Our Story

The People's Orchestra is a unique mixed arts multi-media project to reinvent amateur orchestra performance, it's artistry and engagement and to showcase the artforms impact on social change in our community.

One of the UK’s leading community orchestras offering weekly rehearsals and a packed events calendar at a variety of venues across the Midlands.

  • Performing and recording World & UK Premieres of new music from award winning composers
  • Play live to film & compose for film
  • Supporting local unemployed people back into work

As seen on the BBC

Want to play Film, TV, Games & Show music, light classical & popular music?

The People's Orchestra Story

The People’s Orchestra was founded by Sarah Marshall in 2012. Initially a six-month Arts Council England funded project run by Sarah’s social enterprise The Change Consortium, The People’s Orchestra became the very first orchestra in the UK to become a Charitably Incorporated Organisation (CIO).

Back in 2012 the idea was to set up a standard format symphony orchestra, which mainly played film music and filled a gap in provision for musicians leaving education who wished to continue to perform at a high standard.

Initial audition immediately showed a real need for a new format of orchestra, so many great flute players that it became impossible to choose just two. So, the orchestra became a true community orchestra by accepting everyone, regardless of instrument, but who could play to the standard the orchestra demanded. And still six years on it doesn’t matter if you haven’t picked up an instrument for 20 years or you can’t make every rehearsal, everyone is always welcome.

Six years on and The People's Orchestra epitomises genuine equality of opportunity, whereby musicians from every socio-economic and ethnic background, from teens to seniors, come together to share the joy of music making with one another, and with their ever-increasing audiences in live performance.

Based in West Bromwich Town Hall, Sandwell the orchestra plays a wide variety of film, TV and show music as well as light popular tunes to audiences in one of the best, yet unknown live music spaces in The Black Country.

Not afraid to do something a little different the orchestra can be heard rocking the classics, premiering new music from award winning film composers and even letting musicians lose to compose for silent films. Loving the unusual The People’s Orchestra just love a good flash mob. For Virgin Trains and Trinity Mirror they played Come On Eileen to commuters on a train from Euston to Birmingham, and on behalf of Oxfam thanked Yogscast for their donations by flashmobbbing their Q&A session at a gaming convention at the NEC. The orchestra were delighted to hear that Yogscast went on to give a further £200,000 of funding to Oxfam the following year. This is a testament to the desire of the orchestra to help others where ever and whenever it can.

2016 was a landmark year for the orchestra as it was chosen for the as one of the 5 best and most inspiring amateur orchestras for the BBC’s All Together Now: Great Orchestra Challenge.

“The People’s Orchestra is a rare breed within the Arts world. Community based music performance at any skill level from beginner to professional makes us a kinder, more inclusive society. When you are sitting next to someone in a music ensemble the collective creative effort makes the differences of religion, ethnicity and voting intention melt into the background.

 Paul Crick
Paul Crick Music Industry Lead, IBM Global Business Services, Europe