Longwell Green Orchestra

The Longwell Green Orchestra is an amateur group based in the Longwell Green Community Centre, Shellards Road, Longwell Green, Bristol.

This community based orchestra plays mainly light classical music for many local groups, senior citizens clubs and charities in the South West. The musicians are of mixed ability, and range in age from teenager to retired.

The Orchestra encourages and supports all its members whether new players or those resuming a lapsed hobby and has at its heart the pleasure and enjoyment of making music.

The Orchestra meets on Thursday evenings at 7.30pm in Longwell Green Community Centre. New members are very welcome.

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Rehearsals every Thursday at 7:30pm, Longwell Green Community Centre, Shellards Road, Longwell Green, Bristol, BS30 9DU

Date Event Venue Time  
Thurs 7th March Open Rehearsal Ellacombe Room, Longwell Green Community Centre 7.30pm  
Fri 8th March Committee Meeting      
Thurs 14th March AGM Ellacombe Room, Longwell Green Community Centre 7.30pm  


The Orchestra currently has vacancies for the following instruments:

If you are a beginner or starting a different instrument or resuming a lapsed hobby we would love to see you. Age or ability is no barrier. Eventually you would need to be about Grade 4 to cope with playing in an orchestra but a couple of our members have come as beginners and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Membership subscriptions are £12.00 per month for adults, £8.50 per month for students and pensioners and £2.50 per month for school students.

INTERESTED? Contact us!


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History - years of the Longwell Green Orchestra

The keynote of this orchestra is, of course, enthusiasm for music-making. This long-established Orchestra made its beginnings in a very modest way in 1921. Alfred Lovell, a cellist, together with a few other musicians started to accompany the hymns played at a Men's Bible Class This was well liked by the congregation so they later introduced other pieces of music and, subsequently, a musical service was held once a month where ladies were also invited to attend. This was called Open Sunday and continued until the 1970's.

The musical group became known as a Brotherhood Orchestra, one of many in the Bristol area. The president of the Brotherhood was for many years William Garland. His son, Leslie, played the 'cello in the group for 66 years having been taught by Alf Lovell. In those days many individuals were keen to learn an instrument and join the Brotherhood Orchestra as there were few distractions and no television.

Thursday night has always been rehearsal night and originally this took place in The Hut, a corrugated building situated near where the Post Office now stands. It was an ex army hut brought from Salisbury Plain and was used by the YMCA, as a doctor's surgery, a library, for parties and, of course, a rehearsal room for the Orchestra. It was cold and draughty in Winter and boiling hot in Summer but nothing stopped the keenness of the musicians to make music.

When a Memorial Hall was built to remember those who had died in the war many of the musicians were involved in this venture both practically and with money. This has all been extended and is now a thriving Community Centre where the Orchestra has rehearsed since soon after it was built.

The Orchestra have always been happy to perform wherever and whenever asked and over the years they have entertained at supper clubs; played for the over 60's, the disabled or for the blind; performed at hospitals; played background music for fetes and fairs as well as given many concerts. It has a varied social side and in recent years they have travelled further afield to combine a holiday with performing concerts in France.

The first conductor was William Shirley who was a violin teacher. He was a jolly individual who smoked all the while he both conducted and played the violin. In its long history four other conductors have been very important to the orchestra: each of them a talented musician in his own right and devoting a considerable time and effort to its success. The first of these, Cliff Powlesland, played and taught the violin and he conducted for 50 years with gentle good humour. Robert Lavis, an excellent trumpeter and composer, directed it for 8 years, introducing both new music and new ways which helped to consolidate and improve what had gone before. Colin Exley, having played trombone in the orchestra and with a vast amount of musical experience, conducted for about 5 years with much good humour and encouragement. His novel ideas and methods put new life into the Orchestra and were greeted with enthusiasm by members, even when some of his ideas went awry, e.g. when members were sea sick while playing in rough seas on a paddle steamer!

The Orchestra is now most fortunate to have Paul Sidney at the helm, ably directing the orchestra with gentle encouragement and continuing in the tradition of the orchestra where good humour and a relaxed manner ensures the best is achieved from the players.

In spite of the disbanding of many music groups this one still thrives with a current membership of around 40. Its success is ensured by its members sharing a love of music-making together with the feeling of friendship and informality.

A book was published in 1996 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Orchestra and this book is still obtainable. It contains not only stories and amusing anecdotes of the Orchestra over the years but photos and stories of Longwell Green village too.

If you play a musical instrument, (even if you have not played for some years), you will find a warm welcome in the congenial atmosphere of this orchestra.



The LGO has a long tradition of playing mainly light classical pieces - Overtures, 'Pops', Suites, Intermezzos and single movements from larger works. We also play medleys from shows and films, Christmas music and occasionally jazz scored for orchestra. The list below is not exhaustive but is taken from concerts over the past few years.

Sailing By Funeral March of a Marionette
Glow Worm Three Dances from Henry XIII
Carmen Suite The Nutcracker Suite
The Lion King Music from "Frozen"
Eagles on Tour Minnie the Moocher
The Best of Michael Jackson Bolero - Ravel
Seven Dances from "Danserye" Fantasia on "Greensleeves"
1812 Overture - Tchaikovsky Concierto de Aranjuez - Rodrigo
Fantasiestucke - Nielson William Tell Overture - Rossini
The Carnival of the Animals Music from Evita
March to the Scaffold An American in Paris Suite
The Severn Suite Danse Macabre
Oliver! Schubert's Unfinished Symphony
Mozart's Clarinet Concerto Music from Apollo 13
Selections from Les Miserables Finlandia
Parade of the Tin Soldiers Rudetski March
Overture to Nabucco Mozart's 'Toy Symphony'
The Typewriter Disney Magic
Entry of the Gladiators Duke Ellington
The Can-Can Jurassic Park
The Empire Strikes Back Pirates of the Caribbean
The Snow Maiden The Pink Panther
Polovtsian Dances Moon River
In Persian Market Granada
Grease! (medley) Leroy Anderson Favourites
Gabriel's Oboe Shaker Variants
Swan Lake - 1st Movement Hungarian Dances
Selections from Porgy and Bess Coriolanus Overture
Pageant March Hungarian Rhapsody No.2
Summer Days Suite Cavatina
Country Gardens Coppelia Ballet
Red Poppies Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest
The King and I Chanson de Matin
Egmont Slavonic Dance No.8
Fairy Dream Norwegian Dance No. 1
Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep Tribute to Henry Mancini
Symphony No. 1 - 3rd movement, extract Nessun Dorma
The Wallace and Gromit Theme Thunderbirds
Hymn to the Fallen The Radio 4 UK Theme
Adagio from 'Spartacus' (previously on loan from the Light Music Society) Tales of the Vienna Woods
Clog Dance Flute Dance
The Nineteen Twenties Canon and Gigue
Land of the Mountain and the Flood West Side Story
Selection from Harry Potter New World Symphony
Concert for Bassoon - Mozart Pachelbel's canon
Vltava Old Wine in New Bottles - Gordon Jacob
'The Three Bears' - Coates Abba Medley
Overture 'Die Fledermaus' Gymnopedies 1 & 2
Czardas - Montii The Dance of the Tumblers
Humoreske Symphonic Reflections - Lloyd-Webber
Pomp and Circumstance Marches No. 1 & 4 Medley from 'Titanic'
Themes from 007 Viva Verdi!
Symphony No. 40 first movement Mozart New World Symphony 2nd Movement
Sleigh Ride Christmas Carols
Phantom of the Opera Miss Saigon
March - Washington Post Acceleration Waltz
Pizzicato Polka Tribute to Louis Armstrong
Overture - Lustspiel March of the Tin Soldiers
The Thieving Magpie Intermezzo from 'Cavalleria Rusticana'
Selection of Gilbert & Sullivan In a Persian Market
Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 Slavonic Dance No. 9
Hebrides overture Beethoven's 5th (final movement)
Suite - Ballet Egyptien Albinoni Concerto 7/5 for 2 Oboes
Selection from 'Cats' In a Monastery Garden
Medley from 'Titanic' The Marriage of Figaro - Overture
Sophisticated Lady Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
The Barber of Seville - Overture Waltz from the Jazz Suite No. 2 (Shostakovich)
Sailor's Hornpipe Don Pasquale - Overture
Leroy Anderson Favourites Il Trovatore - 'Anvil Chorus'
Theme from 'Mission: Impossible' March - The Liberty Bell
Fancy Dress Suite -Armstrong Gibbs 'Satchmo' a tribute to Louis Armstrong
Rustle of Spring The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
L'Enfant Prodigue - Wormser Parasol Promenade
Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves Slavonic Dance Op. 46 No. 8
The Pink Panther Theme The Teddy Bear's Picnic
Theme from 'Mission: Impossible' Redemption - Scott Richards
English Folk Songs Suite Serenade

Contacts and location

Rehearsals every Thursday at 7:30pm in the Ellacombe Room, Longwell Green Community Centre.

Longwell Green Community Centre, Shellards Road, Longwell Green, Bristol, BS30 9DU

Email: contact@longwellgreenorchestra.org.uk

Contact us by phone - voice or SMS (text) - on our dedicated hotline: 07972 844073


To finish, a few jokes on a musical theme...

Definition of Accelerando - the conductor has just turned over two pages

At the start of an evening most woodwind players are quietly moistening their reeds.
    What a pity trumpet players dont do the same with their mouthpieces?

Why do orchestras have so many string players?
    That way you stand a better chance of one of them playing the right note!

Why do orchestras often have a piano?
    Well you've got have something to put your beer mugs on.

Seen on a blues Singer's Headstone:
    "Well! I didn't wake up this mornin'!"

What do you call a banjo player wearing a suit?
    The defendant

What is the difference between an oboe player and a psychiatric patient?
The oboe player hasn't been caught yet!

From the LGO book of lame excuses:
Conductor: What you played was right but a bar late.
    Player: Well, my colleague usually does the counting for me but he isn't here!

From the LGO book of lame excuses:
I've been practising and the first page is still at home.
(Nobody believed any of this especially the first three words!)

What can you do with a rubber trumpet?
  Join a rubber band!

From the LGO book of lame excuses:
  Player: 'I've just returned from Ireland and my mind is still there!'
  (How are things in Glochamara anyway?)

From the LGO book of lame excuses:
  Player: 'I only know the third trumpet part here not the first trumpet part'
  Conductor: 'But all three trumpets are in unison here!'

What is the difference between a violin and a viola?
  About a fiver

Conductor to percussionist: 'Can't you read music?'
  Percussionist: 'Not enough to hurt my playing!'

Who was that piccolo I saw you with last night?
  That was no piccolo that was my fife!

What is the difference between a cello and a coffin?
  The coffin has the corpse on the inside.

From the LGO book of lame excuses:
  Conductor: I think that note should have been a D.
  Bassoon: I know, but my fingers insisted it was an E!

From the LGO book of excuses/lame/strings:
  Conductor: Bring out that repeated note and keep it going.
  First Violin: If I do that I'll get repetitive strain injury!

You rarely see a flautist taking a breath because they have a vast supply of air in their heads

How do you get a flute to play loudly?
  Stretch it bit, bend it a bit, stick a mouthpiece in it and pretend it's a trumpet!!

From the LGO book of lame excuses:
  Conductor: 'You came in a beat late.'
  Player: 'Well my foot said it was the right place!'

One bass player to another during a break:
  'You know that great bit where we go 'boom, boom, boom?'
  Well at the same time there's a bloke up on stage singing 'Toreador, toreador' !

Why is a French horn regarded as divine?
  Because man blows into it and God only knows what comes out!

How do you make sure your oboe wont get stolen?
  Put it in a clarinet case!

What's the difference between a violinist and a dog?
  A dog needs fleas to make it scratch!

Presto - Hurry up the bar closes in 10 minutes
  Prestissimo - They're closing now!!!

What's a one-ba?
  Half a Tuba

Would that an organ stop did exactly that!

What do call a trumpet player playing in public?

Who is always last to arrive at a party?
  The viola players - they always come in late

From the LGO book of lame excuses:
  I've got the wrong glasses on so I can only see the music not the conductor!
  (Note this excuse used the other way round can also be used to excuse playing bum notes)

What does an oboist do if he swallows his reed?
  Plays muted trumpet!

Air -
  - goes out of a clarinettist's mouth and through his instrument
  - goes out of a flautist's mouth and over his instrument
  - with a violinist goes in one ear and out of the other

A minor second -
  Two flutes playing in unison

The definition of a conductor:
  Someone who is able to follow many people at once

What happens if you play the 'blues' backwards?
  You get out of prison, your dog comes back from the dead, your wife returns and you get your job back

Why is a bassoon better than an oboe?
  Because you get more matchsticks when you cut it up

What is the best tool to use to tune a violin?
  A pair of wirecutters

How to cook a conductor

Small wonder there is pollution when so much air has to pass through saxophones

The bass player hid one of the percussionists' sticks during the interval.
When the percussionist returned and found he now only had one stick, he leapt up and down for joy shouting
"At last! I've been promoted to conductor"

How does a clarinet player handle a difficult passage?
  He stops to change his reed!

Old trombonists never die, they only slide away

A lady returned a parrot to the pet shop complaining it didn't talk.
The pet shop owner took out a double bass and started to play a jazz solo, at which the parrot started talking with an extensive vocabulary and eloquence.
When the lady asked why the bass cured the parrots silence,
the owner replied: 'everybody talks during the bass solo'

What is the definition of a canon?
  Two viola players playing the same part

From the LGO book of lame excuses:
  Conductor: Go back to bar one.
  French horn Player: My part doesn't have bar numbers!

Perfect pitch:
  Just the right consistency of bitumen to tar and feather a conductor!

What is the purpose of the bell on a bass clarinet?
  To store the ashes in from the rest of the instrument

How do you get a cello to play loudly?
  Mark the music 'pp expressivo'

From the LGO book of lame excuses:
  Conductor: Try to make sure you put in that rest at the beginning of the bar.
  Musician: Well it's all a bit high for me...
  Conductor: Put the rest down an octave then!

What is the difference between an oboe and an onion?
  Nobody cries when you chop up an oboe!

MUSIC:- A complex organisation of sounds that is set down by the composer, incorrectly interpreted by the conductor who is ignored by the musicians, the result of which is ignored by the audience!!!