Little Waldingfield History Society was delighted to welcome Ancestral Voices, a collaborative project between Sarah Doig, Tony Scheuregger and Jane Scheuregger, to St Lawrence Church on a lovely summer's evening on Wednesday 14th May. We were also exceedingly pleased with the turnout, more than 75 members and non members alike, who were royally treated - Ancestral Voices were quite simply superb.
Ancestral Anglia was an historical journey in words, images and music from the beginning of the sixteenth century up to the early 1700s - celebrating our region's rich cultural heritage through the eyes of visitors such as Will Kemp, a Shakespearean comic actor, and writer and journalist Daniel Defoe (of Robinson Crusoe fame). East Anglia's royal connections were also explored, including the effect Henry the Eighth had on the region through the dissolution of the monasteries and the summer progress made by his daughter Queen Elizabeth the First in 1578.
It is absolutely fair to say the audience were spellbound throughout. A combination of great research by the players, amazing images perfectly choreographed on the big screen and authentic music brilliantly played, together with a wonderful atmosphere in our delightful church combined to produce just the right ambience. The choice of illustrations, the contemporary readings (superbly narrated by Tony) and the sheer quality of the accompanying music played on a bewildering array of period instruments were truly excellent. It really was a superbly researched and wonderfully presented programme, and I haven't yet mentioned the sheer excellence and beauty of the singing voices, which were quite simply magical.
I could easily carry on until I ran out of suitable adjectives to describe the overall performance, but instead have cheated a bit, picking up the following review highlights from the web, all of which were equally true for our event:
- The balance of music, narrative and illustrations was perfect - Leicester Mercury.
- Fascinating, virtuosic performance and a history lesson to boot - Brundall Concert Series.
- A vibrant and polished performance …. both informative and very entertaining - St Lawrence Centre for the Arts (no relation to our church of the same name).
- It was so atmospheric and informative, brilliant - Swaffam Arts.
- Absolutely brilliant, such a delightful variety of sounds and styles - Leicester Early Music Festival.
We can't wait until we invite Ancestral Voices back for another of their tremendous presentations - watch this space.
On another happy note, Society Trustees opened an advance order book for “Little Waldingfield - Our Village History From 1840 to 2014”, during the evening. Our book is the culmination of a Heritage Lottery Funded “All Our Stories” project and will soon be available to buy (£18.00 softback and £30.00 hardback). All proceeds from this 350 plus page full colour book will go towards preserving the fabric of St Lawrence Church, and it is great to report that we have got off to a good start. If you would like a copy, please contact any society trustee or email the writer on email@example.com
Our next talk will be on 11th June when the ever popular Pip Wright will present “Lady Alice De Bryene of Acton”, a Suffolk Noblewoman who maintained a complete record of all food & drink consumed in her significant medieval household between October 1412 & September 1413. Somehow the book survived, and Pip will take us through the records and enthrall us with his piercing insight to this far away time. We hope to see many of you there.
Andy Sheppard 15th May 2014
Photos from the event in St Lawrence Church - happy memories