Ripon gala concert will celebrate the Queen’s jubilee


Last updated Feb 20, 2022
Photo of the St Cecilia Orchestra
St Cecilia Orchestra

A gala concert in honour of the Queen’s platinum jubilee will be held at Ripon Cathedral on Saturday March 5.

St Cecilia Orchestra will play some of the best-loved English orchestral music, compered by Nidderdale-based actor and playwright, Nevin Ward.

He promises:

“A glorious, thrilling programme that is not just some of the finest English music ever written, it’s some of the best music ever, full stop!”

The programme will open with Walton’s rousing Orb and Sceptre march, specially commissioned for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.

This will be followed by Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, which takes the listener on a whistlestop tour of the orchestra by means of a cleverly adapted set of variations on a theme from Purcell’s Abdelazer.

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Mr Ward, a native Northumbrian who has lived in Nidderdale for 45 years, voices the narration in the evening concert and also in a special family highlights matinee at 5.00 pm – designed to give younger children the opportunity to take part in the celebrations and hear live orchestral playing.

Following the interval, the orchestra’s string section will feature in Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, written for double string orchestra with string quartet and based on a melody of the English Renaissance.

Conductor Xenophon Kelsey is looking forward to hearing the fantasia in the generous acoustic of Ripon Cathedral. He said:

“The Vaughan Williams work is glorious  – so atmospheric and evocative, especially in the cathedral!”

Elgar finale

The concert will come to a close with one of Elgar’s musical masterpieces, the Enigma Variations, consisting of 14 pieces based on an original melody, each of which is a sketch depicting one of the composer’s friends.

Elgar himself explained that the work ‘commenced in a spirit of humour’, as he improvised at the piano one evening, but it ‘continued in deep seriousness’.

In naming the theme ‘Enigma’, the composer posed a challenge which has generated much speculation over the years but has never been definitively answered.

Tickets for the full evening performance are priced at £20 for adults and are free for under 18s. Available via the orchestra website,, from the Little Ripon Bookshop and Henry Roberts, or reserve by phone: 01423 531062. The performance begins at 7.30pm.

Tickets for the short family matinee at 5.00pm (Walton and Britten only) cost £5 for adults and are free for under 18s, and are available from the same outlets.



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