Setting up and running two thriving choirs would be more than enough for most of us, but during 2009 Cliff was able to make another of his dreams a reality. While establishing a sponsorship agreement with Savills Estate Agents in Cobham, he was introduced to Georgi Bartlett, a talented lady with a wealth of musical and orchestral experience. This was enough to spur Cliff again into action and in September 2009, Elmbridge Big Band was formed with Georgi as its first conductor and musical director. Incredibly, within just a month, a group of around 40 musicians who had never met before let alone played together was creating a marvellously confident and harmonious sound.
During its five years with Surrey Music, the ever-popular Elmbridge Big Band performed regularly, sometimes with either of the choirs, sometimes on its own, raising funds for our charity's grants scheme or some other worthwhile cause. Always flexible and enthusuastic, the band happily played at a variety of venues: from Woking Bandstand to a wet and windy marquee,and from Chertsey Rotary Club’s annual musical evening to a performance at the society’s summer social event.
Room for further growth
2009 certainly proved to be an extraordinarily busy year and a year of many changes for the group. It was during this period that the committee of Elmbridge Choir proposed that with the addition of the ladies choir and the big band, it was time to incorporate the two choirs and the band under one ‘umbrella organisation’, giving potential for further growth whilst still firmly sticking to its original community-minded ethos and concept of ‘enabling music for all’. And so it was that ‘Elmbridge Community Music Society' was established, at the same time obtaining charitable status, with a structure that would allow the society to grow even further in the coming months and years to respond to the growing musical demands of residents in Elmbridge.