The Bushey Symphony Orchestra has a long history of community education work. In the early years of the BSO, Hertsmere Borough Council supported three Children's or Family concerts per season, however, when the orchestra moved venue to Bushey Hall School, these concerts ceased as they proved not to be financially viable. The BSO then commissioned a major work from Celia Harper to mark the millennium, which brought together singers from local primary schools and from Parmiter's School in nearby Garston together with the orchestra.
The co-operation between local junior and senior schools and the BSO continues with children's and youth choirs regularly joining the orchestra for special performances. These include Cecilia McDowall's eco-cantata King Leo given to great acclaim in May 2004, alongside which the orchestra organised an art competition and composition workshops for GCSE pupils involved in the performance; all this was made possible with a generous grant from the Arts Council of England.
In the 2005/6 season the orchestra was involved in a new scheme sponsored by Barclays Bank. We opened our concerts to a wider and younger audience, and worked with children preparing for GCSE and A level music examinations and gave young string instrumentalists a chance to play along with the orchestra in a rare performance of the Vaughan Williams Concerto Grosso.
The BSO also holds regular open rehearsals giving players of all ages a chance to join the orchestra for one night in order to play through popular orchestral classics.