The Wimborne Orchestra, formerly known as Corfe Mullen Orchestra, was founded in 1951 by Arthur Shaft, who was then headmaster of Lockyer’s School, Corfe Mullen. He conducted the orchestra for many years.
After his retirement, the baton was taken up by several others for short periods, but in January 2005 John Turner took over as director of music. At the same time the emphasis of the orchestra was changed slightly: it was decided to make it a true ‘community’ orchestra open to all who wished to play, regardless of their age or experience.
Since 2005 the membership has increased substantially: we now have over 70 members. The rehearsal schedule has been extended: from meeting in school terms only, we now meet all the year round, with just short breaks at Christmas and Easter, plus the statutory bank holidays.
In addition to many informal end-of-term concerts in our rehearsal venue, we have played in the Allendale Centre, Wimborne; at Castle Court School, Corfe Mullen; at the Blandford Georgian Fayre; in the United Reformed Church, Skinner Street, Poole; in the Coade Hall, Bryanston; at Colehill Memorial Hall; and, at the Hamworthy Social Club, Canford Magna, as well as a local WI and several retirement homes. A group also took their instruments to a Rainbows meeting and demonstrated them to the young members.
In September 2011 we organised our first Musicmaking Day, when players brought their instruments from as far away as Andover, Warminster and Yeovil to spend a day rehearsing a variety of music and leading to a final playthrough open to all. Similar events have been run each year since then.
The orchestra is always pleased to hear from charitable organisations thinking of putting on a fundraising event. We have also in the past found small groups of members to play in venues for which a full orchestra would be too large. The most recent was at a reception given by the Mayor of Wimborne.