Leamington Courier, Friday 17th December 2010

The York Waits, Leamington Music, St Mary’s Church, Warwick, December 14. What do you do when your lead singer takes sick on the morning of your Warwick concert? Beg and borrow from the talented Warwickshire County Youth Waits – young musicians and singers enjoying early music. In particular you lean on Lucinda Murphy, Sammy Tooze and Rowan Bidmead.

At 3pm Lucinda is in the middle of a philosophy lesson at Kingsley when she gets a call for a 5pm rehearsal. Rowan leaves Trinity and Sammy forgets her Nottingham University music studies for a few hours to join them at St Mary’s. their vocal and musical contributions were hugely significant in delivering the York Waits’ newly devised Christmas Story programme.

Playing an extraordinary collection of wind and stringed instruments familiar to the townsfolk in the sixteenth century, the York Waits’ story begins with early Herefordshire folk songs, before concentrating on the substantial efforts of Michael Praetorius – like Lucinda, a student of philosophy – and Hieronymous Praetorius, two of north Germany’s most versatile composers of the age.

The great bass racket (an early bassoon), shawm (a predecessor of the modern oboe), hurdy gurdy, crumhorn, bagpipes, lute, recorder, harp and fiddle in the very capable hands of instrumentalists produced very different sounds, yet demonstrated constant capability to support the young singers, most particularly in the lovely rendition of Lully, Lully, thow tyne child (The Coventry Carol) and the Sans Day Carol, a delightful Cornish carol.

Lucinda, Sammy and Rowan and their instrumentalist colleagues received deserved recognition at the close of this enterprising evening – they will do much to develop the musical heritage of this part of Warwickshire.

Verdict: Rescue act links well with understanding professionals.

Clive Peacock
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