Explore the CRSO's Past Seasons
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.
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.