A TAUNTON orchestra that has been playing solely for its own pleasure for almost 100 years is looking for new members.

The Wednesday Orchestra consists of musicians of all ages and mixed abilities, many of whom have returned to playing after a long gap or picked up an instrument quite recently.

Chairman Chris Davies said: "We are a 'rehearsal orchestra', which means that we play solely for our own pleasure.

"Because of that, we can tackle really demanding orchestral music. Over the years, we aim to play most of the repertoire.

"We are of mixed ages and mixed abilities, and many of us have returned to playing after a long gap, or picked up an instrument quite recently."

The basic requirement is approximately Grade 5 standard, but there are no auditions to join.

"It is a great opportunity to polish the ways of orchestral playing, sitting alongside more experienced players, or to support those less experienced than you," added Mr Davies.

Stewart Stunnell, the group's longest serving musical director, has stood down after 17 years and passed the baton to Julian Breeze, who recently retired from directing music at Heathfield School, still teaches part-time at The SPACE and is a tutor and assistant conductor with the Somerset Youth Orchestra.

Mr Davies said: "He has an immense knowledge of orchestral music and is an experienced conductor and a prolific composer and arranger.

"So, this is to extend a welcome to people to come and join us.

"You can just turn up at the Oakwood Church, off Obridge Road, on a Wednesday for a 7.45pm start."

Alternatively email davies.chris88@gmail.com or contact the secretary, Ruth Scanlon. at ruth_scanlon@hotmail.com to be put in touch with Mr Breeze if you wish to talk to him about the music.

Mr Davies added: "We have most desks in the orchestra covered, but would especially welcome trumpeters, French horn players, percussionists and all strings."