Published: 09 March 2023

Community Orchestra Day wows record audience

‘It’s wonderful playing in a group, working together to create something beautiful’

The Department of Music and Media had a record-breaking audience of over 100 at the latest Community Orchestra Day, held in University Hall on Sunday 5 March.

A scratch orchestra of 85 met at 11am and spent the day rehearsing a challenging programme of Gershwin’s Cuban Overture and An American in Paris, plus Loewe’s Symphonic Selection from My Fair Lady.

They rehearsed under the baton and expert guidance of Russell Keable and then beguiled the audience with the fruits of their labours in a free concert for family, friends, and the general public at 5.30pm.

The Community Orchestra Day has been held by the Department of Music and Media for over five years, bringing together the musical talents of University of Surrey students, staff, alumni as well as local residents seeking an opportunity to perform with a full orchestra for the first time, get back into playing after a break or just stretch challenge their musical talents.

Musicians this time ranged from eight to almost eighty, and included a probation officer, radiotherapy administrator, a technical director for ITV and a builder.  

One violinist commented: ‘this is how I switch off – this is why we need music. This orchestra helps me get my head into a different place. When you’re performing, you’re completely focused in the moment. It’s wonderful playing in a group, working together to create something beautiful – we hope!’

Russell said ‘we always look forward to our Community Orchestra Days as a way of uniting the local musical community and talents. I am so impressed by the standard of musicianship on display for what are some really difficult pieces. Their commitment to make beautiful sound is inspiring’.

Orchestra players all ABRSM Grade 7-level or higher musicians and the Department holds the event twice a year in the spring and autumn. If you are interested in joining our next Community Orchestra Day to be held in the Autumn, please email

Share what you've read?