The orchestra started in 1995 as an evening class at Newbury College, under the name Newbury College Late Starters’ Orchestra, conducted by Patsy Moore and actually meeting at Denefield School in Tilehurst, an “outpost” of the College.
In the first term, it had only 14 members! Numbers have varied a lot since then, sometimes as high as the mid-forties, currently in the thirties. The mixture of instruments varies from one term to the next too. That’s an interesting challenge when it comes to choosing music that will stretch everyone “enough”.
Some people stay for years (we have four of the founder-members in the orchestra for the autumn term 2016, though only two have been in more or less continuously). Others just stay for a term, sometimes because that’s all it takes to convince them that they still know how to play the instrument after many years away from it. A handful of people have started with one instrument, moved on, then come back to try a different one.
The orchestra became independent in 2003 under the name “Do All Come And Play Orchestra” (DA CAPO), and settled almost immediately at Padworth Village Hall, South of the A4 probably about half way between Reading and Newbury.
As some readers will know, Da Capo is a musical term meaning “From the beginning”.