2018 saw the revival of the Landkey Carols with a project run in partnership with Wren Music. After two years of discussion the Landkey team, led by Becky Houghton and Richard Prowse (and after significant prompting from Michael Gee), put together a proposal with Wren for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This was successful and plans were laid to revive the carols for December 2018.
There were two strands to the project:
Local publicity generated good interest and 18 people came along to rehearsals. These were led by Wren music leader Nick Wyke who, with his colleague Paul Wilson, selected the carols for performance – and crucially made the arrangements for different voices. Some were written in unison and others had up to four parts. (For the list of carols and the arrangements click here).
Wren Musical Director, Paul Wilson, ran a series of workshops in two local schools (Landkey Primary School and Swimbridge Primary School). The children were introduced to the Landkey Carols and its tradition and came together to help keep the tradition alive.
A final performance was held on Saturday 1st December at Landkey Primary School, starting with a day-long workshop led by Nick Wyke and Jon Dyer from Wren Music for the choir, who were joined by members of the North Devon Folk Choir (a regular Wren group). Together they created an amazing sound for the performance held later in the afternoon. By the time of the concert the school hall was full with local residents and parents of the children who also joined in with their songs – inevitably they stole the show!
A highlight of the project was coverage of the Landkey Carols by BBC’s Spotlight programme. The choir were filmed getting into their cars to visit a local farm where they entertained the owners on the doorstep. The second stop was at the home of Agnes (surname?) a long-time resident who had remembered the carols from her childhood. After a return to the village the choir went to the pub where again carols were sung.