Chairman's Welcome

Miles Leonard

I am delighted to be penning this note in August 2022, just as my wife Vivienne and I renew our work with ESO – we had been Chair and Vice Chair previously, before handing over to Phil & Nicky Hobbs, who have done a cracking job over the last six years, coping brilliantly with the challenges of Covid and overseeing the recruitment of a new Musical Director. Saying ‘thanks’ doesn’t really do justice to the contribution they made to ESO during this time, but I will say it again anyway!

As all ensembles must do, ESO continues to move forward and the future is exciting for many reasons – membership is strong, with new players joining the orchestra, our new Musical Director is full of energy and ideas and the members are really enjoying working with him, we have tried out some new concert ideas – with an open-air concert at Poltimore House and also moving one of our concerts to Exmouth. Both of these were somewhat ‘forced’ upon the orchestra, but both proved very successful and certainly brought new audiences to us (the Poltimore House concert was very much family friendly and well received). I wonder what might be next?

ESO was established back in the 1930s and is run by volunteers and funded entirely by the members and the revenue from the concerts we perform – we are grateful to Toco Design for their continuing support, as a Sponsor, and we hope that other local businesses may feel they want to get involved with us too. I’m very happy to discuss how we might work together and how we could support your business or organisation.

Generally, we play three concerts a year in and now around Exeter. We also support other organisations with fund raising concerts – for example the ABF – The Soldiers’ Charity, in the Cathedral. Membership is open to any players of the required standard – rehearsals are in Heavitree on a Tuesday evening during term time and you can get in touch via the Contact Us link on this website.

The orchestra would love to hear what you think about what we do – do please get in touch. It would be good to see collaboration with local groups, including schools etc, where ‘outreach’ is important, given the pressures on music education and the general lack of resources.

Thank you for visiting our website – and I hope you found it interesting. It would be lovely to see more ‘first timers’ come along to one of concerts and if you need any further information, or have any questions, please do get in touch.

Enjoy the music.

Miles Leonard

Chairman – ESO

'Thank you for putting some things in place for us on Saturday evening. I just wanted to thank all concerned who were extremely generous and made it happen. We had a wonderful time and my daughter had the most magical evening in the best seats she could have wished for.'

'It goes almost without saying how wonderfully talented the members of the orchestra are. We felt very privileged to be entertained and delighted by their professionalism and musical mastery. It was a truly amazing experience and one we will no doubt be talking about for some time to come.'

'I was in tears - the orchestra were playing from their soul'

'Thank you for a magical evening last night'

The Lord Mayor

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