AN OXFORD orchestra to getting set to play its first public concert in 18 months.

The Oxford Millennium Orchestra decided to go virtual at the start of the pandemic, so it could keep playing music. Now, more than a year on, the ensemble will play again inside the Sheldonian Theatre on November 19.

The usual 70 members are made up of staff and students from Oxford University.

Read more: Musicians to celebrate 300th concert with special music

But earlier this year, organisers said they were looking for new musicians and welcomed anybody from the city to join. In the end, there were 270 applications.

Organiser Oliver Howell, 29, said: “We had to go on a break because of Covid. Then we tried to run a virtual orchestra for about six months, but at the end we had to go on a break.”

Mr Howell said as rules started to relax he met conductor and violinist Adrian Adlam, who was willing to help him get the orchestra back together. Mr Adlam, who has conducted several international orchestras like the London Symphony Orchestra, will perform at Friday’s concert.

Oxford Mail: Adrian Adlam

Mr Howell said: “Because most of the committee were students, time had passed and they graduated, so we were left in a kind of a black hole where nothing happens because there was literally no one in charge, so the orchestra basically didn’t exist, we didn’t have any governing body.

“I feel, people are just desperate to play music again. Especially after a long break, they just want to be with people and do things.”

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