Reading Youth Orchestra in the 1960s

A message from Mike Bartholomew, received on 9 March 2011

I was very pleased to stumble upon the RYO website. I was a clarinettist in the mid 60s and went on the Ymca course in Torquay a few times. I was at a local school, The Oratory in Woodcote, and “Ted” Underhill, conductor at the time, was my clarinet teacher there.

I attach 3 photos. They were all taken in Torquay (mid 60s).

I am in the centre back of the woodwind picture. Sean Greenwood is on the oboe. (He married Susan Armitage who was violinist with the RYO). The oboist with the hair is Carol, I think. And I think the first flautist is Catherine Oates. She also had a younger sister in the Orchestra, possibly called Philippa. Our instructor is Mr. O’Keefe (a Bassoonist). Each year we had a race from the coach to the top of a tor on Dartmoor. I remember coming second to the redheaded oboist in this picture.

The second picture is outside the church in which we gave the concerts. Sean and I are at opposite ends standing. Susan is seated below the guy with the striped Jumper. I can’t remember any other names. Ted Underhill is seated in the centre with the smile and the glasses.

The photo inside the church is a bit blurred. This is an earlier photo because Anthony Averay, also from my school is there next to Sean Greenwood who played clarinet at that time. Susan is clearly visible at the front. Sean went on to graduate from music college and played for the RAF band. He then went into peripatetic teaching and latterly became a well respected instrument repairer. Sadly he died a few years ago.

Anthony Averay I traced to Vancouver. He lives on a houseboat and is still a musician. I went to the Royal Ballet many years ago and he was playing Bassoon in the orchestra.

Mike Bartholomew, that’s me, was the least talented musically of the three, went on to get a Maths degree and worked in the Computer industry for too long. I gave that up in 1990 and took a Teaching Diploma (saxophone) and taught for 10 years in West London before retiring. I now live in Devon and run a Sax Quartet called Simply 4 Saxes.

These photos are all about 45 years old. How time flies when you’re having fun! I hope you’ll be able to include them on the website and maybe some old codgers like myself will be able to recall their happy times with the RYO.

Cheers, Mike Bartholomew

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