An Orchestral Advent Calendar

1 Dec 2020

In spite of the recent lockdown, some of our musicians wanted to do something a bit festive and have collaborated to bring you a well-known Christmas carol in the form of an online advent calendar.

Each day for twelve days from 1st December a new video will appear on our YouTube channel, Beginning with bassoonist Jonathan Jones in the first ‘window’, every day will see another window opened with another instrument added until on the final day the carol tune is disclosed. Well done if you can identify the carol before the last day.


Ordinarily, as we enter December we'd be celebrating another year of Camerata concerts and inviting you all to our annual performance of Messiah. Sadly, 2020 has been anything but ordinary. Music and the performing arts generally have been hard hit, as have the musicians and artists who deliver them. Many have spoken of the likely devastation resulting from the pandemic, with conductors Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Mark Elder warning that many orchestras may not survive.

This year, all but one of our public concerts were cancelled leaving us without the usual ticket sales and fee income. We were, however, fortunate to have the continued support of our sponsors, Skipton Building Society, and a grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation. It was thanks to them along with a donation from Sheffield Oratorio Chorus we were able to deliver the Lockdown Diaries project which remains online and free to view.

Amongst the projects cancelled this year was a weekend festival of concerts marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven in a newly restored Skipton Town Hall which has been undergoing a £4.5 million refurbishment. That didn’t happen but, all being well, the hall will open Easter 2021. With its increased capacity and facilities, the Town Hall will be an important cultural hub for the region, and as the orchestra-in-residence we can't wait!

Beethoven’s anniversary will have been and gone by then but we still plan to bring you one of his symphonies next autumn. The Pastoral Symphony expresses Beethoven's love of the countryside and its last movement ends with a hymn of thanksgiving after the storm - hopefully an appropriate choice by the time we get to it.

Before that, in the spring we'll be offering you Walton's Façade, a brilliantly entertaining setting of Edith Sitwell poems, given in this performance with a Yorkshire twist. And in the summer there's Mozart's fourth horn concerto - the famous one (think Flanders and Swann).

We can't give you any dates quite yet but, social distancing and lockdowns permitting, we plan to deliver a variety of music, both familiar and unfamiliar, some small-scale some large, but all of it exciting. 


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