The Pulham Orchestra | Taking Part | Norfolk | Suffolk

Taking Part

Our home location

Pulham Market is located about mid-way between the county town of Ipswich (Suffolk) and the city of Norwich (Norfolk) and lies only about a mile east of the A140 which links them.

Pulham Market map
Pulham Market Memorial Hall

Our usual venue

The Pulham Market Memorial Hall (Post code: IP21 4SU)

Situated adjacent to The Falcon public house, which faces the village green, the Memorial Hall accommodates most rehearsals and many of our 'open events'. 

It's a spacious, comfortable, centrally-heated venue with facilities including a sizeable, well-equipped kitchen, a separate meeting / dining room and wi-fi.

It is also fully accessible, with a level floor throughout the building and a level entrance / exit. At least one vehicle can be parked only a few steps from the entrance and further space is usually available nearby.

Membership (FAQs)

We’ll be pleased to answer any further questions, which can be submitted via the form here 
or by telephone to Andrew Baker on 01379 852460

We do not audition.

No Vacancy:
If we don’t currently have a vacancy for your instrument or part, we can, if you wish, add your name to our waiting list. (This invariably applies only to wind and percussion sections).

Playing position / part:
Assignment of players to any particular part or seating position is the responsibility of the Director of Music, who will be pleased to discuss any concerns or issues.

Visit us:
Any player considering membership is most welcome to either come along to listen, have a chat and see how we do things, or to play, usually for two rehearsals before committing to membership. If you would like to do either, simply let us know via the form here.

If you require assistance to attend rehearsals, possibly a driver or companion, they are welcome to wait either in the main hall or in the adjacent meeting room.

Other than at Christmas and New Year, we meet throughout the year on Tuesday afternoons, from 2pm to 4pm, with a 15-minute tea / coffee break. We meet fortnightly, on the second and fourth Tuesdays in each month, but also on the fifth Tuesday in relevant months.

We usually give two or three concerts a year, either in churches, community buildings or schools in Norfolk or Suffolk. Formal performances are usually given on Saturdays, preceded by a final rehearsal at the venue, usually commencing no earlier than 3pm.

While we hope that all members will take part, participation in concerts and other public events is not mandatory. Our Director of Music will be pleased to discuss and advise on any related matters.

For formal concerts, ladies are encouraged to wear ‘all black’, i.e. above and below the waist. For gents, a black jacket, trousers and shoes with a white shirt. (Dinner suits are preferred, but not mandatory). Gents should also have a black bow tie, although red ties are issued for some events.

In the event of any concerns or issues, please don’t hesitate to speak with the Director of Music.

Our community:
With about 70% of members having been with the orchestra for at least five years, quite a few substantially longer, and given the length of its existence, it’s no small wonder that the orchestra has become something of a community; the foundation of various informal and social activities.

A number of members play together privately in small informal groups, a few have risen to the challenge of playing a solo with the orchestra informally during rehearsals, and our annual summer ‘soiree’, usually arranged as a garden-party with musical entertainment, has become a much-anticipated event; members invariably rallying to provide contributions - both musical and edible!

Regrettably, membership subscriptions are necessary to cover principal expenses. Our current rate (which has remained the same for some years) is £60 p.a. which can be paid half-yearly if preferred.


Despite there being no rehearsals or performances for almost two years due to Covid restrictions, the list of works we've rehearsed or performed in the last five years (or thereabouts) remains too lengthy to feature here in detail.

In summary, however, it includes at least six symphonies (principally from the classical and early romantic eras), five overtures, four marches, three concerti (baroque works for violin, organ and recorder), some choral accompaniments, two woodwind ensembles, various arrangements of film and stage-show favourites, some pieces specially composed or arranged for the orchestra, various suites of dances, some fifteen various short works and by no means last – or least, the following film score.

In 2017, the orchestra was particularly honoured by an invitation to perform Laura Rossi’s score, commissioned by the Imperial War Museum, to accompany one of the 100 national public showings of the Museum’s commemorative silent film ‘Battle of the Somme’, marking the battle’s centenary. The film was shown in St Mary’s Church, Diss in May of that year. An unquestionably sombre, emotive and technically challenging performance which was thankfully very well received.

Open events - general information

'Come and Play' days, tutorial workshops (some held over two or three days) and ‘Come and Sing’ days have proved immensely popular over the years with all age-groups and levels of ability. A few participants have even travelled from as far as Yorkshire and Wales!

Those under the age of 18 are welcome to take part, but due to safeguarding requirements, must be accompanied by a parent or authorised adult. A parent or authorised adult must also complete the relevant application.
Please click on ‘Enquiries’ above, and select 'Register (For under 18’s)'.

An attendance fee is payable in respect of most open events, which will be confirmed when details are announced. We invariably offer a concessionary discount (around 30%) to those under 18yrs or in full time education.

Unfortunately, for instrumental events, we cannot accept those unable to read music to about grade three standard, or instruments which are not usual orchestral instruments. (This includes the guitar, banjo, ukulele, accordion, electronic keyboard and recorder).

'Come and Play' & 'Come and Sing' days

Usually taking place once or twice a year, ‘Come and Play’ days are informal one-day events held either on a Saturday or Sunday, during which one or two significant works, such as extensive suites or symphonies are studied, usually under the direction of an invited and fully experienced guest conductor. The orchestra generally numbers around 35 to 45 players.

The day starts at 09.30 with registration, concluding at around 5pm following a play-through of the works studied, sometimes before a small, invited audience. (Concert dress is not required).

A break for lunch and usually two other short breaks during the day allow refreshment, relaxation, and a chance to make new friends and contacts – if not to renew old acquaintances - among fellow players.

Although participants are advised to bring a packed lunch, liquid refreshments are always available (often accompanied by a slice of something tempting) and on some occasions we have provided a home-made buffet ‘tea’ for a small additional charge, which has served to round off the day quite splendidly.

Otherwise, apart from their instrument, players need only bring a music stand and a pencil.

'Come and Sing' days often afford singers the opportunity to be accompanied by an orchestra and are invariably held in churches or large halls. Facilities will therefore vary according to the venue, although any particular constraints will be made clear when details of events are announced. However, the organisational format is very similar to 'Come and Play' days. While local choirs will be advised of such events, singers not currently in membership of a choir are also welcome, provided they are able to follow their voice-part from printed music and sing at the correct pitch. Unfortunately, a one-day event does not allow time for learning a work purely by repetition! 

For 'Come and Sing' days, only singers need apply. Instrumentalists will be arranged by us as necessary.

To Register for an event - ADULTS: Please use the 'Register' form in 'Enquiries' (See link above). 
IF UNDER 18yrs: Please ask a parent or authorised adult to complete the 'Register (Under 18's)' form in 'Enquiries'. (See link above). 


In many respects, workshops are an extended ‘Come and Play' day, but with considerably greater in-depth study of the selected works and usually with professional instrumental coaching on hand. The organisational format is also similar but arranged over two or three days.

While workshops proved extremely popular for many years and were well attended, it would seem that in today’s far busier world, most players now prefer a one-day event.

We therefore have no immediate plans to arrange further workshops, but we continue to monitor possible interest.

Some feedback from participants…

“Many thanks to all involved. I look forward to hearing of future events”. (P.K. Cello, 2022)

“I had a great day on the 12th and I enjoyed it”. (P.C. Flute, 2022)

“The organisation of the day was faultless…” (L.R. Violin, 2018)

“It was well subscribed, so it had a great sense of occasion…” (J. S. Cello, 2018)

“Thank you for such an excellent play-day yesterday. It was so well organised and such fun to take part in”. (J.H. Cello, 2018)

“I thought I would let you know that I enjoyed the play-day yesterday very much. I wasn’t note perfect but it was great fun to work through the two pieces of music”… “I thought the day was very well organised and ‘tea’ such value for money”. ( I.M. Oboe, 2018)“

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The Pulham Orchestra | Norfolk | Suffolk