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News Archive – 2021

News Summary

This is a summary of older news items for this web site, with links to more details further down the page or elsewhere on the site.  Note that some old links on this page may no longer work, or may no longer be active. 

20th December 2021 HSO rehearsals for the April concert are now postponed until further notice and will not start on 14th January as originally planned. 

Given rapidly increasing Covid rates and the limited space and ventilation at the normal HSO rehearsal venue of The Pallant Centre (St Faith’s Church Hall), the committee have agreed that it is not safe to proceed with the existing schedule.  We hope that it will be possible to find a way to resume rehearsals safely within a few weeks, to give enough time to prepare for the concert. 

HSO players are reminded to check the rehearsals page regularly for the latest updates. 

20th November 2021 HSO players are reminded to check the rehearsals page for the latest information about rehearsal arrangements for the April 2022 concert.  Rehearsals will be back at The Pallant Centre from 7.00pm to 9.30pm, because the Oaklands hall is not available for rehearsals until the day before the concert.  The first rehearsal will be on Friday 14th January because the Pallant is not available on 7th January.  Covid-19 precautions will be observed but players may wish to note that this venue has significantly less space and ventilation than Oaklands so the risks are somewhat higher. 
10th November 2021

Sandra Craddock
(at HSO rehearsal in 2011)
We have recently heard the very sad news that Sandra Craddock recently passed away in her sleep after a long illness.  Sandra was for many years the administrator of the Havant Orchestras, supporting her husband Peter Craddock. 

Sandra handled not only all administration and publicity, but also many other roles, including organising the front-of-house teams and providing legendary hospitality for soloists and bursary student conductors! 

The funeral will be in Havant on Wednesday 17th November and will also be streamed online for those who cannot attend.  If you would like to know more details, please email us at

Update 13th November:
In recognition of her huge contribution, we have decided to rename our received donations fund to The Peter and Sandra Craddock Memorial Fund to remember them jointly. 

9th November 2021 Change of HSO soloist:  Our original trumpet soloist Matilda Lloyd is unfortunately unable to play because of needing emergency dental treatment, but Matilda has very helpfully arranged for another outstanding player, Zoë Perkins, also a BBC Young Musician brass finalist, to perform the Hummel in her place.  We wish Matilda a speedy recovery and return to playing. 
17th October 2021 HSO November Concert tickets

Tickets are now available on TicketSource for the November HSO concert

Covid-19 precautions will be in effect, including distancing between separately booked tickets.  There will be no pre-concert talk and no refreshments will be provided during the interval, although audience members are welcome to bring their own refreshments. 

We are working within government guidelines to ensure that the event is as safe as possible.  However, we should point out that Covid-19 infection, hospitalisation and death rates are still high and neither the usual precautions nor vaccines are 100% effective, especially against the delta variant.  Any audience member or player attending this event will be doing so at their own risk. 

19th September 2021 HSO rehearsals update
Rehearsal arrangements for the HSO November concert have had to be revised because our normal rehearsal venue at The Pallant is not suitable for rehearsing a full orchestra with Covid-19 precautions.  Players are advised to check the rehearsals page for the latest information about rehearsal arrangements. 
18th September 2021 HCO October Concert tickets

Tickets are now available on TicketSource for the October HCO concert

Covid-19 precautions will be in effect, including reduced audience and player numbers and distancing between separately booked tickets.  Further details will be provided closer to the event. 

We are working within government guidelines to ensure that the event is as safe as possible.  However, we should point out that Covid-19 infection, hospitalisation and death rates are still high and neither the usual precautions nor vaccines are 100% effective, especially against the delta variant.  Any audience member or player attending this event will be doing so at their own risk. 

Some regular players (including ourselves – Jonathan Scott, chairman, and Stella Scott, administrator) are not currently willing to participate in concerts at this stage because of the risks, not just to themselves but to any other contacts, and because they feel that it is unwise to be encouraging indoor gatherings of any sort while the Covid-19 rates remain high.  Although we do not want anyone to feel pressured into participating if they are not comfortable with the risks, it is clear that many others wish to resume musical activities as soon as possible, and we hope that this special strings concert will be enjoyed by players and audience alike. 

3rd September 2021 HCO October Concert changed

The October HCO concert has been changed to a smaller event because of the continuing risks associated with the Covid-19 delta variant, especially as many of our players and audience members are old enough to be still quite vulnerable even after full vaccination.  The concert in memory of Brian Howells originally scheduled for this date will be rescheduled to a later date, in the hope of making it possible to hold it once player and audience numbers no longer need to be restricted. 

The replacement concert will consist of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”, with violin soloist Laura Rickard, plus some other string works.  To minimise risks, there will be no pre-concert talk and no interval.  Arrangements for buying tickets will be announced soon, but the cost is expected to be £15.

16th August 2021 AGM postponed

We would normally have held our orchestral society AGM at the first HSO rehearsal, on Friday 3rd September, which has had to be cancelled.  We are therefore postponing the AGM in the hope of being able to hold it normally later in the season, although this will mean it will take place outside the normal period specified in our constitution.  As the orchestras did not have any concerts last season, there is in any case very little to report, but we are legally required to hold an AGM and then submit our accounts and Trustees’ Report to the Charity Commission by May 2022. 

Last year, the Charity Commission granted permission for such meetings to be held online even if this was not specifically mentioned in the constitution, but this permission expired at the end of March 2020, which is why we held our AGM online during March last year.  This year we would prefer to have a normal meeting if possible, but if we are unable to do so safely before May we will hold it online again this year.  The Charity Commission say that they will normally be understanding about any actions which are not covered by the governing document but which are taken for health and safety reasons, provided that this is made clear in the society records. 

When the AGM details have been decided, society members (playing members and season ticket holders) will be informed in writing (by email or post) at least 21 days before the AGM date, as specified in our constitution. 

16th August 2021 Hayling Concert cancelled

The Covid risks remain high because of the delta variant, requiring continuing precautions such as additional ventilation and social distancing for any indoor event, but our rehearsal and concert venues do not have the space to enable such precautions for a full orchestra, even with reduced string numbers.  We have therefore concluded that it is necessary to cancel the Hayling concert scheduled for September 18th, although it is still possible that we may be able to find time for it later in the season. 

Although we cannot see any immediate possibility of scheduling a concert, we are aware that some players would still like to get together in smaller numbers, for example to play string orchestra music together, so we are investigating the possibility of using some rehearsal dates for this purpose, if enough players are interested. 

1st August 2021 Update on plans for 2021-22 season

The good news is that we have been working behind the scenes since February to put together the 2021-22 season’s programme of Havant Orchestras concerts, and we have an exciting full schedule arranged, including soloists, as shown on the Concerts pages on this website. 

The bad news is that, although the government has lifted many restrictions, it seems extremely unlikely that the Covid situation will be safe enough to proceed with this programme for quite some time, given the alarming figures since the delta variant became dominant and the surprising decision by the government to continue reducing restrictions when the science suggests it should be strengthening them. 

  • The daily number of new cases is very high, and although it has dropped back from a recent peak not far short of record levels for the UK, there is no sign of it going away yet.  For the young adult age group, it has already exceeded previous record levels. 
  • The effectiveness of the vaccines against the delta variant is far short of that which would be needed to prevent rapid spread with normal levels of contact.  Although vaccination generally reduces the severity of disease and improves the speed of recovery, for the delta variant it only gives a small reduction in the risk of symptomatic disease or transmission. 
  • Removing restrictions can only make things even worse. 
  • There are still many young adults who are not yet fully vaccinated, and will not be even by the start of September. 
  • Many of our players and audience are old enough that even with vaccination the delta variant is a serious risk. 
  • Covid-19 is a very unpleasant disease, and has nasty long-term side-effects for many, even the young. 
  • Our rehearsal and performance venues do not have space to allow social distancing of a full orchestra. 
Scientists have also pointed out that with such a large number of cases and a population which has partial immunity through vaccination, the dominant strain will soon be whichever strain is least slowed down by the vaccinations, so the UK is becoming a breeding ground for vaccine-resistant Covid, and the situation is therefore likely to get even worse.

We have a duty of care to protect the health and safety of our players and audience members.  On that basis, although we have a season’s programme planned, we are not expecting to be able to proceed with it until a major improvement occurs in the Covid situation, enabling the committee to make the appropriate risk assessment and approve opening up.  We are of course desperately hoping for a miracle, but there seems little hope of resuming operation on the normal schedule.

We have had the concerts planned for some time, but had not published details because we were hoping for more certainty.  We have now decided that all we can do is publish what we originally planned, but although the concert details appear on this website, we will not be opening up bookings for season tickets or individual concert tickets until we reach a point where the risks are considered acceptable.  An online preview of the 2021-22 season brochure is available on the Concerts page, but we have not sent it for printing as it may need to be modified.  We will continue to review the situation and publish updates here when anything changes. 

At present we are still considering what level of risks might be acceptable, but the latest government ONS survey statistics (for 24th July 2021) show that about 1 in 65 of the population of England have active Covid-19, probably with at least half of them being unaware of it.  Even those who have tested positive often get a test because they have symptoms, which only occur after the time when they are most infectious.  That means for example that in a random group of 45 or more people[1], there is a more than 50% chance that at least one has Covid-19, and a high chance that they are not aware of it at the time and are carrying on as usual, which is definitely very far from safe. 

[1] The probability of no-one in 45 people having Covid when the current rate is 1 in 65 is (64/65)45 which is about 49.8%.

21st March 2021 Plans for 2021-22 season

Given the very gradual government schedule for lifting the pandemic precautions, it is clear that even if everything goes to plan it will not be possible to resume normal orchestra rehearsals until 21st June at the absolute earliest, and quite possibly some weeks later.  We have therefore assumed that it will not be possible to resume any orchestral activities within the current season, not even for a bursary audition, as the schedule is too uncertain. 

We are therefore provisionally planning to resume in September 2021, at the start of HSO’s 60th anniversary season, with our usual full programme of six main concerts (three each for HSO and HCO), plus pre-season popular classics.  The expected concert (and rehearsal) dates are shown on our Future Dates page, so players are asked to note the relevant dates in their diaries.  We hope to make the HSO concert on 2nd July 2022 a particularly special event to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of HSO (whose first concert was in July 1962). 

We also definitely intend to have another family concert, as our last one was extremely popular, but we have not yet determined the details, including the date. 

In normal years, we needed to prepare the programme and brochure for the next season in time to announce it at the May HCO concert, so season tickets could be ordered from that point and picked up at the July HSO concert.  Those constraints do not apply this time, and although we are already starting to plan the season, we expect to hold back from announcing and publishing any plans until we have a reasonable level of confidence that we will be able to proceed with them. 

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