For many years Helen has been heavily involved in the UK recorder orchestra scene, working with groups such as the Thames Valley Recorder Orchestra, Hampshire Recorder Sinfonia and the Phoenix Recorder Orchestra.  

Inspired by a session at the Autumn Recorder Orchestra Weekend course Helen has created a new ensemble, the Mellow Tones Recorder Orchestra (METRO for short).  This is a recorder orchestra which utilises the larger sizes of recorder, from the humble tenor right down to the imposing subcontrabass, to play a mix of arrangements of music from the last thousand years and original repertoire.  Helen has been involved with several similar 'eight foot' recorder orchestras on courses over the years and the reaction from players has always been positive when they've heard the gloriously voluptuous sound these large recorders make en-mass.

Our logo was designed for us by the late Ray Mathews, and we have several resident composers who regularly write new pieces for us to play.


How to join METRO

If you would like to join METRO please complete an application form using the link at the bottom of this page. All the practical information you need to know, such as dates and venue, is here. Full information, including directions to our venue can be downloaded by clicking here.

METRO meets to rehearse for a whole day (10am to 5pm), once a quarter, evenly spread through the year.  Our future dates are:


Sunday 1st September

Sunday 8th December


Sunday 1 March

Sunday 14 June

Sunday 6 September

Sunday 6 December

Our rehearsals take place at Aston Village Hall, New Park Lane, Aston, Hertfordshire. SG2 7DY.  Aston is a small village, approximately three miles from Stevenage.  It is close to the motorway network and has ample parking. Tea, coffee, juice and biscuits will be provided at break times but members will need to bring their own lunch with them.  Membership costs £12 per day rehearsal, payable on arrival at Aston Village Hall.   

To apply to join METRO please contact Helen Hooker via email at and we’ll add you to the orchestra mailing list.