An orchestra will be celebrating its 30th anniversary with a gala concert in Loughton on Saturday.

The Roding Players Orchestra (RPO) will be performing at St Mary’s Church, High Road, Loughton, to mark the occasion.

A group of musicians, from 14 to 70, took its first steps as ‘The Roding Players’ on December 7, 1991 when they held an inaugural concert at Roding Valley School under the leadership of double bassists Tim Litchfield and Paul Servis.

The programme that evening set out the aim of making the orchestra "a valuable part of the cultural life of our community", a role it continues to fulfil 30 years on.

Many members have come and gone since the orchestra was formed, some have left and later returned, and there are two founder members who remain part of the orchestra - Mavis Leach (cello) and Mary Ford (clarinet).

One of the pieces for Saturday’s programme, Mozart’s Allegro in C, was played in that very first concert and provides a fitting link back to the orchestra’s earliest days.

To celebrate its Pearl anniversary RPO will be playing the famous duet from Bizet’s opera ‘The Pearl Fishers’ - musical director Miles Harwood has arranged this piece for full orchestra to play.

The orchestra’s other pieces will include Overture to ‘The Barber of Seville’, Suite 1 of The Water Music and Dance of the Hours from ‘La Gioconda’ together with all the usual festive favourites.

During the past 30 years the orchestra has given many local musicians of all ages and abilities the opportunity to enjoy collaborative music-making and to play classical music by great composers.

The Roding Players Orchestra’s members range from experienced players to near beginners, there are no entrance auditions, which means beginners and ‘rusty’ players are welcome in order that they can improve their playing standard and gain confidence in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

The orchestra is always on the lookout for new members, especially brass players. Anybody who would like more information about joining can contact Miles Harwood by visiting the website – - or calling 020 8505 4329.

Ticket prices for the 30th anniversary concert are £8 and £7 for concessions (children under 11 free) which includes interval refreshments. Tickets will be available on the door and card payment is preferred.