The London Community Orchestra (LCO) began in 1974 as the Fanshawe Community Orchestra, an extension course of Fanshawe College. In 1993, we became the London Community Orchestra, and the orchestra is now an independent corporation with charitable organization status. Our members are mostly amateur musicians from London and the surrounding communities. We come from all walks of life and all ages.
The orchestra is operated by a board made up of orchestra members, and our day-to-day workings are coordinated by a manager who is also an orchestra member. Margaret Whitby, one of the orchestra’s original members, served as the manager for almost 40 years. Kristin Hoffmann has been the manager since 2015.
Len Ingrao has been our music director since 1998, and Carolyn Martinelli has been our concertmaster since 2005. The orchestra’s first music director was Bruce Richardson, followed by Robert A. Riseling, Ivars Taurins, Zdzislaw Kopac, Erna van Daele, Douglas Sanford, Marius Debich, and Len Ingrao.
For most of the orchestra’s existence, the Aeolian Hall was the LCO’s home for concerts and rehearsals. In 2010, the orchestra moved to our current home at Dundas Street Centre United Church, at the north-east corner of Dundas and Maitland Streets.
The orchestra’s season runs from September to early May with four regularly scheduled concerts. The December concert is a highlight, at which we have a Young Soloists’ Concert and welcome some of London’s talented young musicians as they perform with the orchestra.
The orchestra won the Forest City London Music Award (FCLMA) for Classical Instrumental (Group) in 2017, 2019, and 2022. The FCLMAs (formerly the Jack Richardson London Music Awards) celebrate the local music scene in London.