AG&SS History

The Society began its official life at a Committee meeting held on Thursday 20th June 1957. At this meeting it was proposed to put to an Extraordinary General Meeting the proposition that “The Aireborough Grammar School Old Scholars’ Association Gilbert & Sullivan Society” be formed. The purpose of the Society was to produce Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, the profits to be donated to charity. Membership was open to all members of the Old Scholars’ Association. These propositions, plus other sound and well thought out rules to govern the workings of the Society, were presented and passed at the Extraordinary General Meeting on the 12th September 1957. One interesting amendment to the rules that evening read: “the profits from the productions to be divided between the Old Scholars’ Association and suitable charities”. So the Society, led by an appointed committee, came into being and launched itself with tremendous enthusiasm into all the complex preparations for its first production. This was to be “The Gondoliers”, with Mrs Eileen MacKay as Musical Director and Mrs Dorothy Denison as Producer. It was Eileen MacKay who was instrumental in creating the Society and to her the Society owes a great debt of gratitude.

In 1941, the then Miss Charlesworth was appointed as Music Teacher to the staff of Aireborough Grammar School at Yeadon. Her love and deep knowledge the music of Arthur Sullivan and the Savoy Operas soon showed itself in the repertoire of the school’s music at concerts and Speech Days. A well-received production of “The Gondoliers” by senior pupils at the school took place in 1945. Further productions followed, “The Yeomen of the Guard”, “H.M.S. Pinafore” and “Ruddigore”. Many of the pupils who were involved in these productions became members of the Old Scholars Association on leaving school and it was this pool of talent that inspired Mrs MacKay to consider creating an Old Scholars’ G&S Society to produce the Savoy Operas.