IN its first performance since the UK entered lockdown in March 2020, Ripon’s St Cecilia Orchestra will return to Ripon Cathedral on Saturday, October 2, with two consecutive concerts.

The hour-long programme will team Wagner’s beautiful symphonic poem Siegfried Idyll and Beethoven’s light-hearted Symphony No. 8 with Vaughan-Williams’ The Lark Ascending, which in April this year topped the Classic FM hall of fame chart for a record 11th time.

Violinist Charlotte Scott, renowned soloist and chamber musician and first violinist of the Oculi Ensemble, will join St Cecilia in the Vaughan-Williams.

A century years since its first performance in the orchestral version, The Lark Ascending continues to engage and enthral audiences with its soaring violin lines, emulating the flight of the lark.

The mood of the music is nostalgic yet uplifting, filled with echoes of the folk music Vaughan-Williams loved and evoking stunning images of the English countryside.

Charlotte said: “It’s always a joy to be asked to perform The Lark Ascending. I love searching each time I play this masterwork for new colour and lines in the music that truly represent the Lark and its surrounding nature – the possibilities are endless. I’m so excited to come back to explore and play this with Xen and St Cecilia Orchestra.”

The Wagner and Beethoven, both gems in the orchestral repertoire, represent a more intimate performance than might usually be seen by St Cecilia in Ripon Cathedral, which last year saw the performance of Mahler’s epic second symphony.

With the current climate in mind, audience and orchestra safety is at the forefront of concert planning and a slightly shorter concert with no interval and repeat performances to allow for more social distancing will help to make audience members feel secure in their return to enjoying live music.

Orchestra members are eager to get back to performing the music they love after such a long interval, under the expert direction of conductor, Xenophon Kelsey. Xen, who founded the orchestra and has been with them throughout its 26 year history, is also excited to be back.

“I can’t wait!” he said. “It’s going to be fantastic to see our wonderful players together again after 18 months of no concerts. We’re going to love playing these great works and I’m sure the audience will love it too – don’t miss it!”

The performance times are 4pm and 7.30pm. Tickets are available online at, from the Little Ripon Bookshop and Henry Roberts and on the door.