Hadleigh Orchestra Is 40

A Reminiscence by Elaine Goh

In the Autumn of 1981, a new evening class was started with the idea of giving orchestral experience to adults who had learned an orchestral instrument as a child. The teacher of the course and conductor of the orchestra was Michael Colleer. A great time was had by all and many friends were made and, to mark the end of the course, a concert was arranged for May 1982 at Hadleigh High School. I was in the lower sixth at the time, working towards A level music. I had peripatetic violin lessons at school and my teacher was Amanda Brown, who was the daughter of Michael Colleer. She asked me, along with the other A level musicians and a few other advanced students, to join the orchestra as reinforcements for the afternoon rehearsal and concert. It was great fun and the pattern of a cracking afternoon was set from the start! I remember one piece that was played that day, a Mozart divertimento, and have sent a link in an email. At the end of that concert, no one wanted to stop the evening class so the decision was made to continue and the Hadleigh Orchestra was born.

One of the founding members was Michael Connellan, a retired maths teacher who made music his life in retirement. He became an extremely skilled luthier of stringed instruments and many members of the orchestra played instruments that he had made. He made skilled and necessary repairs on mine and my pupils’ instruments on several occasions and never charged enough. He was an enthusiastic viola player for many years until increasing frailty forced him to leave. He was still an enthusiastic audience member until not long before his death. Michael lived in Polstead and we had many happy summer concerts in Polstead church, a beautiful venue, until the orchestra and audience outgrew it.

Throughout the years, the orchestra has always encouraged and included people of all ages and abilities and enthusiasm has always been the watchword. In the early days, there was an elderly lady who played the double bass. She was less than five feet tall and sat on an umpire's chair. Apparently, she always arrived late for rehearsals and caused chaos as her double bass crashed into everyone's stand, knocking off their music as she, so very politely, said “oh, do excuse me,” “so, so sorry, dear" etc.

Michael Colleer was the conductor for a few years and the concert remained an annual event in Hadleigh High School. The next conductor was the legendary Ute Cooper, who, with husband John in the ‘cellos, took the orchestra to new heights. A Christmas concert was introduced and became a fixture on the calendar for many local people. In addition to the repertoire of orchestral pieces, đthere are always four carols for the audience to sing accompanied by the orchestra. After a variety of venues, the orchestra has happily made its home in St. Joseph's church for the Christmas concert. It is always standing room only.

The summer concert has also gone from strength to strength and more ambitious music is often chosen for this. We have played several concertos and symphonies and in 2012, the year of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, were asked to make an encore of Land of Hope and Glory. At both summer and Christmas concerts, there are always retiring collections, which must have raised thousands of pounds for charity over the past forty years.

As time has moved on, there have been several changes among the players and, of course, the occasional sad event. The orchestra's banner was bought after a flautist, Tony, died in tragic circumstances as a memorial. After many years’ service and leaving very large shoes to fill, Ute Cooper stood down as conductor of the Hadleigh Orchestra in 2018. Kay Bartlett ably took over the baton and has guided the orchestra through some of the most turbulent times in its history as Covid-19 put a stop to music making for two years. Kay is passing on the baton to Ian Macrae in September as she rejoins the percussion section.

Hadleigh is a small town and very few comparably sized towns have an orchestra of their own, let alone one as successful and held in such affection as Hadleigh Orchestra. I feel very privileged to have played in around thirty years worth of concerts as an extra second violin or viola player – even more so to have been doing it since the very first concert. Will l be in the concert forty years from now? Well, l would be pushing 100, so who knows. Happy Birthday, Hadleigh Orchestra.

About Hadleigh Orchestra

Hadleigh Emblem Image

A local community orchestra based in Hadleigh, Suffolk, UK.

We're a long established orchestra with a good regular membership and we rehearse weekly in academic term times. This is a mixed ability orchestra with players ranging from grade 4 students to professionals, teachers and second career musicians. We welcome new members in all sections of the orchestra, and to join you need to be a minimum of grade 4.

Our orchestra is conducted by Kay Bartlett who gets us ready to play in our Summer and Christmas concerts.

Ute Cooper was the long term conductor of the orchestra, who has now retired and was presented the role of Hadleigh Orchestra President in December 2018.

Vacancy: Strings

We currently have vacancies for 1st violinists. Players in this section ideally need to be grade 6+

We also have vacancies for violas, cello and double bass.

If you are interested in any of these vacancies, please use our contact form

Vacancy: Brass

We currently have vacancies for Trombones and Trumpets.

If you are interested in any of these vacancies, please use our contact form

Vacancy: Woodwind

We currently have vacancies for Bassoon, Clarinet and Saxophones (preferably Alto or Tenor).

If you are interested in any of these vacancies, please use our contact form

Summer Concert 2022 - Sunday 19th June At 7pm St Mary's Church, Hadleigh

Concerts

Upcoming Concert

Summer Concert 2022

St Mary's Church, Hadleigh

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Conductor: Kay Bartlett

Celebrating our 40th year.

As usual, entrance is free, collection in aid of supporting the DEC campaign for Ukraine. All are welcome.

Enjoy classical pieces from:
  • Haydn - Clock Symphony
  • Schumann - Piano Concerto (First Movement)
  • Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition, The Great Gate of Kyiv

Previous Concerts

Christmas Concert 2019 - Sunday 8th December at 6.30pm

St Joseph's Church, Hadleigh

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Conductor: Kay Bartlett

As usual, entrance is free, collection in aid of Talitha Koum Charity. All are welcome.

Provisional Programme
  • Romeo and Juliet Overture - Tchaikovsky
  • Sheep May Safely Graze - Bach
  • Joyful March - Chabrier
  • Yesterday - John Lennon
  • Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer
Summer Concert 2019 - Sunday 9th June at 6.30pm

St Mary's Church, Hadleigh

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Conductor: Kay Bartlett

As usual, entrance is free, but donations are most welcome.

Programme
  • Prokofiev - Peter and the Wolf
  • Haydn - Divertimento
  • Faure - Sicilienne
  • Mendelssohn - Hebrides Overture
  • Delius - La Calinda
  • Binge - Sailing By
  • Handel - Hornpipe from the Water Music, Suite 1
  • Sullivan - Overture to The Mikado
Christmas Concert 2018 - Sunday 9th December at 6.30 pm

St Joseph's Church, Hadleigh

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Conductor: Kay Bartlett

As usual, entrance is free, collection in aid of Talitha Koum Charity. All are welcome.

Provisional Programme
  • Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite
  • Brahms 4 Waltzes From Op 39
  • Bach Sinfonia
  • Vivaldi Themes From Autumn & Winter
  • Popular Christmas Carols
Summer Concert 2018 - Sunday 10th June at 6.30 pm

Stoke by Nayland : St Mary's Church

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Conductor: Ute Cooper

As usual, entrance is free, but we shall invite donations as you leave. All are welcome.

Provisional Programme
  • Dvorak: Slavonic Dance No.1
  • John Cooper: Irish Melodies
  • Kookabura Round
  • Mendelssohn: Athalia Overture
  • Herb Brown: Singing in the Rain
  • Gershwin: Summer Time
  • Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty Waltz
  • Dvorak: Movements 3 & 4 from Symphony No. 8
Hadleigh Arts Festival (Taster) 2018 - Saturday 21st April at 5 pm

St Mary's Church, Hadleigh

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Conductor: Ute Cooper

Entrance Fee £1.50 towards the Hadleigh Arts Festival

Provisional Programme
  • Three Tunes from Shakespeare's England : arr. Hare
    • Go From My Window
    • Greensleeves
    • Nobodyes Gigge
  • A Suite of English Folk Songs : Boyle
    • The Wraggle Taggle Gipsies
    • O Waly, Waly
    • Blow Away The Morning Dew
  • Curtain Raisers
    • Sunrise-Sunset (Fiddler on the Roof) : Bock/Harnick
    • German Dance (No.9) : Beethoven
Complement : Strings Only
  • Violin 1st : 4
  • Violin 2nd : 4 (Inc. 2 Guests)
  • Viola 3
  • Cello 4
  • Double Bass 1 : (Inc. 1 Guest)
Christmas Concert 2017 - Sunday 3rd December at 6.30 pm

St Joseph's Church, Hadleigh

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Conductor: Ute Cooper
Leader: Lisa Patchett

As usual, entrance is free, but we shall invite donations as you leave. All are welcome.

Provisional Programme
  • Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750) : Sleepers, Wake!
  • Noel: French Round
  • Carol 1: Once in Royal David's City
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791) : Rondo
  • Isaac Albéniz (1860 - 1909) : Tango
  • Carol 2: O come, O come, Emmanuel
  • Antonin Dvorak (1841 - 1904) : Movements 2 & 3 - 8th Symphony
  • Alexander Borodin (1833 - 1887) : Nocturne
  • Carol 3: It Came upon the Midnight Clear
  • Howard Blake (1938 - ) : Walking in the Air
Complement
  • Violin 1st : 6
  • Violin 2nd : 7
  • Viola 4
  • Cello 5
  • Double Bass 1
  • Flute 3
  • Piccolo 1
  • Oboe 2
  • Clarinet 2
  • Bassoon 2
  • Horn 4
  • Trumpet 2
  • Trombone 1
  • Percussion 2
  • Keyboard 2

Rehearsal Details

Subject to: Weather Constraints

Rehearsals are easy to travel to by car from Colchester, Ipswich, Sudbury & Stowmarket.

They are on Monday evenings 7:30pm to 9:15pm term time only unless otherwise stated at Beaumont CP School, Durrant Road, Hadleigh, Suffolk IP7 6GD.

There's a small membership charge of approx. £20 - £25 per academic term.

For rehearsal enquiries, use our contact form

Notices for Orchestra Members

We now have a WhatsApp group. If you wish to join, please speak to Rachel D (in Strings section) or Fran.

Summar Concert Rehearsal

Strings only to start at 3:15PM, rest of Orchestra to start at 4PM

Tea break at 5:45PM; please bring your own refreshments.

Thinking about joining us?

Contact Form

 
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