Essex Symphony Orchestra Reg. Charity No. 1000732

Site last updated on 22 February 2020

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Guide to the Rules of the Essex Symphony Orchestra

Essex Symphony Orchestra.

A guide to becoming a member, being a member, and how the orchestra is managed.

How do I join ESO?

Firstly, it is a good idea to read the New Members page on the website.  You will find there are two contact names, one for strings and one for wind and brass.  Their contact details are on the Contacts page of the website and it is OK to email or phone.  Be ready to explain your playing skills and experience so we know where you could fit in and if there is an opening at the moment.  As you might expect, at any one time some sections have their full complement and others always seem to have vacancies.

Is there an audition?

Certainly not in the X-Factor sense!  The first three rehearsals are used for you and the orchestra to get to know each other.  If you are a string player, you would probably share a desk with the section principal for one of those rehearsals.

How much does it cost?

There is an annual subscription set by the committee each year.  Ask about this when you first contact us about joining and get the current cost.  There are some options and discounts:

What does it mean to be a member?

Put at its simplest: you attend rehearsals and play in concerts, and for most of the time that is exactly what happens.  Anything else is not particularly complicated and very much what you would expect.  Let’s take them one at a time:


Regular attendance is important.  Our conductor plans the rehearsals so that we develop progressively toward the final performance.  This approach needs us to attend regularly, but it also builds confidence and a feeling at the end of a concert that we did alright on the night.

When life gets in the way (illness, work etc) and you cannot attend a rehearsal, we ask you to LET SOMEONE KNOW.  ‘Someone’ in this context is a committee member or your section principal.  It really helps us run the orchestra if we know what is happening, so a call, email or text would be appreciated.


You will have a part to take home and practise.  We ask that you look after it, do not lose it, do make sure it is returned at the end of a concert.  This is obvious but you have probably guessed - parts go missing.  Unfortunately the orchestra is charged what any reasonable person would call an unreasonable amount for missing parts.

Playing in concerts

Not everybody plays in every piece or in every concert.  Sometimes this is obvious: the Symphonies of Wind Instruments (Stravinsky) does not include parts for the strings.  But we have to accept that we will include such wind-only or strings-only works in our programmes from time to time.  Also, not all music requires all players in all sections, and so we have to look at the orchestration to see who is required.  And in general, it is an artistic decision about what resources are required, and as players we must comply with what the committee has agreed with the conductor.

And finally…

Stick to the Rules.  The Rules are the basis on which the orchestra is run.  Actually, most of this Guide is just the Rules written in everyday English.

However, we ask that all members read and are familiar with the Rules.  As members get more involved with the orchestra and how it is run, and what we do and how we do it, the Rules become more important and relevant to us.  So knowing where they can be accessed (they are on the website) and what sort of thing they say is useful.

Anyway, one of the Rules is that we abide by the Rules, so best we read them, at least once.

Find the Rules here.

How the orchestra is managed

The Rules require a committee to exist and for it to manage the orchestra in pursuit of its aims and objectives.

So what are the aims and objectives?

This may well be a little different from what you are expecting.

ESO’s aims and objectives are to educate the public in the arts, particularly orchestral music.

And that’s it.  Nothing about the players, or putting on concerts, or anything at all specific.

What we can do is:

Except we must not:

How is the committee formed?

The committee must have 4 Officers plus at least 4 Members, making at least 8 in total.  Note the words used: officers do not have to be members.

The Officers are:

All the committee is elected every year, for one year, at the AGM.  There is no limit on being re-elected.  When there are multiple nominations for a post, there is a ballot at the AGM.

Members are required to have been a member for at least a year to be nominated.

For someone to be nominated, the Secretary must have their name, in writing, 2 weeks before the AGM.

For ordinary committee meetings, the quorum is 5 committee members.

But what does it do?

The committee has sole responsibility for:


There are, as one would hope, some constraints on how the finances are run:

The AGM, or how we manage the management

AGMs are mandatory.  The committee gives at least 21 days notice of the meeting, and if we want anything on the agenda we give it to the Secretary at least 7 days before the meeting.  If you wish to do this remember you will need a proposer and seconder who are members.

The AGM is the opportunity to review the past and the coming seasons.  The specific format includes:

The committee can invite non-voting guests and members to the meeting.

The EGM or Extraordinary General Meeting

An EGM can be called by the committee or by at least 2 members by making a request in writing to the Secretary giving 28 days notice of the meeting date.  That gives the Secretary 7 days, as members must have 21 days notice of the meeting.  Notifications can be made by email.

The quorum is the same as for an AGM: the greater of 10 members or 1/10 of the membership.

The Rules, including the Rule about the Rules

Some of this is just simple administration.  To change the Rules:

Because we are a charity, some rules are fixed and cannot be changed without approval of the Charity Commission.  These rules are: