2015 – Going the Rounds

Going the Rounds is an event organised by the Thomas Hardy Society, and takes place every two years. It’s a musical and literary walk devised by Furse Swann, based on the journey of the carol singers in Hardy’s ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’.

The event starts at 6.30pm at the Thorncombe Woods car park, and participants and audience go through the woods to Hardy’s Cottage. At various stages on the way, singing and readings take place, recreating the events of the Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning described in the novel. Later on we visit Bockhampton, and then make our way to Stinsford Church , where the last part of the performance takes place. The whole thing takes about 3 hours!

For many years the music and singing has been provided by The Madding Crowd, a West Gallery group from Hampshire, founded by Rollo Woods. The group have now decided that they would prefer to ‘hand over the reins’, and it makes sense for the singers, musicians and readers to be drawn for the local community.

The New Hardy Players and the Thomas Hardy Society are offering three rehearsal workshops to anyone interested in learning to sing and play some of the old Bockhampton carols mentioned by Hardy in ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’, and preserved in the music manuscript books of his father and grandfather. The carols are splendid, full of life and vigour, and not difficult to sing.

The workshop leaders will be Phil Humphries and Tim Laycock, who also lead the Ridgeway Singers and Band. The conductor for the performance will be Alastair Simpson.

Phil Humphries is a professional trombonist and virtuoso serpent player. He is a member of the internationally –renowned Mellstock Band, and is an acknowledged expert on West Gallery music.

This will be a great opportunity for members of The New Hardy Players to learn to sing and play these lovely carols, which will also feature prominently in our forthcoming Christmas 2016 production of Under the Greenwood Tree.

Unless you have previous experience of the carols, it will be important to attend all three workshops. You don’t have to be able to read music to take part [ we’ll provide rehearsal recordings if you prefer to learn by ear], but it helps.

The event itself does involve a lot of walking [unless you just attend the final part at Stinsford church]; so please only sign up to take part if you are happy and able to walk. [ Cellists can join in at Stinsford!]

The workshops/ performance will be as follows

Wednesday 2nd December7.30pm Durnovaria Band Hall, Dorchester

Thursday 10th December 8.00pm St George’s Church Hall, Fordington, Dorchester

Saturday 19th December at 2.30pm St George’s Church Hall, Fordington, Dorchester, followed by bring-and- share tea/supper, before the performance begins at 6.30pm

There will be a charge of £5 per person per workshop to cover the costs of hall hire, music copying and workshop leaders. Under-18’s and students are free.

If you would like to take part, or for further details, please contact Tim Laycock Please respond by 31st October 2015
email tim@timlaycock.co.uk. Tel 01305 267682




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