Pickering Musical Society to celebrate 100th birthday with a two-night concert

Bill Shimmin and Ron Scales perform back in 1950.
Bill Shimmin and Ron Scales perform back in 1950.

Pickering Musical Society is planning to celebrate its 100th birthday later this month with a two-night concert showcasing music from shows it has performed over the past century.

The society is inviting the people of Pickering and the surrounding area, together with members and friends past and present, to come along to the birthday concert called ‘A Centenary of Song’ on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 June.

The Pickering Musical Society's most recent production The Sound of Music.

The Pickering Musical Society's most recent production The Sound of Music.

The concert will feature both members of Pickering Musical Society, the youth theatre, and members of the Sarah Louise Ashworth School of Dance.

The concert will be accompanied by a small display of programmes, posters and photographs from the society’s archive.

Members are inviting people to come along and share their memories of Pickering Musical Society and The Kirk Theatre with them.

Officially formed in 1919, Pickering had a vibrant musical scene before the First World War and plans for forming an official musical society had been around since 1914.

Sylvia Frank and John Pearson (1969).

Sylvia Frank and John Pearson (1969).

With the war came the departure of many men from Pickering and the surrounding area so it wasn’t until 1919 that the society was formally created.

Formed by music lovers of the town including Mrs Kirk of Houndgate Hall, the society performed its first production in the summer of 1919, the operetta “Cupid and the Ogre”.

Following the great success of the production the society then began to plan more concerts and operas.

The larger performances of operettas, musicals and pantomimes then took a break during the Second World War and Pickering Musical Society did its bit by performing smaller musical revues and concerts raising funds for the war effort.

Heading into the fifties the society began to perform more musicals and pantomimes which were performed annually at the Memorial Hall. This post war period of the 50s, 60s, and 70s saw the audiences and membership grow considerably and pantomimes were performed to full houses of more than 300 for more than two weeks.

The later part of the 20th century saw the North Yorkshire Moors Railway introduce the Railway at War Weekend and this formed the basis of a third annual production for the musical society – a revue of music from the wartime period.

Tickets for the concerts are priced from £12 and are available online at www.kirktheatre.co.uk, by telephone 01751 474833, or in person at our box office on Tuesdays between 11am and 1pm.