and decide.

    Old Mill Hall, School Lane, Grove, Wantage, Oxon OX12 7LB
    Tickets are available in advance.   Adults £9.00, Seniors/students £7.00. Schoolchildren are free.
    No paper tickets are available on this occasion.   Given COVID-19 restrictions, please note the following:
    • Please bring a face covering and wear it during the concert
    • The concert will be played without a break
    • The audience will be spaced and we ask you to maintain the seats you and your party are assigned on arrival.  Those within a ‘bubble’ of up to six may sit together; otherwise a spacing will be applied between parties
    • Given the need also to space the orchestra, some audience will be invited onto the stage, and some into the hall balcony.  Both of these require some steps.  Should this prove difficult, let us know and we will look to sit your party on the (limited) ground floor audience seating area.

  • Back to virtual rehearsals - Nov 2020
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 8 Nov 2020
    From November 2020 we have switched back to virtual rehearsals in response to the latest government regulations.

    We do hope to be able to resume in-person rehearsals before too long.
  • A new sort of rehearsals - Autumn 2020
  •  Date Posted: Sun, 27 Sep 2020
    A new sort of rehearsals - Autumn 2020
    Since August our committee has focused on designing a method of meeting, which complies with regulations: COVID-19 secure, and offers a risk assessment which our venues can agree to, and is agreed to by our attendees.  Currently with the wind and strings meeting in different locations, we have nonetheless started to rehearse again in person.  Lots of ventilation, hand sanitiser, and even monitoring CO2 levels!   Whilst rewarding to be back, we are very aware that not all of our members are able to participate at this time.  We are experimenting with both rehearsing and streaming the rehearsals so that others can remain engaged,

    The photo shows a recent socially-distanced rehearsal.

    The orchestra will continue to respond to any further changes to national regulations or local restrictions.
  • Navigating these strange times - Summer 2020
  •  Date Posted: Mon, 27 Jul 2020
    Navigating these strange times - Summer 2020
    Like so many music groups, we abruptly ceased rehearsals in March.  A planned String Playing Day was abandoned.

    We commenced rehearsals on a virtual basis in April.  This has been focused on our string players, and we have been fortunate in having string coaches who helped navigate the world of playing via Zoom, whilst recording guide tracks to allow us to practise.

    The string players' focus has been on Haydn's String Quartet Op 75 no 1.  We recorded this in July.