As a Charity the Orchestra exists to serve the local community and to provide a forum for all musicians who enjoy playing in an ensemble. We have a policy of welcoming anyone without the requirement of an audition and we maintain no restrictions on section size within the orchestra. However at the discretion of the Musical Director, we may occasionally have to operate a waiting list for certain oversubscribed instruments.
The music we typically play will require someone of at least Grade 5 standard but exams are not expected. The age range of players encompasses year 9 school musicians to retired members. We offer the opportunity for school players to stretch their playing ability. Our music repertoire is wide and varied to suit all tastes and ranges from classical symphonies to show music incorporating big band and swing. Whatever your musical taste it should be well provided for.
The Orchestra is run by a chairman and committee and the involvement of members in organisation is encouraged and welcomed. We have social evenings from time to time and produce concerts 3 to 4 times a year. Members pay a termly fee to cover music cost etc. We pride ourselves on our friendly, hardworking approach to our music making.
We are led by Christine Meers and directed by Chris Gardner and Mike Glover.
We welcome opportunities to perform locally in aid of community causes.
Chris Gardner, son of the composer John Gardner, began his musical training at the Royal College of Music Junior Department where he studied timpani, percussion, clarinet and piano, and then at Sussex University where he took a degree in music. Most of his working life was spent at the Performing Right Society, where he had a number of jobs including that of IT Director, and he finished his working days as Managing Director of ICE Services AB, a Swedish Company owned by PRS and its Swedish counterpart, STIM.
Musical activity took an increasingly back seat as his professional career developed, but as retirement came in sight, from about 2007, he began easing himself back into musical
Not only is Chris joint conductor of the Alton Concert Orchestra, he often plays piano for other local choirs and performing groups such as AODS, as well as conducting Cantique chamber choir since 2010. He is a versatile musician, working as a composer, timpanist, accompanist, conductor and occasional clarinettist.
His Te Deum was performed by the Holybourne Singers in October 2015 and he regularly written music for Alton's Last Night of the Proms in the Alton Public Gardens. These works have included Fiesta Telefonica for mobile phone (performed by the Alton town mayor) and orchestra, A Hampshire Suite for country dance band and orchestra, and his latest, Dances of the British Isles, were performed at the 2015 concert.
2018 saw the first performance of Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning, at the annual Wonder of Christmas Concert in Alton Maltings, written in memory of Mac Newton and dedicated to everyone who has been involved in Alton’s Wonder of Christmas concerts.
Mike began his career as a music teacher after studying music, the French horn and Piano at Bretton Hall College. Following several years as Head of Music and conductor of the County Wind Band in Manchester, Mike moved down to Surrey with his wife and son, to teach music in an 11 – 18 school in Farnham. After completing a Master’s Degree in Education Management, Mike was appointed Assistant Head at the school. While at the school, he led many visits to schools across the world, including Japan where he and a group of students represented Great Britain at the United Nations Student Environmental Conference.
After completing the National Professional Qualification in Headship, Mike took up the post of Deputy Head teacher at an 11-18 school in Hinchley Wood, where he helped the school gain Music Specialist College status and move from Inadequate to Outstanding.
In addition to his passion for music Mike has had a range of interests including running, cycling, travel, painting and trekking. He led several expeditions including climbing Kilimanjaro, trekking across the Ruwenzori Mountains in Uganda and in 2017, led a 3 week trek across the Himalayan Mountains in Northern India. Mike also spent time in Northern Uganda in the war torn area of Gulu, working with charity organisations in supporting education in Northern Uganda.
Mikes involved himself in many charitable fund raising events, including a sky dive, running the London Marathon as well as several ultra-marathons, he took part in various cycle rides including the London to Brighton cycle ride for the British Heart Foundation.
In his spare time Mike continues to play the French horn, playing in local groups including the Alton Concert Band, the ACO and a few years ago agreed to support Chris as assistant conductor.
Our Committee is made up of players in the orchestra and are elected at our AGM each Autumn.
The Committee consists of the following Trustees:
Conductor: Chris Gardner
Assistant Conductor: Mike Glover
Conductor Laureate: Graham Cross
Leader: Christine Meers
Secretary: Judith Stradling
Membership Secretary: Megan Russell
Treasurer: Rebecca Kiff
Publicity Secretary: Sophie Barton
Concert Secretary: Nora Dobson
Extras Liaison: Angi Warran
Librarian: Trish Privetti
General Member: Ashley Canning