Leader: Tom Field
Conductor: Maurice Powell
Patron: Charles Guard
The Story of the Isle of Man Symphony Orchestra
This book grew out of a very simple idea, namely, to add something to the very limited paragraph concerning the history of our National Orchestra as it appeared year after year in concert programmes. However, researches soon revealed that there was a fascinating story to be told stretching back to the First World War and beyond, and involving some of the most prominent and influential musicians and conductors who lived and worked on the Island.
After her death a small group of string players formed the Swarthmore Players, conducted by Bernard Osborne from the late 1960s, and which gradually grew into the Manx Sinfonia under Geoff Nicks, Alan Pickard and Wendy Smith. The present Musical Director, and author of this book, was appointed in 2004, soon after which the orchestra became the Isle of Man Symphony Orchestra.
The illustrious names of the many well-known local musicians and singers who appeared as guest artists over the years: Ada Mylchreest, May Clague, Nora Moore, Douglas Buxton, Dan Minay, Eileen Peters, Lewis Gale, Sue Bowring, Eleanor Shimmin, Graham Kirkland, Ernest Thorne, Allan Wilcocks, Mandy Griffin, Karen Elliott, Kristene Sutcliffe and Colin Horsley, to mention just a few, testify to the vital contribution our amateur orchestras have made to the enrichment of our Island’s artistic heritage for nearly a century.
The story begins in 1917 with the formation of the Douglas Amateur Orchestral Society conducted by J E Quayle, which in 1931 became the Manx Amateur Orchestral Society, conducted for over twenty-five years by Kathleen Rydings, one of the Island’s foremost violinists and teachers.
Since the publication of my book, ‘ENCORE! The Story of the Isle of Man Symphony Orchestra (published by Maurice Powell, 2013), many colleagues have asked me if it would be possible to make available further information concerning the many concert programmes referred to in the book. The following page therefore, contains full details of all the concerts for which programmes survive, of the Douglas Amateur Orchestral Society, the Manx Amateur Orchestral Society, the Swarthmore Players, the Manx Sinfonia and the Isle of Man Symphony Orchestra.