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Recent press releases and publicity material

York Rotary Club
(January 2009)

Rotary Concert 29-01-2009
Picture by Mike Saville

York Light Orchestra play for Rotary Charity 


A concert by the YLO in Stockton on Forest village hall raised over £1100 for a Rotary 
sponsored international charity which aims to improve water and sanitation in Kerala 
in Southern India . In partnership with the Rotary Club in that area the York Club has 
undertaken to supply equipment which will significantly improve the health prospects 
for many people. 

Club President,David Porter said:- 

“ This is the 6th year that the York Light Orchestra has performed for a rotary charity 
and we are very grateful for their continued support. The members obviously get a lot of 
satisfaction from making music and the audience get pleasure from listening so it is 
particularly gratifying to know that the enjoyable  evening will contribute to improving 
the quality of life for deserving people in an another part of the world.” 

Pictured from left :- Leader Malcolm Brunton, Rotary President David Porter, 
Conductor Malcolm Galloway, vocalists Emma Tatnall and Tracy Bowen. 

further information from Frank Paterson, 01904 708478 
The YLO has been performing in York since 1947.Its current home is Acomb Methodist Church. 
Details on www.ylo.org.uk

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Light Music Society
(Winter 2007)

York Light Orchestra 1947-2007

The 2007-2008 orchestral season is a very special time for York Light Orchestra as they celebrate 
their 60th anniversary.
The orchestra was founded in October 1947 under the name ‘York Orchestral Society’. It comprised 
only fourteen members, 4 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello, 1 bass, 2 flutes, 1 oboe, 1 bassoon, 1 cornet
and 2 pianists. Mr. Hartley conducted with Mr. Popely as leader and Mr. Welch as secretary. The 
first few rehearsals were taken at York College for Girls at a cost of 10 shillings a night.

The aim of the society was to stimulate the interest of young students both at concerts and through 
the medium of the schools, with a programme of music to embrace classical, opera, ballet, light opera
and the whole range of light classical music. The suggestion was made that once students had 
attended weekly rehearsals as listeners they could bring their instruments to play.
In October 1948 the name of the orchestra was changed to City of York Light Orchestra (YLO). The 
first performance was carried out on 6th October 1948 under civic patronage in aid of the 
Air Training Corps Welfare Training Fund (ACTWTF). The conductor was Mr Con Martin. The orchestra 
were accompanied by the Orpheus Male Voice Quartet and raised £16.3.6. The programme included 
John and Sam Overture, Delibes Ballet, Gold and Silver Waltz, Maid of the Mountains and 
The Air Force March with two vocal numbers.
The 1949 season was sponsored by the York Corporation Musical Entertainments Sub-Committee with 
Councillor Bert Keech as President. YLO performed a number of concerts including accompanying 
the Clifton Hospital with their performance of Pirates of Penzance 11th-13th October 1949. 
£5.5.0 was donated to the orchestra.
By September 1949 numbers had swelled to 42 members and the orchestra found the rehearsal 
space at All Saints’ Parish Church in North Street too cramped. Rehearsals were moved to 
St Michael-Le-Belfry. With an annual subscription for orchestra members of £2.2.0 the 
proposed charge of £1.1.0 per night was too great but Mr Welch, an old ‘Belfry Boy’, arranged 
a reduced rate of 10/- on the provision that YLO kept the piano tuned and the room tidy.
YLO continued to accompany local groups for many years including Clifton Hospital Amateur 
Operatic and Dramatic Society, New Earswick Dramatic and Operatic Society, York Operatic Society 
and Tadcaster Amateur Operatic Society. Regular orchestral concerts were also performed by 
YLO with the music programme comprising popular classical works as well as contemporary show music. 

A typical example was the concert held on 17th April 1952 at the Imperial Club, 8 Stonegate, 
for the Army and Air Force Institute. The programme was;

1. March        	Doges March by Rosse
2. Overture   	Fingal’s Cave by Mendelssohn
3. Waltz         	Moonlight on the Alster by Fetras
4. Selection  	The Mikado by Sullivan
5. Ballet        	Ballet Music from William Tell by Rossini
6. Selection    	Dream of Olwyn (Theme song from the film ‘While I Live’) by Williams
7. Suite          	Summer Days by Eric Coates

In 1961 the future of the orchestra looked bleak. Clifton Hospital were no longer putting 
on their Songs from the Shows production and a rent increase for the rehearsal space left 
the orchestra with only sufficient funds for another 3 months of rehearsal time. However, 
things picked up and YLO survived.
The orchestra performed the first of its ‘ENCORE’ concerts as part of the City of York Mystery 
Plays and Festival of the Arts at St George’s Hall in June/July 1969. Following its success 
regular ‘Encore’ Concerts were arranged at the Tempest Anderson Hall in the Museum Gardens 
and continued there until 1980. These concerts were sponsored by the York Corporation until 
1976 after which an entry fee of 20p and 10p was introduced.
In 1981 things changed again when the orchestra became The Little Orchestra of York and York 
Concert Orchestra for a while, performing concerts at local community venues such as 
Lidget Grove Church, Connaught Court, St Sampson’s Centre and Christ Church, Stockton Lane.
To avoid confusion with the York Concert Band the orchestra later reverted back to its original 
name of York Light Orchestra. YLO moved to its current home of Acomb Methodist Church in 1994.
More recent years have seen the orchestra’s reputation grow with prestigious Proms concerts 
held jointly with local choral societies, outdoors in Wetherby as part of the 
BBC Music Live Festival (2002), for Wetherby Festival (2003), at the 
Riley Smith Hall, Tadcaster (2004 and 2005) and in Selby Abbey (2006).
YLO embraced the 21st Century with the launch of its website: www.ylo.org.uk in 2004.
In its jubilee year YLO has over 50 members under Conductor Malcolm Galloway, 
Leader Malcolm Brunton and Chairman Brian Hibbert with resident singer Tracey Bowen. 
Our president is former City of York Treasurer Mr Roy Howell who has held this honorary 
position since 1971.  Sadly none of the founding members are still with the orchestra but 
the oldest serving member has been playing with YLO for over 55 years. 
The orchestra now combines the best parts of its history by performing ‘Encore’ concerts 
of light music in venues around York and the surrounding area for the enjoyment of its 
members and the general public, to raise money for charity and community groups. 

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