One of the longest-established names on Hitchin’s music scene celebrates its 85th anniversary with a gala concert at 7.30pm on Saturday, November 22 – the feast day of St Cecilia, the patron saint of music.

The Hitchin Symphony Orchestra programme – at the town’s St Mary’s Church will feature three enduring masterpieces of 20th century English music – Sir Malcolm Arnold’s Anniversary Overture, Sir Edward Elgar’s Violin Concerto and Edmund Rubbra’s Symphony No.3.

The soloist in the Elgar concerto will be the young Worcester violinist Shulah Oliver, who will be making her fourth appearance with the orchestra.

The concert will celebrate not only the 85th anniversary of the orchestra’s founding but three other significant anniversaries – president John McCabe celebrates his 75th birthday this year while orchestra leader Janet Hicks marks 45 years in that post and Paul Adrian Rooke has clocked up 30 years as conductor.

The orchestra’s committee is hoping that a number of performers who have previously appeared as members, guest players, soloists or conductors will be able to make the date.

Mr Rooke said: “We have so far contacted more than 60 past performers and a number have indicated that they will attend, but we would be delighted if any who have not yet heard from us who would like to be there got in touch on 01462 458614.

“We will be pleased to let them have a pair of complimentary tickets. We do hope that musicians such as these who have contributed to the history of the orchestra can help us make the concert not only a gloriously celebratory event but also a reunion.”

Tickets are £12 for adults or £10 concessions until Wednesday, November 19 – call 01462 458614 or visit the Hitchin Initiative offices in Churchyard.

You can find out more about the orchestra online at