Ridgeway Singers & Band October Concerts

Dorset Music Unboxed!

Ridgeway Singers & Band October Concerts

The well-known Dorset music group The Ridgeway Singers & Band, led by Phil Humphries and Tim Laycock, has been collaborating with the Dorset History Centre to bring to life old music long hidden in its archives.

The result will be three concerts, taking place in Dorchester, Wareham and Poole

Thursday 6 October – Dorchester. Dorford Centre, 7.30pm
Sunday 8 October – Wareham. Lady St Mary Church, 4.00pm 
Thursday 13 October – Poole. St James’ Parish Church, 7.30pm

Tickets £10 adults, £5 under-18s: via TicketSource


or call 01305 852826

The songs, music and readings will be the Ridgeway’s usual joyful, punchy performance, which have led audiences to say “Brilliant, uplifting singing and terrific readings – no wonder we all loved it.”

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It’s amazing what you can find in a box that has sat on the shelf for a long time, and when you are the Dorset History Centre (DHC) looking into that box with Dorset musicians Tim Laycock and Phil Humphries, the results can be very intriguing.
The Dorset History Centre, together with the Dorset Archives Trust, care for the written and digital documents which form Dorset’s history. They have eight miles of climate controlled shelving!
Some of the musical manuscripts held by the DHC are those of William Knapp, an important Dorset musician of the 18th century. He is composer of the very well-known hymn tune “Wareham” and one of his pieces being performed was dedicated to the town of Blandford after a huge fire in 1731 destroyed most of the town.
Works from the music book of Benjamin Rose will also feature in the concerts. Rose was a farmer and alehouse keeper from near Okeford Fitzpaine who wrote out a collection of catchy country dance tunes from his time (1820).
Further songs will be taken from the Hammond manuscripts, which contain a large number of songs collected in Dorset. The two Hammond brothers collected nearly 700 folksongs in Dorset between 1905 and 1908, travelling purely by bicycle! We will be singing at least one folk song in each concert that was collected in the town in which we are performing.
We will also be performing “Linden Lea”, words by William Barnes set to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
The style of much of the Ridgeway’s performances is known as “West Gallery”. This refers to a time when churches had galleries and local musicians and singers would sit in the gallery to accompany the congregation’s singing. This went out of fashion in the mid-19th century, as depicted in Thomas Hardy’s Under the Greenwood Tree. It is a very full-bodied sound.
Our collaboration with the Dorset History Centre has already turned up interesting new discoveries, such as a list of the members of the Puddletown Church band and singers in 1840–50 that includes two women - in contrast to the ‘men and boys only’ picture presented by Thomas Hardy.

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Contact for further information: Ms Perilla Kinchin 01305 852826 or whitecockade@gmail.com.

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