The Moonlight Mandolin Orchestra is the orchestra of the Cambridgeshire Mandolin and Guitar Association.
The Moonlight Mandolins was founded as a teaching group for mandolin students by Hugh Boyde. The name derives more from the practice of moonlighting, than from the light reflected from our nearest celestial body. The group rapidly expanded and soon found itself able to work on mandolin orchestra repertoire, and to perform concerts. Now it’s a good size mandolin orchestra and is gaining new members, and many new arrangements.
Anna Langley took over when founding director, Hugh Boyde stepped down in June 2010.
By day, a computer officer at the University of Cambridge, by night a lute teacher and Bollywood fan. She also plays the lute (as in the picture) and cello.
Until people have heard a mandolin orchestra, they usually have no idea what to expect. Most jump to the wonderful Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, as their model, and expect us to be strumming a programme of ironic covers of popular music. That’s not what we do.
We perform mostly original music written for mandolin orchestra, and arrangements. The music is chosen by the repertoire committee (see below), which mostly tries to come up with programmes that are somehow thematically linked. Our current programme (early 2017) is music by women composers.
What is it like to play in our orchestra?
It’s very much like playing in any other sort of classical orchestra, apart from the different instruments we use. We aim for everyone who takes part to learn more about music and musicianship, and enjoy themselves while doing so.
What instruments do we use?
We have two mandolin sections, mandolas, guitars, and double bass. Occasionally we also use percussion, and other instruments such as a keyboard or cello.
How are we run?
The orchestra has two committees, one for the overall job of running the orchestra and looking after finances. The other is the repertoire committee, which researches and chooses music for the orchestra to perform.