Explore the CRSO's Past Seasons

Background

After World War II, there were few opportunities for musicians in Medway to perform classical music together. In 1969, a local musician named Bill Holtby began to bring his vision of an orchestra for the Medway Towns to life. Together with conductor James Clinch, he formed a string orchestra which they named "Rochester Arts Orchestra" (RAO).

The orchestra took its name in part from the Medway College of Art which provided the fledgling group with a rehearsal room in a temporary annexe near Fort Pitt. Rehearsals began in September 1969. For more information about the history of the CRSO please click here.

This part of our website will be updated regularly to include archive material about the CRSO. If you have any anecdotes about the orchestra, its concerts, or its members, we'd love to hear from you. Please use our contact form, or email us here.

Jack Brymer, RAO President May 1979 to Nov 2003
Jack Brymer, RAO President May 1979 to Nov 2003
5th March 1970 Rochester Arts Orchestra Concert Advert
5th March 1970 Rochester Arts Orchestra Concert Advert

The First RAO Concert

Rochester Arts Orchestra's inaugural concert took place at St Nicholas Church, Strood, in October 1969. The programme - largely of British music - is shown below.

14th October 1969 First RAO Concert Poster
14th October 1969 First RAO Concert Poster

Other Events

RAO local Press report 25th anniversary concert 1994
RAO local Press report 25th anniversary concert 1994