Soon after arriving from Holland with her family, Doris Flameling (1932-2004) started teaching guitar and mandolin in West Auckland. In 1969, she formed a small ensemble for her pupils. This ensemble eventually developed into a full size mandolin orchestra. Doris was the musical director and conductor of this orchestra until 1976. Read the full story.
Isable Meekins (a.k.a Isabel Briggs), another long standing member of the orchestra, took over the role of musical director & conductor of the orchestra for the next 23 years. Read the transcript of Bryan's speech on her retirement and eulogy on her passing in Jan 2020.
Bryan Holden has been the musical director and conductor of the orchestra since 1999.
The orchestra has an aim to foster an interest in, and to encourage the playing of, the mandolin family and related instruments. The size of the orchestra ranges from twenty to thirty members playing mandolins, mandolas, mandocello or Liuto, Mandolon (bass mandolin), guitars, contra-bass, flute, and accordions.
The orchestra is continuously recruiting new players of any level of musical skills and has a training programme in place for any of the instruments.