DORSET’s Ridgeway Singers and Band with Tim Laycock and Phil Humphries joined the celebrations of two major anniversaries in glorious spring sunshine at Kimmeridge Bay. The singers sang traditional songs of the sea from the West Country as part of the Landmark Trust’s 50th anniversary golden weekend and this year’s 25th anniversary of Artreach, Dorset’s rural arts organisation.
The Ridgeway choir was set up two years ago by Artsreach with the South Dorset Ridgeway partnership to sing songs from the old gallery quires and family collections in West Dorset, collected by historians and musicians Tim and Phil, who lead the rehearsals and performances. (Tim is a well-known actor, storyteller and member of several local music groups, including Hambledon Hopstep Ceilidh Band, and Phil is a member of the Mellstock Band).
There was plenty of music for the crowds who turned out for the Landmark weekend, to hear West Dorset composer and conductor Sammy Hurden lead her Freedance Choir in the Landmark anthem, composed by Kerry Andrew, Lines, Loops, Bones and Stones, which was performed simultaneously at 25 Landmarks around Britain at 3pm on Saturday 16th May. Sammy also conducted the Freedance Choir in Kimmeridge Kestrel, a song written by Sammy for the occasion.
The performance took place by the Clavell Tower, the Kimmeridge cliff-top folly which was moved 25 metres back from the crumbling cliffs and restored by the Landmark Trust. It is now one of the Trust’s most popular holiday lets, providing matchless views of the Jurassic coast for the lucky couple who stay there.
Down on the foreshore below the cliffs, with a view of Antony Gormley’s LAND sculpture, Tim, Phil and the Ridgeway singers and musicians performed a series of songs and tunes with a nautical theme.
Blessed with fabulous weather, the event was an unqualified triumph, musically enjoyable and a real celebration of the work of the Landmark Trust, which saves and restores important historic buildings (of all sizes) and of Artsreach which does so much to bring high quality performing arts to the rural county.
For more on Anthony Gormley’s Landmark Trust commission, LAND, see the Private View section of this website.