The Upper York Mandolin Orchestra was founded in 1909 by Thomas Dooley .
At the turn of the 20th century, Mandolin Orchestras were
commonplace in most towns and cities. Dooley,
an Irish immigrant, brought with him from Limmerick his Neopolitan Vinaccia mandolin and a love for mandolin orchestra music. Dooley met many a musician interested in being a part of the orchestra, so he set up weekly sessions
in his home, often going through the night and into the morning. It wasn't too long before these informal sessions would turn into concert
performances throughout the province of Ontario. Dooley's son, Thomas Jr., was smitten with the strength of numbers and soon took up chair as a fellow mandolinist.
Thomas senior passed away in 1956, leaving the directorship to Thomas Jr.
With the birth of rock and roll, membership decreased drastically, but Thomas Jr. wouldn't let the orchestra cease. Eventually, the orchestra performances became infrequent but always well attended by mandolin orchestra enthusiasts who traveled the globe to hear the UYMO's Don Pasquale, fantasia di Ferdinando Francia by Gaetano Donizetti.
After the death of Dooley in 1979, the orchestra took a 16 year hiatus. In 1995, feeling the pains of nostalgia and a reconnection to his family history, Thomas Dooley's youngest son, Tom, set upon a journey to recreate his grandfather's legacy and the Upper York Mandolin Orchestra was reborn.
Canadian musician and long time fan of the Mandolin Orchestra tradition, Kevin Breit, met with Tom Dooley in 2009 to discuss a possible collaborative project. Tom was interested but a little hesitant, " I was unaware of Kevin's work and was swamped with a new season and repetoire,but he left a disk, featuring 5 new compositions." Dooley continues, "My son, Keith, found the recording and gave it a listen. He played it for me and i was enamored with the idea of blendng his style with UYMO's." "Kevin has a very simple sense of where his songs should go musically and is very open to different arrangement ideas. This makes an arranger like myself very excited!"
After recording at Everland Studios off and on for a six month period, the 13 song disc was complete. Recounting the experience, Tom speaks of his feelings about the collaboration with just a few words: "UYMO and I are excited for the next one!"
repetoire:Raffaele Calace, Carlo Murier,Victor Kioulaphides, Leonard Bernstein,
Jacob De Bandolim - Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848), Don Pasquale, fantasia di Ferdinando Francia
- Vincenzo Bellini, I Puritani, Grande Fantasia di Mario Maciocchi
- Georges Bizet (1838-1875), Carmen, fantasia di Vincenzo Billi