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The Ilkley Moornotes Story

Ilkley Moornotes is 10!

In 2006, the Ilkley Gazette printed an item headed: 'Sing up if you want to hit the right notes with new Ilkley music group'. Dave Robinson hoped to start a new singing group in Ilkley and asked those interested to get in touch.

And so by Easter 2007 12 people met at the Quaker Meeting House, Queens Road to sing! We needed a name — and Moornotes evolved — with Ilkley Moor so close by and a play on 'more' notes with us singing lots of notes, hopefully the right ones!

Our first concert for family and friends was held on 16th July 2007.

We looked to increase our membership...

...and we had our first of many visits to Street Choirs at Whitby with our new banner.

We joined in Community Events ranging from singing carols at Christmas to a Reet Grand Sing at Ilkley Summer Festival, and leading On Ilkla Moor Baht'at on Yorkshire Day.


The tone of the group was set by Dave's humour and joy in bringing singing to everyone. We all looked forward to our Monday evenings, enjoying learning new songs by ear and experiencing new challenges. Performing was new to almost everyone — and we found it both terrifying and exhilarating.


One of the songs that Dave wrote, Sing!, meant a great deal to many of us who had come back to singing as adults and were rediscovering the joy of singing.

In the summer of 2011, Dave decided that the time had come to move on. Dave had created Moornotes and so his leaving was a huge loss for the choir. Dave was made a lifetime member of Moornotes and many of the songs he brought to the choir remain in our repertoire.

Later that year, Beccy Owen became the Musical Director of Ilkley Moornotes, as we now were known. Beccy has brought her own special musicality, humour, wisdom and enthusiasm so that the choir has continued to grow both in numbers and in experience.

We have performed as part of Ilkley Arts Festival on several occasions and have continued to give concerts of our own and jointly with other choirs.


We appeared in the television programme Ade in Britain when Ade Edmondson was cooking on a glorious day on Ilkley Moor

For the Tour de France we sang a Bicycle Medley (or 'Pedley'), which Beccy wrote for this very special occasion complete with ringing bicycle bells. In the pouring rain at the Hope & Social Tour of Infinite Possibility more cycling songs were sung.

Starting in 2014, a Moornotes Christmas performance in the cellarium at Fountains Abbey has been a regular event.

In 2016, we hosted a visit from La Canterie du Rey, the choir from Ilkley's twin town, Coutances, which included a joint concert. A return visit is planned in 2017.

And we now look forward to our Anniversary Concert on Saturday 13th May 2017, 7.30pm, in the Sanctuary, Christchurch, The Grove, Ilkley. We will be singing songs from across our repertoire and we're hoping that past members will join us for one or two songs. It should be a joyous celebration full of song!