Community musician Bill Scott and his wife Anita will meet the Queen later this month when they attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace.
Sunderland-born Bill, who has lived in Scarborough since 1975, said the invitation came out of the blue.
“I’ve no idea how I came to be invited, but it’s very exciting and I feel very honoured to be invited,” said Bill.
Trained at Leeds University, Bill came to Scarborough’s North Riding College to complete his teacher training and went on to teach music at Graham School and Scarborough College.
Bill worked as Musical Director at Stephen Joseph Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, Scarborough & District Light Opera Society and most recently at Spa Bridlington’s Summer season of Irving Berlin and Noel Coward shows in stately homes around the East Riding.
His community work started when arthritis forced his early retirement from full-time teaching and he formed his own choir and orchestra.
“I started it as the Can’t Sing Choir”, recalls Bill with a laugh, “and it grew into the Graham Choir and is now the 85-strong Scarborough Community Choir, singing weekly at South Cliff Methodist Church, and performing in care homes, local halls and even once at The Spa Grand Hall, backing Russell Watson.”
At the same time, Bill has brought together local musicians in his Sandside Orchestra for occasional concerts, often with his Choir and guest pianist Frank James, playing works as ambitious as Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and the great piano concertos by Grieg, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky. These concerts have raised several thousand pounds for local charities.
Over the years, Bill has composed many musicals which have been staged locally, including Barnaby Rudge, The Inn Of Happiness and Rock On Henry (which was successfully revived this March at Westborough Methodist Church).
A keen Gilbert & Sullivan enthusiast, Bill directed semi-staged performances of Trial By Jury and The Mikado with his Choir, Orchestra and Sandside Players, and then, in partnership with UK Foundation for Dance, the recent, fully-staged and well-received Ruddigore at YMCA Theatre.