The first rehearsal date has been set for ambitious plans to launch a new community orchestra.

The idea of the orchestra has come from Ellesmere College’s director of music Tony Coupe – and he has stressed that although the college would act as the orchestra’s base, it would be open to everyone.

If the plans succeed, Ellesmere Sinfonia would play at events at the college, as well as standalone concerts.

Mr Coupe is keen for rehearsals to start on January 8, and after that they would take place every Monday between 7.15pm and 9.15pm during term time.

He said: “I feel there are a lot of people in the area who have a musical background who would love to be involved in an enterprise like this.

“Lots of people enjoyed music when they were younger, took up an instrument and played it to a pretty good level, and then later in life just stopped playing, for all kinds of reasons. We want to give people like that the chance to play again.

“If we get a good take-up, I could see the community orchestra accompanying the school’s choral society in concerts, as well as playing in concerts of their own.

“We would offer them all the support we can.

“We would rehearse every week and really start to build up our skills as an ensemble.

“It would be great to develop a full orchestra but we would get help from outside to fill any gaps when it came to playing concerts.

“We’re not looking for beginners – this is an opportunity for people who are at Grade Five standard and better.

“We have the facilities here to provide a fantastic opportunity – all we need are the musicians to make it happen. Age is no barrier – if they can play, they are keen and are willing to show the commitment and dedication to weekly rehearsals, it doesn’t matter how young or old they are.

“As someone who has 20 years’ experience of teaching in schools, I know how difficult it can be for young players to get valuable orchestral experience. This was a driving force in my desire to establish a community orchestra.

“I would be delighted to welcome young people from around the region. Ellesmere Sinfonia will certainly involve students from the college.

“Ellesmere College is a welcoming place. I’d see the orchestra as a friendly group of people who enjoy making music – this is about bringing something new to the whole community in a friendly and supportive atmosphere.

“If anyone is interested but isn’t sure whether they’d be good enough to play, I’d ask them to come down to a rehearsal – they could listen at the start to see whether they think it’s for them. If it is, they can join in. If not, they can just listen to the music!

“Ideally we need a full string, woodwind, brass and percussion section. Some instruments are more difficult to come by including oboe, bassoon, French horn and double bass – who knows, we may even find a harpist.”

Anyone interested can email Mr Coupe at