Woodbridge Orchestral Society
Site updated on 19 February 2018
The orchestra’s origin and working arrangements
The orchestra traces its origin to 1907. Its first players came together as the result of a Workers' Educational Association (WEA) class. It took some years for the orchestra to settle on its name, not least because of the intervention of World War 1. The program of the seventh concert, giiven in 1924, refers to the WEA Orchestra. However, the subsequent concert programme in 1925 bore the present name, the Woodbridge Orchestral Society.
The Society was at first essentially a string orchestra. It met in the St Mary's rooms until 1955. By that time there was a greater number of woodwind and brass players so a larger rehearsal space was required and the orchestra moved accordingly to the Red Cross rooms in Seckford Street.
In 1966 the WEA orchestra became a class offered by the local authority Adult Education Centre. The new arrangement gave the orchestra access to more congenial and spacious surroundings in Burkitt Road at the St Mary's Church of England Primary School. Its members paid the equivalent of 75p per term.
As a result of the rising cost of adult education classes and of changes in local authority arrangements, the orchestra became in 1988 an ‘affiliated class’. This returned it to an independent status, still with its open and diverse membership, and also for many more years its use of St Mary's Primary School. In more recent years the orchestra has moved once more. It now meets, rehearses and performs in the comfortable and more modern space of the Woodbridge Methodist Church in St John’s Street, with membership open as ever to musicians in the local and regional community.
Further information about the orchestra’s growth and development can be found under the various History drop-