The story began in 1949 when Mr Sidney Waterman, son of a musician and himself a professional violinist, retired and settled in Lancing. He gathered a group of musical friends sufficient to form an orchestra and so the Lancing Orchestral Society was born. Soon they were joined by many more interested musicians, mostly amateurs. The annual subscription was a modest ten shillings sufficient to cover, in those days, the cost of new music, printing and postage. Income from the occasional concert helped.
Mr Waterman had an extensive library of good music, mostly classical, and scores for various ensembles. He encouraged some friends to form a string quartet and others a piano trio and lent them suitable music.
He was a good teacher, took a class at Boundstone School and had several private pupils. Furthermore, he was an excellent conductor and trained the orchestra to give very creditable performances.
When Mr Waterman left through illness, Mr Alfred Barty, cellist, was invited to take the baton whilst Mr James Murray, leader, preferred to stay with the violins. Mr Barty, however did not wish to continue as conductor and the orchestra became an evening class and the Education Authority appointed Mr Charles to conduct.
Matters went smoothly for a while but, when attendance fell off, Mr Charles left and the orchestra turned to Miss Olive Poole, conductor of the Lancing Choral Society. Her enthusiasm regarding music, her skill and personality soon brought about the reformation. There was an influx of young people from Boundstone School where Miss Poole held sway.
The orchestra had survived two disturbing incidents when disbandment seemed imminent. It was now revitalised and gaining notoriety in alliance with its contemporaries, the Choral Society and the Lancing British Legion Band.
During Miss Poole's reign, a new member arrived. Dr. Anthony King came to Lancing as a new medical practitioner. He joined the orchestra as horn player but soon we found he had exceptional abilities as a musician. Miss Poole was very busy developing the Choral Society and so the orchestra turned to Dr King who continued to develop the orchestra to its present-day standard of excellence.
Anthony King took over conducting the orchestra in 1966 when they rehearsed in Irene Avenue school hall. The hall was available because the Deputy Head Master, Mr Cohn Green, played violin with the orchestra. When he retired, new premises had to be found. This was to be the W.I. Hall in Roberts Road for about ten years until it closed. The Lancing Guides agreed to use of their hall in Penhill Road.
Tony King retired as conductor in about 2011 and his place was taken by the present conductor, Ruth Summers.
When we practised in Irene Avenue the hall was big enough to hold our concerts there. Similarly, at Roberts Road, but when we moved to the Guide Hall we started to hold our concerts in the Parish Hall. The orchestra has also given concerts in many local churches and church halls.