Music of the Waits – for a Noyse of Shawms and other loud winds:   5 April 2008

Goldsmith Centre 259 Sprotbrough Road Sprotbrough. Doncaster. DN5 8BP

A workshop for loud wind instruments led by Tim Bayley & William Marshall of The York Waits

Workshop Participants (click to enlarge photograph)NEEMF

On April 5th, 30 waits and other renaissance loud wind and percussion musicians gathered at the Goldsmith Centre, Sprotbrough, Doncaster. Participants came from far and wide, from as far afield as London, Colchester, Ely, Kings Lynn, Ashby de la Zouch, Sale, Middlesbrough, and even Ashfield, Oregon. Seven were non-waits, five were novice waits experiencing their first major gathering, and the remainder were veteran waits with years of experience playing in kit in the streets and elsewhere. Leading this throng of cornetti, shawms, sackbuts, curtals and tabors was Tim Bayley, ably assisted by William Marshall.

After warming up on soup and coffee while watching snow squalls outside, Tim led the “big band” through a day of typical waits’ repertoire. We played our way through examples of waits’ music from the late fifteenth to early seventeenth century, including three versions of the Battle Pavan, standards including Tant Que Vivrai, Bruder Conrad’s Tanzmass and Christ ist Erstanden, three settings of Ein Feste Burg, dances, carnival songs etc.. Altogether, we worked on, and performed tunefully (I was assured by Tim) over twenty pieces. For an hour after lunch, William took the sackbuts into the adjacent Parish Council chamber to play a few Susato pieces. We concluded the day by performing a selection of the day’s pieces in an exclusive concert for an audience of three!

For those of us who already belong to waits’ bands, the day was a great warm-up for our Third International Festival of Town Pipers in Lincoln on June 27-29. For the others it was an opportunity to play loud wind repertoire with kindred spirits without feeling the need for restraint. I know that one participant was inspired to go home and re-establish another waits’ group on the west side of the Pennines and Peak.

Report by Alan Radford, Leeds Waits.

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