RYO Members Stories

from Alan Deighton (received July 11, 2002)

I was pleased the other day to see that the Reading Youth Orchestra has its own web presence and read what you have so far produced with great interest. It has jogged a number of memories from the time when I played in it between 1965 and 1968 and I was a little surprised to see that at least one person from this time is still associated with the orchestra – I assume that Susan Greenwood is the former leader Susan Armitage, who was my violin teacher at Reading School after Violet Watson’s retirement.
I am impressed by the number and range of works that the orchestra has performed in this last season. In my time the number was far more restricted: in 1965-66 I remember the programme consisted of: Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture, Grieg’s Piano Concerto, Dvorak’s 8th Symphony (second movement omitted for some reason) and one other work. There were two or three concerts a season, starting with one in Torquay after an intensive Easter course down there and finally one in the old Reading Town Hall. I remember others, one taking place at a public school near Reading with which the conductor Edward Underhill (we always called him Ted, though not to his face!) had contacts and one at the military academy in Camberley – probably more of Ted’s contacts.
I am taking the liberty of attaching a couple of photographs of the orchestra taken at this time:

Camberley 1967
The photo above was taken in Camberley in 1967. Stephen Lustig was the leader (I am sitting immediately behind him on the second desk of the 1st violins), Susan Armitage is on the right (from the conductor’s point of view) of the first desk of the 2nd violins.
Torquay 1966
The photo above was taken at Easter 1966 in Torquay: the soloist was Juliet Bruce.
Torquay 1967
The photo above shows the string section (minus cellos and basses) at one of the sectional rehearsals in Torquay in 1967. I have forgotten the tutor’s name. I won’t try to identify others on the photographs now as the names will probably not mean much to you anyway, but if you wished to use them for the web site and thought it appropriate I could have a stab at naming a few others. I still have the programmes of the concerts and can let you have copies, though I suppose there is some sort of archive you have access to already.

I wish you all the best with the site and a successful tour in the Netherlands.

Yours sincerely

Alan Deighton