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Woodbridge Orchestral Society

   Site updated on    25 February 2019

Associates & Musical Directors

The orchestra's Presidents:

Dr Preston                                    1910 – 11

Mrs Capel-Cure                              1927 - 31

Mr Roger Quilter                            1932 - 53

Honourable Lady Gwynnedd Quilter  1954 - 60

Dr Imogen Holst                            1961 - 84

Mr James Butt                               1985

Mr Bernard Barrell                          1986 - 2005

Mr David Lloyd                              2005 - present day


The orchestra's musical director conductors:

H M Timbers                                  1907 - 20

Alfred J. Dye                                  1920 - 31

Philip Haines                                 1931 - 54

Bernard Barrell                               1954 - 85

James Butt                                    1985 - 88

Andrew Fairley                               1988 - 2000

Neville Reeder                               2000 - 2014

Christopher Robinson                      2014 - present day

The headmaster of the Woodbridge Council School in 1907, a Mr Timbers was the orchestra’s first director and conductor. The organisation first appointed a President in 1910. In 1921 Mr Timbers handed over the baton to Alfred Dye, but continued to play double-bass in the orchestra.

Alfred Dye was born in Lowestoft in 1850 and held organist positions in London before returning to Suffolk at St Mary’s Church Woodbridge in 1907. He became a much respected local music teacher, arranger and composer. He directed the orchestra from 1921 until 1931 when ill-health led him to resign. He died in Woodbridge on 28 October 1932.

Mr Philip Haines was the music master at Woodbridge School and when he took up the baton in 1931 he had played violin in the orchestra for six years. After maintaining local music-making through World War II, he was appointed in the mid-1940s as conductor of the Woodbridge Choral Society, directing both societies until his sudden death in 1954.

The orchestra was fortunate to have from that time a lengthy period of leadership by Bernard Barrell, whose own compositions enriched the orchestra’s work, particularly through miniatures written with amateur orchestras in mind and reflecting the character and landscape of East Anglia. His Fugue for Strings was performed in 1956, Holiday Overture in 1961, 1966 and 1969 (as well as rather more recently), Concertino for flute and strings in 1964, Salute to Stravinski in 1971 and Suffolk Celebration in 1977. Bernard’s associates in the music world included Imogen Holst who was WOS President for much of his period as Director and who herself wrote three special works for the orchestra. Bernard Barrell gave sensitive and well-informed leadership to the orchestra until forced to resign by the serious illness of his wife Joyce.

After a short interregnum in which direction was provide by James Butt a modern period followed with leadership by contemporary members and associates Andrew Fairley, Neville Reeder and the present Director Christopher Robinson.