Ripon Community Orchestra

Savouring the fruits of hours of practice

Ripon Community Orchestra, which uses Bishop Monkton Hall every Tuesday evening for rehearsals, will be giving local audiences a chance to hear them in action at a concert here on Tuesday, July 7.

The programme will include works by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Gershwin and will feature the debut concert appearance of Masham Musicale performing the Trio Sonata No1 by Loeillet. Admission will be by voluntary donation. Refreshments will be provided

The Orchestra, with a catchy slogan - meet play laugh learn,  has a current membership of about 40 amateur players from Ripon, Boroughbridge, Harrogate, Thirsk and beyond.. At present there is nobody from Bishop Monkton but Chairman Richard Cox hopes that situation will change after more people know about them after their forthcoming concert.

The conductor is Xenophon (Zen) Kelsey who, amongst many other things, is also Musical Director of the St Cecilia Orchestra.

The Orchestra chose Bishop Monkton Village Hall as a rehearsal venue because it suited them financially and logistically and also because it provided an ideal concert venue.  So far they have been very happy with their choice of venue. 'It fits our requirements exactly', says Richard.

In recent years the Orchestra has been branching out giving performances in Skelton-on-Ure, and Great Ousburn with plans afoot to collaborate with other music makers in Killinghall to present a Summer Festival of Music.

The Orchestra's purpose is to provide an opportunity for both young players starting out and players who, for whatever reason, have not played for many years  or for those who have taken up an instrument late in life. To that end the members go out of their way to welcome and encourage newcomers so that they can develop in a supportive, relaxed and informal environment. 

Richard Cox says the Orchestra is lucky to have Xen as its guiding ligfht. He is an extraordinary musician who can advise all players on the finer arts of their instruments as well as share with them his encyclopaedic knowledge of music history. He also regularly regales members with tales of some of the 'black arts' of orchestral playing!

The Orchestra is keen to expand further and would welcome hearing from anyone who is approching grade 5 standard, not
necessary with a grade 5 qualification. The Orchestra tackles a wide range of music from Baroque through classical and romantic periods and also  'light classics' such as those by Eric Coates right the way up to modern film classics such as Pirates of the Caribbean and James Bond.

Questions and answers

When are rehearsals held?: 
On Tueday nights at Bishop Monkton Village Hall from 7.30pm to 9 30pm during school term times. 

How can I find out more about the Orchestra?:                                                                                                                  Via their own website( or by contacting Richard Cox on 07967 685019.

When and where can I hear the Orchestra?:                                                                                                                       The next opportunity is on Tuesday, July 7 at Bishop Monkton Hall at 8pm. No advance tickets. Admission at the door by volunary contribution.

Do you need more new players?:                                                                                                                                       Yes, particularly bass players. They would also like to attract Bishop Monkton musicians to join them.

Note to local music groups:                                                                                                                                                  The Orchestra is keen to hear from any groups which might be interested in sharing concerts with them.

Orchestra leader Xen Kelsey
Bass player Michael Campbell-Cole