Conductor for Da Capo (orchestra), Reading / Newbury / Basingstoke area

Application deadline: 
Wednesday, 7 February 2018
Description of vacancy: 

Paid position starting September 2018, Thursday evenings in Padworth, which is near the A4 in between Reading, Newbury & Basingstoke.

Da Capo started in 1995 as the Newbury College Late Starters' Orchestra, and went independent in 2003.  Its aim is to provide a supportive, enjoyable environment for adults who are beginners, "rusty", or trying a new instrument, to learn about playing in a conducted group.

There is no minimum standard for musical experience, but a high standard for giving new things a try, paying attention, watching the stick etc.  Instead of "I can't do that", we have the catchphrase "I can't do that... yet".

Some members switch to other local orchestras or bands when they've learnt enough to be able to (or, if "rusty", when they've got back into the swing of it).  Some just enjoy playing at Da Capo, and stay for many years.

The orchestra's original conductor, Patsy Moore, is planning to retire in summer 2018, so we'll be needing a new conductor from September 2018.  The position will be paid.

There will also be work arranging music to suit the orchestra.  Because the new conductor may want to influence this and/or do some of it (for an additional fee), we are recruiting for the conductor first.

Key qualifications for the conductor

- Good knowledge of the conventional practices of a professional orchestra.
- Clear, conventional conducting technique, to encourage all players to get used to relying on the stick.
- Enthusiasm for supporting elementary players to progress, especially with rhythm reading / sight-reading.  Comfortable with prioritising people's learning & enjoyment over a perfect technical result.  Can bring out musical light and shade even when the notes might not all be there.
- Cheerfulness, patience, sense of humour.
- Willingness to include people with disabilities.
- Ability to assess what level of musical challenge will be enjoyable and educational for each learner, and for the group as a whole.

Desirable additions

- Experience of playing in a professional orchestra, or an amateur one which performs in public.
- Knowledge of what's hard to play and what's easy to play on the various orchestral instruments.
- Ability to arrange music to suit players of varied levels.  (Even if you didn't usually want to do this yourself, having the skill could help with assessing existing arrangements.)

Further practical background

The orchestra has around 10 to 12 rehearsals each term on a Thursday evening, typically learning four to six pieces each term.  The current rehearsal venue is in Padworth, near to Reading, Newbury and Basingstoke.

At the end of each term, we perform to friends and family (not the general public).  The end-of-term soirée (as it's known) is also an opportunity for orchestra members, friends and ex-members to perform solo and in smaller groups.

There is a library of approx 200 pieces which have been arranged for the orchestra in previous years, mostly available as computer files.  Some would need rearranging again if played now, to suit the changing composition of the orchestra.

Recruitment timescale, 2017 to 2018

If you're interested, please request an information pack, for more about the orchestra and what we'd like to see in your application.

You're welcome to visit a rehearsal in November, December or January, and/or this term's soirée on Thursday 7 December 2017.  Please email first, for venue info and to let us know you're coming.

Written applications will be accepted until 7 February 2018.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to conduct part of a rehearsal.  Likely dates for that are 22 Feb, 1 March & 8 March 2018.  All orchestra members will have an opportunity to give feedback.

We aim to make a decision by 26 March 2018.

The successful candidate would then have the opportunity to share conducting (paid pro rata) in the summer term if they would like a gradual hand-over, before fully taking over in September 2018.

Contact details

Email: conductor-search@da-capo.org.uk

Location: 
Padworth Village Hall
Padworth Lane Padworth
RG7 4HY Reading, Berkshire
United Kingdom