We are the community orchestra of Market Harborough. The MHO typically performs three concerts a year.

How did MHO begin?

The original inspiration was Jane Callaghan’s in 2010. By 2012 the orchestra was being run by a committee of volunteers with Stephen Bell as MD.

How do you get an orchestra together? Some of us first met and played together at primary and secondary schools, or in the wonderful Leicestershire Music Service in the 1970’s and 80’s. Some of us have very fond memories of playing in ‘the band’ for many years for the Market Harborough Operatic Society under the baton of Gillian Bindley. Some of have met through work, or children, or being spotted carrying a violin case while commuting. The MD conducted a university symphony orchestra with one of the flute players. A biking buddy of the clarinet player mentioned hearing someone practice through an open window and we found our other clarinet player, who knew a bassoon player.

Some of our players know each other through orchestras in Leicestershire or Northamptonshire, or through playing in the Harborough Band or other string or wind ensembles. Some of us have recently moved to the town, got in touch, and filled a vacancy. Some play and teach music for a living, others have a different day job but given many hours of their time and talent to music. We have retirees in the orchestra and school students. What we have in common is the desire to play great orchestral music together and share it with the audience of our home town.

We have had great support from our friends including Arkel Computing and the Methodist Church, and look forward to sharing wonderful music with you.


Stephen Bell, Conductor

Belfast-born Stephen Bell has built a hugely diverse career in conducting spanning over 35 years. The MHO is very fortunate to benefit from Stephen’s enthusiasm and musicality- and if you have been to any of our concerts you will agree he a fantastic public speaker as well.

For Stephen’s full biography, including his fund-raising and running obsession story, information about the other groups he conducts, along with his seemingly endless energy, please click here.