Continued Suspension – January 2021

It is with regret that we have had to continue to suspend rehearsals.

Please do note that we are meeting and playing online fortnightly on our zoom rehearsals – please do let us know if you would like to join us.

Best wishes and stay safe


Mark (Chair)

UCO Suspension Update

Hello all

Regrettably the Committee have taken the decison to suspend rehearsals until earliest Jan 2021.

However, we do hope to start some online meetings soon… further details to follow

Best wishes and stay safe

Mark (Chair)

UCO future and re-opening

Hello all

Since we were last in touch the Government guidelines for amateur musicians and groups have changed and the committee have been looking at what options are open to us and how we can safely comply.

We would very much like your views on the future of our Orchestra for the weeks and months ahead.  Indoor rehearsals are now allowed subject to risk assessments and with appropriate mitigations, numbers and social distancing (see below). We really want to know the views of as many of you as possible, whatever they may be, and have attached a survey for that purpose.

We recognise that everyone has a different level of risk due to age and health conditions, as well as a different level of risk they are able or willing to take. We have prepared a survey – Please be honest in your responses in the questionnaire in the attached link below so that we can assess which direction to take. Please do note that the questionnaire was prepared before the latest government changes, but we do still wish to know your feelings.

The requirements for re-opening would be strict, extensive and advised in advance. They are based on government advice tailored for musicians which has been issued nationally to Amateur Music groups by Making Music. Some of the requirements are:

  • keeping 2m apart at all times including outside the building (When playing the distance would be 3m between for wind and brass and everyone 3m away from the conductor)

  • hand washing on arrival and leaving,

  • bringing your own chair if possible for you,

  • masks to be worn (except while playing wind or brass),

  • no sharing of music or music stands,

  • self-declaration forms to be completed for each rehearsal and more.

  • Regular cleaning of “touch points”

  • One way system for entry and exit

  • And more….!

There is also a requirement to keep windows and doors open and for everyone to leave the building after every 15 minutes of playing, leaving doors and windows fully open to ventilate the room further.

These steps are necessary to reduce the risk and in order to comply with our insurance. The Committee does not feel they can dilute these guidelines.

Please be reassured to know that the responses for each question are totally anonymous and separate so we cannot tell who gave which answer, and we cannot group a set of answers.
We very much look forward to receiving your responses as soon as possible. Please do let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
Best wishes
Mark, Pamela, David , Linda
UCO Committee

July 2020 Update

Hello everyone!

We hope you are all well and staying safe.

Currently there are no plans to recommence orchestra rehearsals for this term – all being well we will meet back in September.

We hope you are continuing to practice your instruments and enjoy the newsletters (with music etc.).  Please do let us know if you have news or music that we can share in the newsletters.


Best wishes

Mark (Chair).

Covid-19 update

It is with regret, and after much deliberation, that the UCO committee has decided to suspend rehearsals until after the Easter break, in view of the potential worsening  of the virus outbreak. We will  review the situation again after Easter and base any decisions on the Ministry advice at that time. It is difficult to know what is best but overall we have decided to take the cautious route and keep our members from passing on any new contamination.
Please do continue to practice and we will be in touch at intervals.

Current Conductors

The Orchestra is delighted that Sundari Heller LRAM has agreed to conduct the orchestra alongside Robin Hare who has a lot of experience as a music director and is currently involved with a number of local amateur music groups including a Jazz Group and in particular with Tunbridge Wells Operatic and Dramatic Society (TWODS).

We look forward to a fruitful and fulfilling musical year!

Appointment of Musical Director

We are delighted that Will Wilkins has accepted the position of Musical Director. Will graduated from Southampton University in 2018, where he specialised in conducting in his final year.

Will is a music teacher with West Sussex Music. He is assistant conductor with with the West Sussex County Youth Orchestra and County Youth Wind Orchestra. We look forward to our association with him.

New Members

Do you play an orchestral instrument (strings, wind, brass or percussion)? Or do you have a youngster who would benefit from playing in a group? At Uckfield Community Orchestra we welcome anyone to join us aged from 8 years old to 80 years young. Whether you are still at school, retired or picking up your instrument again after a break, get in touch via our Contacts page. Come along and see if you would like to join. Venue, times etc are on the website. We have a professional Music Director and attract players from across East Sussex and Kent.

Appt of New Chair

We are very sad to report that Nigel Whitty, our Chair, has resigned his position and is leaving the orchestra. Understandably, he wishes to develop his saxaphone playing in a different context. We wish him every success in the future.

At a Committee meeting on 31 July, Geoff Gibbs agreed to step into the post until our AGM in January 2020 as there was no conflict with his position as librarian.