SKIPTON’S resident professional orchestra Skipton Camerata is this year celebrating its 20th anniversary. But it’s a year that will see a mix of fortunes for the orchestra following its main funder's decision to withdraw sponsorship.

Skipton Building Society told the Herald after supporting the orchestra for more than 20 years 'all good things must come to an end' and it wanted to ensure other charities were given the opportunity to benefit from its support.

Founded by its artistic director, Ben Crick, Skipton Camerata has grown from a small group of music graduates early in their professional careers playing in pubs and railway stations to a crack ensemble performing high-quality music across Yorkshire and beyond.

The orchestra gives a regular series of concerts in Skipton Town Hall where it is orchestra-in-residence. This year, events include a Good Friday performance of Bach’s B Minor Mass, and a gala concert in June featuring Beethoven’s 8th Symphony to celebrate the anniversary. After that, however, the orchestra says things are less certain.

Ben said: “We’ve been extremely lucky. We’ve been able to deliver national standard orchestral music at affordable prices thanks to the building society which has generously supported us for the best part of 20 years. Yes, the decision to pull funding is a blow but we’re looking for alternatives.”

Despite this, Ben remains optimistic with a number of exciting projects on the horizon. These include a groundbreaking exhibition in Skipton Town Hall this spring. ‘Soundscapes’ will include a sound-and-video installation combining recorded orchestral music with immersive 360 videography of the Yorkshire Dales projected inside a purpose-built dome.

Ben said: “The idea came from a discussion I had with video artist Michaela French. Since then I’ve been combining my love of composing music with climbing in all weathers through the hills and caves of the Dales to get video footage.”

The innovative project is a collaboration of musicians, artists, architects and others funded by Skipton Building Society, Arts Council England and the Tarn Moor Estate, which also support Skipton Camerata’s annual concert for schools.

Skipton Camerata performs Bach’s B Minor Mass on Friday March 29 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 on Friday June 21, both in Skipton Town Hall. ‘Soundscapes’ will run in Skipton Town Hall’s exhibition space from March 14 to June 1.

A spokesperson for Skipton Building Society said: “We have supported the Skipton Camerata for over 20 years, and through that time we have been able to create and produce some fantastic projects that benefited the wider community.

"And as all good things must come to an end, Skipton Building Society is keen to be fair and ensure other charities have the opportunity to benefit from our support. To do so Skipton has committed to donating one per cent of our profit before tax to charities that reflect our mutual purpose.”

Any business interested in sponsoring the orchestra should email Ben Crick at: