Violinist with many strings to his bow

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SPA Orchestra violinist Mike Gray takes the first of a series of short breaks this week as he fulfils other engagements in his busy career as leader of his section in the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Mike’s first major professional work was with the Spa Orchestra from 1996 to 2001.

He then went to the West End and the London Palladium, spending over two years in the orchestra of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which he remembers fondly as “a brilliant show with a brilliant cast”.

He was then offered the principal violin job with the BBC Concert Orchestra.

From time to time during the summer he will be playing for Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night as well as promenade concerts at the Albert Hall.

Mike has no regrets about returning to Scarborough as part of his busy schedule. He says: “In Scarborough I’m playing the tunes I love in an orchestra that is not only keeping tradition alive, but constantly striving to maintain excellence and even improve where possible”.

Mike’s absence will be covered by Michael Ardron from the Opera North orchestra and Christian Halstead, who played with the ensemble in its new year’s day concert.

Tomorrow, the orchestra will invite the audience to A Night at the Opera, with well-known music and popular songs including O My Beloved Father, La Donna e Mobile, One Fine Day and Handel’s Largo, and familiar orchestral items. The final encore will bring the house down, says promoter Stephen Walker.

The guest singers will be soprano Ros Evans and tenor Mark Luther. “Ros has long been a Spa favourite with her glorious voice and bubbly personality,” says Stephen. She has won many awards and sung in various parts of Europe and the Middle East. Mark was one of the orchestra’s three tenors in Peasholm Park last summer (and will return to the park later this year). Mark has performed in New Zealand and the West Indies. He was Katherine Jenkins’ guest artiste on her autumn tour.