In October 1989, Police Constable Alex Roe from West Midlands Police, a viola player and now M.B.E. for services to charity, dreamt of creating something unique; a full symphony orchestra made up of the wider policing family. Within a year he had secured the voluntary commitment of ninety accomplished musicians and the patronage of the late Sir Yehudi Menuhin K.B.E., O.M and so the Police National Orchestra was formed. Tours and concerts followed and it eventually became the “British Police Symphony Orchestra”.
Now in its’ fourth decade, the British Police Symphony Orchestra has become one of the best national, non-professional orchestras in the country. Amongst an orchestra of more than 70, many are serving or past-serving members of the police forces, a small number of founding members are still playing in the orchestra. With regular commitments throughout the year, the orchestra employs a professional Music Director and works with some of the UK’s leading soloists.
Royal Albert Hall 2019
The orchestra is a regular fixture at “Proms in the Park” in Lichfield’s Beacon Park and in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall each year. It has toured and performed in many venues both in the UK and India and has appeared at the Royal Albert Hall on two occasions. Since its formation the orchestra has raised thousands of pounds for charity. Through ongoing projects such as ‘Playout’ and ‘Key Change’ members of the orchestra volunteer their skills and seek to bring classical music and performance opportunities to many members of the community, who would not normally visit a concert hall. Due to the orchestra’s charitable work it received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2018.
Alex Roe, receiving the QAVS from Sir Algernon Heber-Percy, Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire and Jenny Wynn, Deputy Lieutenant of Shropshire
Proud to commemorate fallen officers
The orchestra is also proud to provide musicians for National Police Memorial Day remembrance service each year, when police officers who have been killed or died on duty are remembered.
Being there for the community
In keeping with policing principles, the orchestra believes in being there for the community, we do not receive any financial support from public funds or from police budgets. Rather, our continued existence is entirely dependent upon a combination of our members’ subscriptions, sponsorship and the revenue from certain concerts. In addition, in order to reduce overheads, all of our players travel to rehearsal weekends and concerts in their own time and at their own expense. Given the national structure of the Orchestra, this is a major commitment but is one that our members feel privileged to give.
National Police Memorial Day 2019, Glasgow