Who we are

We are players of all ages and abilities who meet on Saturday mornings to enjoy rehearsing a wide variety of orchestral music. Our programme is chosen to allow the exploration of a varied repertoire in a friendly workshop environment. We rehearse and perform mainly for our own pleasure but at the end of each term, we hold an open rehearsal for 'friends and loved ones'.

In the summer of 2019 we surveyed our members to find out what they particularly enjoy about being a member of SMO – with more than half having attended for over five years we knew there would be many positive responses.

‘Informal, friendly atmosphere’

Nearly half of our members cited the atmosphere of SMO as one of the things they really enjoy, with several mentioning that there are only informal performances at the end of term, not formal concerts. ‘A low-pressure environment’ mentioned one member; ‘encourages rather than embarrasses’ reflects the tone set by Musical Director Jerry Lanning.

‘Range of repertoire that changes every term’

Jerry received recognition not just for his encouraging and enthusiastic guidance but for his choice of music for SMO. ‘Interesting repertoire, thoughtfully chosen by an excellent MD’ said one member, while many others commented with pleasure on the broad range of classical music that SMO explores, offering the challenge and variety of orchestral works to the players without being inaccessible.

‘Meeting new people with a shared interest’

SMO is a friendly, sociable and welcoming place to be on a Saturday morning, with people from varied backgrounds coming together with music as a common interest. Our members include professionals from technology, medicine, HR and education and as one member who is a music teacher commented, she particularly enjoys that people choose to make music for pleasure, without the coercion often involved in her day-job! While many of our members live in or close to Reading, we have regular attendees from further afield, including Oxford, Basingstoke and Newbury.

Why join SMO?

As one member summarised: ‘SMO provides an opportunity to gain experience and confidence in a welcoming and supportive environment without the pressure of performing to the paying public.’ Overwhelmingly the message to you if you are thinking of trying SMO is ‘give it a go!’

© 2023 Saturday Morning Orchestra