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Kathy Bucknill celebrates 50 years in the oboe section of the Redhill Sinfonia

Congratulations to our oboist Kathy Bucknill on her fiftieth anniversary as a member of the Redhill Sinfonia. Kathy’s first concert with the Redhill Society of Instrumentalists (as the orchestra was then known) was in 1973, when Robin Gritton conducted and Maureen Lovell played the Dvorak Cello Concerto.  Since then she’s played in well over 100 of our concerts. “It’s hard to choose the most memorable one, but the orchestra’s Centenary concert in 1991 sticks in the mind”, she says. “I was the Secretary at the time and there was a lot to organise! We held the concert at Donyngs Sports Centre, which had a challenging acoustic but was the only local venue that was big enough. The programme, conducted by Richard Dickins, included Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto played by Jack Brymer, and Holst’s Planets Suite. We had the largest ever orchestra including 2 harps, quadruple woodwind and 15 brass players.”


As well as playing for the Redhill Sinfonia, Kathy has also found time to play with the Dorking Chamber Orchestra, Surrey Philharmonic Orchestra, Redhill Bach Choir, Surrey Opera, and Brockham and Crawley Down Choral Societies over the years, as well as working full time in local government in London.

Having been in the orchestra for so long, you might have thought that nowadays she would only get to play repertoire that she had seen before, but she says not. “One thing that has changed is that the orchestra has got ever more adventurous, playing works not normally tackled by amateur orchestras”, she says, citing Britten’s challenging and rewarding Sea Interludes that we played in March 2023.

Kathy grew up in Northumberland and benefitted from free oboe lessons at school. “I feel strongly that every child should have the opportunity to learn an instrument and have the same satisfaction from it that I continue to enjoy”, she says. “I’ve often heard references to the Redhill Sinfonia ‘family’ which is an apt description. I’ve made many friends through playing together in the orchestra over the years.”

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