General Information about the CSO
Rehearsals are held each Tuesday. Down beat is at 7:15 so please make every effort to be early for rehearsals. It is really advantageous if players can be seated by 7:10 ready for a pre-rehearsal tune.
There is always setting up of chairs that needs doing prior to the rehearsal so you may arrive any time from 6:45 onwards.
A break is held approx 8:30, please remember to bring a cup!
A full rehearsal schedule for each concert is published here
Please follow the guidance from the leader during tuning and remain quiet to allow all sections to take the time needed. During the rehearsals, ad-hoc playing and conversation is to be avoided.
We recognise that work and family commitments might mean that on occasion players may arrive after the start of the rehearsal. If this is the case, please take great care when getting to your seat (trying to weave through wind and brass to find your seat carries the potential risk of knocking into players or instruments). String players especially are asked to take their seats from the front at a convenient pause in the music if the rehearsal has already started and to leave cases at the edge of the hall.
Please let your section leader know if you are not able to attend a rehearsal. Wind, brass and percussion are to make a reasonable effort to find a suitable deputy. If this cannot be arranged, then a courtesy communication to the Orchestra Manager would be appreciated in order that this can be shared and the impact on the rehearsal schedule assessed.
Generally, when moving around, please avoid walking between chairs that are part of a section - we have had a few examples recently of instruments nearly being knocked over or a person being banged by a bag or case. This is unacceptable. We fill the hall now that we are back to rehearsing at full strength, so care is needed by all players.
If you need clarification on a musical point and are a string player, please CHECK FIRST with your section leader or in the break. Unless urgent, it is not normally acceptable to call out to our conductor across the whole rehearsal. Any instructions received by the front desk of the string sections will be passed back to the rest of the section.
Wind and brass players may talk directly to the conductor about relevant musical points if immediate clarification is needed. Otherwise, please could they consult other colleagues or speak to the conductor in the break or at the end of the rehearsal.
Once the rehearsal has ended, please pack away your instrument and belongings and stack your chair to the side of the hall.
If you are not needed for part of the rehearsal, please arrive and depart as quietly as possible and avoid disturbing other players who may still be playing.
Dress Code for Concerts
Unless advised otherwise:
LADIES – full length skirt/dress or trousers with a black top with discreet jewellery only. A small black handbag is allowed on stage
MEN – black, long sleeved shirt with open collar, black trousers and an optional jacket
No black jeans are allowed
FAMILY CONCERT - coordinated coloured polo tops for the different sections. Please ask your section leader if you don't have one
For a further information, please refer to the Constitution
Coming onto the platform:
At the start of a concert, players may go on to the stage once it is ready as and when they choose and may then warm-up in situ. When the whole orchestra is in place and the co-leader or leader stands to tune there should then be silence and, once the tuning is finished, there should be no further playing.
The leader will then come onto the stage, take a bow and sit down. Sometimes, when it is not appropriate for the leader to make a separate entrance, they will come on stage with the rest of the orchestra and then supervise tuning.
The orchestra usually stands as the conductor enters but the orchestra should follow the leader and only stand as and if the leader stands. If the leader can't see the conductor then someone who can should give the leader a nod but the orchestra continues to follow the leader for all sitting and standing.
At the start of the second half, our normal practice is for the leader to come on with the rest of the orchestra and supervise the tuning. We do not normally stand at the start of the second half but allow the conductor to take a solo bow. However, the leader needs to judge if this is inappropriate on any specific occasion and the rest of the orchestra needs to follow the leader's decision.
Please do not leave music on the platform during the concert.
When the conductor gestures for the orchestra to stand to acknowledge applause, it is for leader to decide exactly when to stand. Please stand with the leader and not before. You should be looking at the leader and not the conductor at this moment in the concert. You should turn to face the audience if you are standing sideways on to them and you should smile and look pleased, no matter how dire you feel the experience has just been! Please don't talk to your desk partner while standing or start gathering up music. Again, you sit when the leader sits. The leader may decide that the conductor should take a solo bow and allow the orchestra to applaud the conductor. It is really important that this moment is not ruined by members of the orchestra enthusiastically leaping to their feet and stealing his bow!
The only exception to this is when the conductor singles out individuals for a solo bow and, at that point, individuals have to decide for themselves when to stand. After the soloists have been singled out and the whole orchestra is invited to join them, then then rest of the orchestra again follow the leader.
Leaving the platform:
The leader may decide to leave the concert platform before the applause has completely died down, in which case they may or may not take an individual bow. They may also decide to leave just after the applause finishes and take their own bow on the way out. However, if it is clear that the applause has finished and the leader is still on the platform, this is the one occasion on which you are encouraged to take matters into your own hands and leave the platform promptly ahead of the leader. It is particularly helpful if back desks seize the initiative here!
Please do not dismantle stands or collect music together as you leave the platform. Please leave and then come back to rescue stands and music.
After the concert:
If members of the audience that you don't know come up and thank you for the performance, smile and thank them for doing so. Don't spoil their enjoyment by telling them it was a rubbish performance. If you were elated by the performance, then of course share that with them but don't let on about what went wrong. You can discuss it with your nearest and dearest of course but preferably later on out of earshot of the general public.
If a performance has been a disaster (just in case it ever happens!), try to maintain a cheerful disposition and don't indicate in any way to the audience your furious feelings. Wait at least until you get to the dressing room.
Membership and Subscriptions
Subs are set by the Committee and are currently £175 per year and £85 for full-time students.
They are payable via Membermojo at the start of the autumn rehearsals. Please ensure prompt payment and do use gift aid as we are able to claim the additional 25% of your subscription. You can pay by instalments and any player with financial hardship should speak with the Chair for special arrangements
For details on how to log in, pay gift aid, update your details and pay your subs, please go to the CSO Membership page
Please contact Judith Beton on Membership@CSOrchestra.org if you need any information or assistance