Our History 

"Join us in 2020 and help us celebrate
our 31st season"

The Colne Philharmonic Orchestra was formed in 1989 through the enterprise of Dr. Paul Bristol, then a local GP in Halstead.


As a musician himself, he felt the need for an orchestra in the North Essex area which provided good, amateur players with the opportunity of performing music together under the direction of a professional conductor.  At the same time it enabled audiences in North Essex, whether seasoned concert goers or novices, to hear good quality classical music, without having to travel to major centres.


During 2019 we will be celebrating our 30th season! Over the years, the orchestra has built a reputation for quality performances, with a varied and challenging repertoire. Recently, Paul retired from the orchestra as a player to be with his family in South Wales but is now our Honorary President.

Our Leaders

Jill Davison

Leader from 1989 - 2020 

One player that deserves special mention is our former leader: Jill Davison. 

Jill led the Colne Philharmonic Orchestra since it was formed in October 1989, working closely with the founder, Paul Bristol, to establish the orchestra.  As a committee member, she continued to take a prominent role in the orchestral management.

An honours graduate of Worcester College of Higher Education and Licentiate of Trinity College of Music, London, Jill studied violin with several teachers including Frederick Grinke.  


As a professional teacher, she taught textiles and music in a Norfolk secondary school before focusing on teaching violin and viola for most of her career with Norfolk and Suffolk County Music Services.  Taking delight in seeing their progress, several of her pupils have played with the orchestra over the years.