Our Story

The Henry Desmond Orchestra is continually evolving and has been ever since its inception in 2016, it’s been a journey with twists and turns teaching me many things along the way.

From an early age music has always been a big part of my life, but in 2016 my vision changed when I was asked to musically direct a production of Sister Act at the Stag Theatre, Sevenoaks. It was at this time I became interested in musical theatre. I was already working as an apprentice technician at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, spending most of my days in an extremely musical environment. Being in London meant I was surrounded by musical theatre and I was able to see world class performers and musicians whenever I wanted. With the help of my long-term tutor and friend, Paul Showell – a fellow conductor and musical director, I was able to expand my knowledge in music and found a route I wanted to take.

Following a successful run of Sister Act, I then moved back into the orchestral world preparing a Christmas Extravaganza. This would be a natural progression from four years earlier, having a scratch orchestra play at my local church’s annual carol service. It was a huge challenge with just a single rehearsal on the day of the service, however, the performers coped amazingly well and the congregation were delighted. The Shoreham Curch Christmas Carol Service is now a regular event on the orchestra’s yearly calendar.

During 2017 I established a full time career in the West End, working on An American In Paris at the Dominion Theatre. This meant my personal projects took a back seat which was something I hadn’t realise as much until early 2018 when An American In Paris ended and I was back at home with time to spare. I spent more time back at the piano and decided to focus on music in a major way. And so, I formed Henry Desmond Productions Ltd, a production company with music at its heart.

In the months throughout 2018 the orchestra was honoured to join up with the Shoreham branch of The Royal British Legion, performing a concert to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of World War One and also the 70th Anniversary of the formation of the Shoreham Branch. This concert sold out and drew a big audience helping to build our reputation in the local area. In the latter months of 2018 the orchestra joined with two major London theatrical charities, ‘The Royal Theatrical Fund’ and ‘Acting for Others’ for who we will raise money from our future productions. We have also begun talks with composers, orchestrators, musicians and performers from across the performing arts to hopefully work with and help to raise awareness of mental health problems.

In the midst of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic after unfortunately cancelling any planned performances we moved to creating virtual videos for our followers and supporters (Head to our YouTube Channel to see these), the first of these was a full orchestra performance of In The Mood to mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day specially hosted by Len Goodman. Along with this we created the Henry Desmond Show Band, an events and wedding band to bring our style and joy of making music to your event, drop us a message and see what ew could do for you.

As I look forward I hope we can make memories and magic through our performances and bring a smile to the faces of our audiences.

For now, please take a look through the website and I hope you will learn more about who we are and what we would like to achieve. I look forward to seeing soon one of our performance.

Henry

Founder & Musical Director