The Essex Chamber Orchestra, popularly known as ECHO, comes together three times a year for intensive weekend rehearsals followed by a series of concerts usually at venues in Essex. Although originally conceived as a chamber orchestra, ECHO varies its forces to perform a wide variety of programmes ranging from Baroque and Classical works to the repertoire of the 20th Century.
When the orchestra was established in 1979, ECHO recruited its players from those members of the Essex Youth Orchestra who were obliged to 'retire' on reaching the age of 21. The orchestra now also recruits players who live or work in the County, those who attend Essex schools or colleges and other invited players for particular concerts. In September 2009 ECHO celebrated 30 years of successful music making with a concert in Christ Church, Chelmsford, featuring the highly acclaimed violinist John Mills. This exciting event was conducted by Colin Touchin and the programme included Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto and the “Organ” Symphony by Saint- Saens.
It is with great sadness that ECHO notes the death of Jim Smith, co-founder, patron and faithful friend to the Orchestra. Jim and his wife Pat were instrumental in founding the Essex Chamber Orchestra and also provided opportunities for young people to make music together at their home. Jim’s support for ECHO was unfailing and his passing marks the end of an era. The concert on Sunday 8th September 2013 was a celebration of Jim's life.