Player FAQs

We have collated some FAQs for our playing members. We hope you find these useful.

When and where are rehearsals?

Rehearsals are held every Wednesday during the season (September to June) at Oakwood Primary School, Cotswold Road, Cheltenham, GL52 5HD. It’s appreciated if you arrive in time to be ready to play for a prompt start at 7.30pm. Rehearsals end at 9.30pm and there is a short break at half time. We normally try to have a week off at half term and also the week following a concert, but this is subject to change depending on the programme. After rehearsals we meet at at the Royal Oak pub in Prestbury.

How often do I need to come to rehearsals?

We do expect regular attendance at rehearsal. Without this commitment from members the orchestra cannot prepare properly for concerts and it’s unfair on other players if the conductor has to go over things absentees have missed.

What if I am unable to come to a rehearsal?

We understand that sometimes absence is unavoidable. If you know you are going to be absent, please tell us. You can email or let your section leader know. Please also ensure that your music is available for someone else to play. Wind and brass players are asked to try to find a deputy in conjunction with Jeff Powell (wind) or Michael Kilshaw (brass).

How do I keep up to date with orchestra news? 

There is a weekly orchestra newsletter which updates players on orchestra news. If you are not receiving the newsletter please email

Where do I get the music from?

The music will be available at every rehearsal. If you want to take your music home to practice you’re very welcome to do so, but string players will need to sign their pack out on the sheet (in the box with the music). If there is not enough music for you to take home, which does happen for the strings, then please email the librarian (email address on the sign out sheet) who will send you a copies of your parts. Music must be returned in your folder to the box at the end of every concert as it needs to be returned to the library/publisher.’

Can I mark the music?

Normally yes, but in soft pencil only

How will I know what to practice?

Keep an eye on the rehearsal schedule on the website which sets out which pieces are to be rehearsed each week. Sometimes there are sectional rehearsals so do check out the timings listed as they can change at short notice.

What equipment do I need to bring?

Just a music stand, your instrument and your music in its folder. Bring a soft pencil and rubber too.

Do I have to pay anything?

It’s important that members contribute towards the cost of running the orchestra. Music hire, rehearsal and concert venues all have to be paid for and we cannot continue without this valuable income. Annual subscriptions become due after each year’s AGM. The current rate (2022/23) is £90 or £45 for students. A pro-rata payment is due if you join mid season. If you can, please gift aid your payment. Our Treasurer Jenny Jones (cello) will be happy to give more details.

Is there a regular newsletter?

There is a weekly newsletter with forthcoming rehearsal details and other items of interest. You are normally put on the mailing list if we have your email address but you can opt out at any time.

Can I suggest music for the orchestra to play?

Yes, please do. We keep a pink book, available at rehearsal, for any suggestions members may have, not just suggestions for music. Or email us at The programming committee has to balance many factors when choosing concert material but tries to incorporate member suggestions whenever possible. We also have an electronic form (google jamboard) that you can add your suggestions to.

Can I help with running the orchestra?

We are always pleased if members wish to help with the running of the orchestra. You don’t have to be on the committee to do this. Our Secretary Mike Hart (trombone) will be able to give you more information. Vacancies do also arise on the committee from time to time so if you do wish to serve on the committee, please speak to the Secretary in advance of the AGM to arrange nomination.

Can I help to sell tickets for concerts?

Yes please! Ticket sales are key to a successful concert so do tell your friends and relations about our concerts and encourage them to come along. Our Treasurer Jenny Jones (cello) will be happy to take ticket orders.

How many concerts are there?

During our season, which runs from September to June, we give four public concerts in the Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham Town Hall or other local venues. Details are announced via the newsletter and are shown on the website calendar. The dates will usually be around November, January, March/April and June.

What is the concert dress code?

All players – all black

 When is the Orchestra’s AGM?

Every October, usually taking up the first part of a Wednesday rehearsal. If you wish to serve on the committee or if you have points to raise under AOB please notify the Secretary in advance of the meeting.

Who is on the committee : click here for details