our Heritage

Wiltshire Rural Music School (WRMS) was originally established in 1933 as a charity to further the revival of music in English Country Life, in particular Wiltshire. Its foundation enabled music teachers to reach rural villages in order to help and advise at a local level . Of the thirteen such schools established, WRMS is one of the few still remaining in near original form.

In 2018 the charity became known as Wiltshire Rural Music (WRM).

Initially, activities were mainly of a choral nature, concerts being held annually on Founder’s day and Children’s Day, supported by instrumental teachers and students. Later, village groups would combine to perform under the baton of a distinguished conductor, of whom Sir Adrian Boult was one. Other early supporters included Henry Walford Davies, Thomas Armstrong, David Wilcocks and Ernest Read.. The first Summer School was held at Bratton Hall in 1944.

Following the 2nd World War, whilst retaining its independent role in the community, WRMS assumed the task of providing instrumental tuition on behalf of the Local education Authority. However, in 1979 the County took full responsibility for Music within the school curriculum, though its West Wilts Music service continued to use our premises. In 1998 however, the Wiltshire Music Centre opened in Bradford on Avon, and the County music staff relocated there. This ended our official link with the County but permitted more time and space to be devoted to the needs of the wider community.

In 1953 Jean Horsfall was appointed Musical Director of WRMS, and the current success of the School is in great part the result of her inspirational leadership, having also founded the much-acclaimed County Youth Orchestra in 1964. Jean formally retired from her post at WRMS in 2000, but continued to be active in support and facilitating our efforts for a considerable time thereafter.

We are currently in a period of growth with the appointment of our Creative Director and a desire to return to our initial objectives of making music happen across Wiltshire.

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