‘Darrowby ‘ choir History (continued) Members of the  choir sing for the  Memory Cafe, Otley  at Christmas 2012


Otley Choral Society has occasionally performed outside Wharfedale. In May 1984 choir members travelled to Otley’s twin town to share a concert with the Chorale de Montereau, performing Faurés Requiem and Vivaldi’s Gloria. Nearer to home, some members of the Choir spent two memorable weekends in Wensleydale singing in freezing conditions (and thereby earning a valuable fee for Society funds), as the Darrowby Choral Society in BBC Television’s ‘All creatures Great and Small’.

Even nearer to home and with the help of the first of our lottery grants, we were able to perform Verdi’s Requiem at St George’s Hall in Bradford which fulfilled our ambition to mount a really big concert. This memorable concert in June 1998 provided a platform for young soloists and involved the participation of young singers from Prince Henry’s Grammar School, St Mary’s Menston and Bradford Cathedral Choir.


After Charles Bainbridge’s retirement in 1980, the Society was first directed by a succession of young conductors, Marcus Huxley, Michael Harris, Darius Battiwalla and Matthew Beetschen, all of whom extended our repertoire but soon went on to higher things. We were very fortunate to be able to appoint the widely known and very experienced John Coates as our musical director in 1991, but sadly, he died in 1996. From 1997 to 2015 the Society has been under the able and amiable baton (or magic pencil) of Alan Horsey.  For the 2015-16 season Barry Jordan has the responsibility of wielding the baton.


For our 50th Anniversary Concert in 1993 we commissioned a work from Andrew Carter. Musick’s Jubilee, based on a poem by Andrew Marvel, has since been widely performed in the UK and abroad. The Diamond Jubilee commission, from Christopher Rathbone, was The World’s a Stage, a setting of a poem by Thomas Hardy and Shakespeare’s 7 Ages of Man.