The Story of St Mewan Sinfonia.Intheearly1970sastringquartetwasformed.TheplayerswereAlanTregaskesandJanetPrisk,violins;BobEdwards,viola andRosemaryCock,celloandtheymetregularlyatRosemary’shome.BobEdwardswasDirectoroftheCornwallRural MusicSchoolandwantedsomeconductingexperience,sowiththehelpoftheotherplayers,in1974heexpandedthe quartet to form a small string orchestra.Rosemary’sfrontroomcouldnotaccommodatethisenlargedgroup,sotheyhiredStMewanChurchHallfortheirweekly rehearsals.Therentwastenshillingsaweek(50p)andRosemary’shusband,Davidcameinearlyeachweektolightthe stovesothatitwouldbewarmenoughfortheplayers.Therehearsalvenuefurnishedthefirstpartoftheorchestra’sname, St Mewan, and sinfonia is Italian for symphony, which in turn is derived from the Greek sumphonie, meaning harmonious. Sadly, no records were kept until 1989, but we think the following details are largely correct.ThefirstleaderoftheneworchestrawasMonicaPethybridgewhoremainedastalwartsupporteroftheorchestraforthe restofherlife.ShewassucceededbyPamelaRosenfeld,awell-knownviolinteacher,thencameSarahToogood(née Dussek,nowGane),StevenWoodcock,AlanTregaskes,MollyDussek(motherofSarah),MilesBasterandfinallyourcurrent leader,MartinWhite.BobEdwardsleftthecountywhentheCornwallRuralMusicSchoolwastakenoverbytheCornwall CountyMusicServiceandhisplaceasconductorwastakenbytheyoungDavidFrost.Afterawhilepressureofworkcaused himtoresignandhewasfollowedsuccessivelybyDavidHendry,FrankSalter,MartinHall,DavidJefferyandAlanSlaughter. AlansadlydiedinJanuary1998afteralongillnessandDavidFrostagreedtoagainbecomeourpermanentconductor,a postheheldforthenext15years.InOctober2013NigelWickentookoverthebatonandcontinuestoprovidebothusand the audiences with interesting and challenging music.Overtheyearstherehasbeenahistoryofromanceintheorchestraand,startingwithDavidFrostandhiswifeKaren,at least five marriages have taken place between members of the orchestra.DuringtheSeventiesandearlyEightiestheorchestragraduallyexpandedandanewrehearsalvenuehadtobefoundto accommodateeveryone.ForawhileitmetinBiscoveyChurchHall,buteventhatwasnotbigenoughsoitmovedto GrampoundVillageHall.Thiswascertainlylargeenough,butitwassobigthatitwasimpossibletoheateffectively.String playerscan’tplaywithcoldhands,sowedecidedtomoveagain.In1999westartedrehearsinginahallatProbusGardens. Thiswasawonderfulrehearsalvenue-convenient,warmandwithexcellentacoustics.Wewereverysadtoleavetherethis summerwhentheGardensweresold,butwearenowhappilysettledatProbusCountyPrimarySchool,wherewehave been made very welcome.Apartfromplayingforourownenjoyment,theorchestraaimstoraisemoneyforcharitythroughgivingconcerts.Weare alsoanxioustoinvolvechildreninorchestralplayingwheneverpossibleinordertopassontothemsomeofourenthusiasm formusic.Weinevitablyhavequiteahighturnoverofplayersasmembersgotocollege,getjobsoutofthecountyor otherwise move on, but in general the number stays fairly constant at between twenty and twenty-five players.Webecamearegisteredcharityin1993,whichmeans,amongstotherthings,thatwedonotaimtooperateataprofit,but tomakesufficientmoneytoruntheorchestraandtohireorbuymusic.Wereceivenoregularincomefromoutsidesources andfundtherunningoftheorchestrabymembers’subscriptions,bydonationsfromFriendsandSponsorsandbytakinga proportion of the box office at concerts. In1994MonicaPethybridge,whohadbeenthefirstleaderoftheorchestra,becamethefirstFriendoftheOrchestra.Since then,thenumberofFriendshassteadilyincreasedandtheorchestraverymuchappreciatesthesupporttheygiveby showinganinterestintheorchestra,attendingconcertsandbytheirgenerousdonations.Ifyouwouldliketobecomea friend of this orchestra, email us by clicking on this link.ToplayinanorchestralikeStMewanSinfoniaisimmenselysatisfyingandgreatfun.Inthepastfortyyearsorsomany musicianshavepassedthroughitsranksandithasplayedtoaudiencesallovertheCounty.Wehopethatitwillcontinueto give equal pleasure to its players and audiences over the next forty years.
The Story of St Mewan Sinfonia.In the early 1970s a string quartet was formed. The players were Alan Tregaskes and Janet Prisk, violins; Bob Edwards, viola and Rosemary Cock, cello and they met regularly at Rosemary’s home.Bob Edwards was Director of the Cornwall Rural Music School and wanted some conducting experience, so with the help of the other players, in 1974 he expanded the quartet to form a small string orchestra.Rosemary’s front room could not accommodate this enlarged group, so they hired St Mewan Church Hall for their weekly rehearsals. The rent was ten shillings a week (50p) and Rosemary’s husband, David came in early each week to light the stove so that it would be warm enough for the players.The rehearsal venue furnished the first part of the orchestra’s name, St Mewan, and sinfonia is Italian for symphony, which in turn is derived from the Greek sumphonie, meaning harmonious. Sadly, no records were kept until 1989, but we think the following details are largely correct.The first leader of the new orchestra was Monica Pethybridge who remained a stalwart supporter of the orchestra for the rest of her life. She was succeeded by Pamela Rosenfeld, a well-known violin teacher, then came Sarah Toogood (née Dussek, now Gane), Steven Woodcock, Alan Tregaskes, Molly Dussek (mother of Sarah), Miles Baster and finally our current leader, Martin White.Bob Edwards left the county when the Cornwall Rural Music School was taken over by the Cornwall County Music Service and his place as conductor was taken by the young David Frost. After a while pressure of work caused him to resign and he was followed successively by David Hendry, Frank Salter, Martin Hall, David Jeffery and Alan Slaughter. Alan sadly died in January 1998 after a long illness and David Frost agreed to again become our permanent conductor, a post he held for the next 15 years. In October 2013 Nigel Wicken took over the baton and continues to provide both us and the audiences with interesting and challenging music.Over the years there has been a history of romance in the orchestra and, starting with David Frost and his wife Karen, at least five marriages have taken place between members of the orchestra.During the Seventies and early Eighties the orchestra gradually expanded and a new rehearsal venue had to be found to accommodate everyone. For a while it met in Biscovey Church Hall, but even that was not big enough so it moved to Grampound Village Hall. This was certainly large enough, but it was so big that it was impossible to heat effectively. String players can’t play with cold hands, so we decided to move again. In 1999 we started rehearsing in a hall at Probus Gardens. This was a wonderful rehearsal venue - convenient, warm and with excellent acoustics. We were very sad to leave there this summer when the Gardens were sold, but we are now happily settled at Probus County Primary School, where we have been made very welcome.Apart from playing for our own enjoyment, the orchestra aims to raise money for charity through giving concerts. We are also anxious to involve children in orchestral playing whenever possible in order to pass on to them some of our enthusiasm for music. We inevitably have quite a high turnover of players as members go to college, get jobs out of the county or otherwise move on, but in general the number stays fairly constant at between twenty and twenty-five players.We became a registered charity in 1993, which means, amongst other things, that we do not aim to operate at a profit, but to make sufficient money to run the orchestra and to hire or buy music. We receive no regular income from outside sources and fund the running of the orchestra by members’ subscriptions, by donations from Friends and Sponsors and by taking a proportion of the box office at concerts. In 1994 Monica Pethybridge, who had been the first leader of the orchestra, became the first Friend of the Orchestra. Since then, the number of Friends has steadily increased and the orchestra very much appreciates the support they give by showing an interest in the orchestra, attending concerts and by their generous donations. If you would like to become a friend of this orchestra, email us by clicking here.To play in an orchestra like St Mewan Sinfonia is immensely satisfying and great fun. In the past forty years or so many musicians have passed through its ranks and it has played to audiences all over the County. We hope that it will continue to give equal pleasure to its players and audiences over the next forty years.