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Professor’s community orchestra hosts first concert

ECCO with Professor Laura Ritchie

A COMMUNITY orchestra unlike any other in Chichester is hosting its first formal concert tonight with help from a University professor.

The Encore Chichester Community Orchestra was launched by Professor Laura Ritchie, of the Department of Music, as a non-competitive ensemble for adults, many of whom have never performed on stage. The group, known as ECCO, involves 25 amateur musicians from across the Chichester area who are hosting a free concert at the University's music block on Wednesday 6 December.

Professor Ritchie said: "Our ethos at ECCO is to engage with musicians from all walks of life within the community, there are no entry requirements, and no auditions.” The University professor is a National Teaching Fellow and Coordinator of Music with Teaching and MA programmes. Her research has demonstrated that student self-belief is key to successful learning and performance.

She added: “There are many musicians who learned as youths, but who have stepped away from their instrument and have never had the opportunity to perform in an orchestra. ECCO is different because we are a non-competitive community orchestra without entry requirements and are open to anyone.”

The orchestra, aimed at adult musicians, was launched in September last year by Professor Ritchie, who arranges its repertoire. It range includes string instruments, woodwinds, brass, and saxophone players.

The free concert starts at 7:30pm on Wednesday 6 December at the University’s Bishop Otter campus in College Lane, Chichester, PO19 6PE. “The orchestra will be performing the first movement of Franz Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, and the saxophonists fit in by doubling as violins,” added Professor Ritchie.

“But it’s not all classical music and we have a diverse repertoire of songs. I’ll be singing a Nina Simone song with the orchestra while music alumni Simon Arthurs conducts the orchestra. I’ve hosted several musical workshops in the community but this is my first long-term community project in association with the University. The orchestra has been very successful in its first year and we hope to keep growing.”

To find out more about the work of Professor Laura Ritchie visit Alternatively for more about Encore Chichester Community Orchestra contact Professor Ritchie at

Event details

  • 7:30pm onwards (free for all)
  • Encore Chichester Community Orchestra
  • University of Chichester Department of Music
  • Bishop Otter campus, College Lane, Chichester, PO19 6PE


  • A Winter’s Tale: Mike Batt & Tim Rice, Arr. Ray Cooper
  • Unfinished Symphony, Mvt. 1: Franz Schubert
  • Feeling Good, Conducted by Simon Arthurs: Nina Simone
  • Palladio: Karl Jenkins
  • Pirates of Penzance, Overture: Gilbert & Sullivan
  • Waltz No. 2: Dmitri Shostakovich
  • A Christmas Medley: Trad. Arr. Ritchie