Exeter Children's Orchestra


Lift the lid on playing in an orchestra!

Smiley in timp

We welcome new members at any time during the year. At every rehearsal, one of our committee members is ready to take care of anyone who is coming along for the first time. We are always very happy for people to come along just to see what the orchestra is like, even if they don't want to play at first.  We always try to remember that everyone gets nervous the first time they try something new, especially if they think other people might be better than them.

We also know that people like to know in advance how things work, so the information here tries to answer the questions people like to ask!

Musical standard

Anyone aged 7-18 who is learning to play an instrument and can read music is welcome to join us - there are no auditions. We currently have over 100 playing members, with a range of ability and experience. All members play in the main orchestra and more senior players are invited to join the Youth Orchestra, which tackles more challenging music. The Youth Orchestra often plays at the same concerts as the main orchestra as well as separate events. 

Which instruments

We welcome all the usual orchestral instruments plus some others and we don't limit how many players of each instrument can take part. For the first steps we have a recorder section, which is perfect for new members who can start on the recorder and progress to other instruments as they learn.

Where and when we meet

Orchestra rehearsals are held most Saturdays in term time at St Leonard's Primary School. Main orchestra rehearsal is from 9.45am to 12pm and the Youth Orchestra continues to 1pm.

The music we play

Director of Music Robert Willis selects a great mix of music covering lots of different styles: classical music, jazz, film and TV themes, arrangements of pop and folk as well as music written specially for the orchestra. There's something everyone will enjoy playing and chances for different sections of the orchestra to show off!

Take a look at what we're playing now...

Read more: The music we play


The Orchestra gives at least one public concert each term - including outdoor performances. Concerts are usually in the Exeter area, at the Corn Exchange or the Mint Methodist Church, as well as other venues. We often combine concerts with fun days out: for instance we have regularly played at Crealy Leisure Park or Buller's Meadow and in the summer, we play at the Lammas Fair on Cathedral Green, and on the outdoor bandstand in Connaught Gardens, Sidmouth.

Membership costs

Membership costs £40 for each term (discounted to £30 for each subsequent child).

Membership for the full year costs £110 if paid before October 31st (discounted to £80 for each subsequent child).

We have also introduced a £5 per child surcharge if subs are not paid by the school half-term 

For any queries about fees, contact our Treasurer in confidence.