“How lucky we were to have known him” – York Musical Theatre Company remembers Richard Bainbridge in night of song online

Richard Bainbridge: Memorial online concert on Sunday to honour a year since his passing on July 5 2019

YORK Musical Theatre Company will mark the first anniversary of leading light Richard Bainbridge’s exit stage left on Sunday with a special online memorial concert.

Streamed on YMTC’s YouTube channel, the 7.30pm programme will celebrate Richard’s theatrical life with songs from all the shows he loved and the many he graced with the company.

Richard passed away last summer at the age of 64 after a long association with York Musical Theatre Company – formerly known as York Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society until 2002 – as actor, director and latterly company chairman.

Taking part on Sunday night will be Eleanor Leaper; Matthew Ainsworth; John Haigh; Florence Taylor; Moira Murphy; Amy Lacy; Rachel Higgs; Peter Wookie; Matthew Clare; Chris Gibson; Helen Singhateh and Jessa & Mick Liversidge.

“There’ll be a group performance from YMTC members too and we’re thrilled to have professional actor Samuel Edward-Cook – Sam Coulson in his YMTC days – back with us performing a special number,” says director Paul Laidlaw.

Sam’s back: York actor Samuel Edward-Cook, pictured in his leading role in Glory Dazed in 2019, will be returning to the York Musical Theatre Company ranks, albeit remotely, for Sunday’s online concert

He is keeping the running order and who will be singing each number under wraps as a surprise for Richard’s family.

Among those songs will be Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’, from Oklahoma!; As Long As He Needs Me, from Oliver!; Tomorrow, from Annie; Mister Snow, from Carousel; Some Enchanted Evening, from South Pacific; Seeing Is Believing, from Aspects Of Love, and My Time Of Day, from Guys And Dolls.

“It’s hard to believe that a year has gone by since we lost our dear friend and colleague, Richard,” says Paul. “I think I can speak for the whole company when I say how much we still miss him.

“His enthusiasm, drive and, above all, his incredible sense of humour would have been a tonic in these extraordinary times. He would, of course, have been actively taking part in the Off-stage But Online concerts we are presenting under lockdown, and with a mixture of encouragement, bribery, coercion and threats he would have made sure that everyone else took part too.”

Looking ahead to Sunday’s memorial celebration, Paul says: “We wanted this next concert, falling on the anniversary of his death, to be dedicated to Richard. Many of the performers have fond memories of working alongside him and the song choices often reflect moments spent with him on stage. Happy memories, tinged with sadness of course but, oh, how lucky we were to have known him.”

To watch Sunday’s concert, type in the link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiTrGyeP93_to9uYOsvoS4w