I saw an ad in the Herald & Post in 1999 asking for new members for Colinton Amateur Orchestral Society (CAOS). I got in touch with the Secretary (I played the viola at school but hadn’t played for at least 16 years) and she said come along. I didn’t have to worry about any auditions I could just come along and play (or attempt to at least!). And that was me hooked. I’m now secretary and thoroughly enjoying being part of a group of people who get together to play orchestral music. Tuesday nights are orchestra nights (7.30 – 9.30 church hall, St Cuthbert’s Episcopalian Church, Westgarth Avenue, Colinton).
The orchestra has been in existence now for just over 80 years. Having rehearsed in many different venues in Juniper Green, Dreghorn, and Firhill CAOS settled in the church hall at St Cuthbert’s in 1978. Since then it’s gone from strength to strength and now has over forty members, with two concerts a year performed in the music auditorium at George Watson’s College, where our conductor, Hector Scott, is Head of Instrumental Studies. We have a wide range of age and ability in the orchestra, from school students who want more experience of orchestral playing to those in their nineties.Indeed at our last concert our soloist in the Elgar cello concerto was Jennifer Orr who played with us before going to study music in Cardiff.
In 2010 we were involved in the Making Music ‘Adopt a Composer’ scheme. This matches young composers with orchestras and gives them the opportunity to w rk with the orchestra in composing a piece of music. Our ‘book of walks’ by Nina Whiteman was premiered in May 2010, recorded live by BBC Radio 3 and played on the radio in October. While the piece challenged our ideas of what ‘music’ is, it was great to be involved in the scheme.
This year, while we have no premieres to perform, we are returning to Art in the Park; a small group performed in Spylaw Park last year and we hope to do so again this September. We are also looking to set up string and wind us before going to study music in Cardiff chamber groups which will give us the opportunity to play slightly different music in smaller groups.
So, it’s back to orchestra on Tuesday 6 September, with our next concert scheduled for 3 December (hopefully this year we’ll not get snowed off!). I’m not sure what we’ll be playing yet but I do know that we have vacancies in the Viola and Brass sections.
For more details about us see our website www.colintonorchestra.org.uk or email me firstname.lastname@example.org or pop in on a Tuesday evening.