More Things To Do in York and beyond, whether Unfortunate or fortunate to be here. Hutch’s List No. 24, from The Press

Swing when you’re singing: Ryedale Primary Choir schoochildren doing their vocal exercises for Across The Whinny Moor

MUSICAL moorland mermaids and a villainous sea witch, motion in art and a Mozart mass, vintage Pink Floyd and a Louise Brooks silent movie set up Charles Hutchinson’s week ahead.

Ryedale Festival community event of the week: Across The Whinny Moor, St Peter’s Church, Norton, today, 4pm

THE world premiere of the Community Song Cycle: Across The Whinny Moor follows the trail of North Yorkshire’s Lyke Wake Walk, meeting cheeky hobs, angry mermaids, resourceful giants and wise witches along the way. 

The all-age cast for a walk through stories and songs by John Barber and Hazel Gould includes the schoolchildren of the Ryedale Primary Choir, the Ryedale Voices, Harmonia and The RyeLarks choirs, Kirkbymoorside Town Junior Brass Band, storyteller Rosie Barrett and mezzo-soprano soloist Victoria Simmonds, conducted by Caius Lee. Box office: ryedalefestival.ticketsolve.com/ticketbooth/shows/1173652657. 

Tim Pearce’s poster artwork for Life Forms In Motion at Blossom Street Gallery

Six of the best: Life Forms In Motion, Blossom Street Gallery, Blossom Street, York, until June 30

SIX Yorkshire artists give individual responses to the challenge of interpreting the motion of life forms in a range of static media. In a nutshell, time and space condensed into single, dynamic images.

Taking part are Tim Pearce, painting and sculpture; Cathy Denford, painting; Jo Ruth, printmaking; Adrienne French, painting; Mandy Long, ceramic sculpture, and Lesley Peatfield, photography. Opening hours: Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm; Sundays, 10am to 3pm.

Robert Hollingworth: On baton duty at the University of York Choir and Symphony Orchestra’s concert at York Minster tonight

Classical concert of the week: University of York Choir and Symphony Orchestra, York Minster, tonight, 7.30pm

UNDER the direction of Robert Hollingworth and John Stringer, the University of York Choir and Symphony Orchestra perform Mozart’s ‘Great’ Mass in C minor, widely considered to be among his supreme choral works.

This will be complemented by a selection of works by Anton Bruckner, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Austrian composer’s birth, including the Te Deum, “the pride of his life”. Box office: 01904 322439 or yorkconcerts.co.uk.

Across The Fields To The Sea, by John Thornton, from his Kentmere House Gallery exhibition

“Favourite artist” of the week: John Thornton, Across The Fields To The Sea, Kentmere House, Gallery, Scarcroft Hill, York

BORN in York and now living in Selby, seascape and landscape artist John Thornton has opened his latest show, Across The Fields To The Sea, at his regular York gallery.

“John is everyone’s favourite painter,” says gallery owner and curator Ann Petherick. “I’m delighted he has produced a new and exciting collection of paintings of Askham Bog and Skipwith Common woodlands and meadows and the occasional seascape, inspired by his travels in Yorkshire since the end of Covid.” Opening hours: First weekend of each month, 11am to 5pm; every Thursday, 6pm to 9pm; any other time by appointment on 01904 656507 or 07801 810825.

Louise Brooks in Diary Of A Lost Girl, showing at the NCEM on Tuesday

Film event of the week: Diary Of A Lost Girl (PG), with pianist Utsav Lal, National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, York, June 11, 7.30pm

TRAILBLAZING New York raga pianist Utsav Lal improvises his live score to accompany Diary Of A Lost Girl, a rarely shown gem of German silent cinema starring American icon Louise Brooks.

Presented by Northern Silents, G W Pabst’s 1929 film traces the journey of a young woman from the pit of despair to the moment of personal awakening. Box office: 01904 658338 and at ncem.co.uk.

Sex, sorcery and suckers: Shawna Hamic’s filthy-humoured Ursula in Unfortunate: The Untold Story Of Ursula The Sea Witch. Picture: Pamela Raith

Musical discovery of the week: Unfortunate: The Untold Story Of Ursula The Sea Witch, Grand Opera House, York, June 11 to 15, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

AFTER a hit London season, Yorkshire writer-director Robyn Grant heads north with her raucously rude, wickedly camp parody musical Unfortunate, wherein Disney diva Ursula, the villainous sea witch, rules the waves and waves the rules.

New York actress Shawna Hamic’s Ursula gives her filthy-humoured take on what really happened all those years ago under the sea in a bawdy tale of sex, sorcery and suckers. Age recommendation: 16+, on account of strong language, partial nudity and scenes of a sexual nature. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Courtney Broan as Ado Annie in Pickering Musical Society’s Oklahoma!

American classic of the week: Pickering Musical Society in Oklahoma!, Kirk Theatre, Pickering, June 11 to 15, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

LUKE Arnold directs Pickering Musical Society in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1943 love story of Curly (Marcus Burnside) and Laurie (Rachel Anderson), set in the sweeping landscapes of the American heartland. 

Further roles go to Courtney Broan as Ado Annie, Stephen Temple as Will Parker, Michael O’Brien as Mr Carnes and Rick Switzer-Green as AliHakim, joined by dancers from the Sarah Louise Ashworth School of Dance. Box office: 01751 474833 or kirktheatre.co.uk.

Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets: Re-visiting Pink Floyd at York Barbican

Rock gig of the week: Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets, York Barbican, June 12, 7.45pm

NICK Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets follow up their April 2022 appearance at York Barbican with Wednesday’s date on their Set The Controls Tour.

Once more, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason will be joined by Spandau Ballet guitarist Gary Kemp, bassist Guy Pratt, guitarist Lee Harris and keyboardist Dom Beken to perform vintage Pink Floyd material. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.   

The poster artwork for Calamity Jane, starring Carrie Hope Fletcher, on tour at Grand Opera House next spring

Show announcement of the week: Carrie Hope Fletcher in Calamity Jane, Grand Opera House, York, April 29 to May 3 2025

IN the week when Nikolai Foster’s production of An Officer And A Gentleman The Musical is on tour at the Grand Opera House, the York theatre announces the booking of another show with the North Yorkshire director at the helm, this one bound for the West End.

Three-time WhatsOnStage Best Actress in a Musical winner Carrie Hope Fletcher will star in the whip-crackin’ musical as fearless Dakota gun-slinger Calamity Jane. “She is one of those roles that doesn’t come around all too often,” she says. “She’s action, romance and comedy all packed into one character, and I can’t wait to take on the challenge of filling her shoes.” Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

What’s On in Ryedale, York and beyond, whether whales, walks or water. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 19, from Gazette & Herald

Guy Rhys’s Captain Ahab, centre, leads the whale hunt in Simple 8’s Moby Dick, on tour at York Theatre Royal

SEEKING a whale of a time? Head off to Moby Dick, open studios and musicals full of physical exercise, suggests Charles Hutchinson.

Touring play of the week: Simple8 in Moby Dick, York Theatre Royal, tomorrow to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

SEBASTIAN Armesto’s stage adaptation captures the romantic, ambiguous, richly allegorical spirit of Herman Melville’s novel for Simple8, specialists in creating worlds out of nothing in bold new plays that tackle big ideas with large casts.

Armed with sea shanties played live on stage, planks of wood, tattered sheets and a battered assortment of musical instruments, the ensemble of actors and actor-musicians, led by Guy Rhys’s whale-seeking Captain Ahab, brings Moby Dick ingeniously to life. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Wildlife and landscape artist Jonathan Pomroy: Opening his studio at 4
Pottergate, Gilling East, for North Yorkshire Open Studios

Art event of the week: North Yorkshire Open Studios 2024, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm

STRETCHING from the coast to the moors, dales and beyond, 169 artists and makers from North Yorkshire’s artistic community invite you to look inside their studios this weekend.

Among them will be Steve Page (Sheriff Hutton); Russell Hughes (Easingwold); Richard Gray (Easingwold); Justine Warner (Sheriff Hutton); Patrick Smith (Sheriff Hutton); Calum Balding (Thornton le Clay); Sue Walsh (Cawton); Jonathan Pomroy (Gilling East); Stephen Bird (Ampleforth); Mary Raynar (Helmsley); Ruth King (Boltby) and Marcus Jacka (Boltby). For full details, go to: nyos.org.uk. A full brochure is available.

Tim Pearce’s poster artwork for Life Forms In Motion at Blossom Street Gallery, York

York exhibition of the week: Life Forms In Motion, Blossom Street Gallery, Blossom Street, York, until June 30

SIX Yorkshire artists give individual responses to the challenge of interpreting the motion of life forms in a range of static media. In a nutshell, time and space condensed into single, dynamic images.

Taking part are Tim Pearce, painting and sculpture; Cathy Denford, painting; Jo Ruth, printmaking; Adrienne French, painting; Mandy Long, ceramic sculpture, and Lesley Peatfield, photography. Opening hours: Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm; Sundays, 10am to 3pm.

Save our lido: Drip Drop Theatre in All Those On Board at Helmsley Arts Centre

Making a splash: Drip Drop Theatre in All Those On Board, Helmsley Arts Centre, tomorrow, 7.30pm

NORTH Yorkshire company Drip Drop Theatre presents the premiere of E C R Roberts’s new musical All Those On Board, wherein Bingham-by-the-Sea’s Save The Lido group members are determined to save the town’s long-closed 1930s’ swimming pool from demolition.

They need to come up with the funding before the deadline, no matter to what lengths they must go. Fifteen original songs, live instruments, leg-kicking choreography and colourful swimming hats combine in this lido-themed show for fans of upbeat musical theatre and outdoor swimming in whatever form. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Gary Stewart: Playing the Paul Simon songbook at Helmsley Arts Centre

Ryedale gig of the week: Gary Stewart, The Only Living Boy In (New) York: The Songs of Paul Simon, Helmsley Arts Centre, Friday, 7.30pm

PERTHSHIRE-BORN singer, songwriter, folk musician and Hope & Social drummer Gary Stewart’s compositions are influenced by Sixties and Seventies’ folk artists. Chief among them is New Jersey’s Paul Simon, whose songs Easingwold-based Stewart grew up learning and performing.  

Here he interprets such Simon standouts as The Boxer, Mrs Robinson, Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard, Kodachrome and Graceland. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Ryedale Primary Choir: Taking part in Across The Whinny Moor at St Peter’s Church, Norton, on Saturday

Ryedale Festival community event of the week: Across The Whinny Moor, St Peter’s Church, Norton, Saturday, 4pm

THE world premiere of the Community Song Cycle: Across The Whinny Moor follows the trail of North Yorkshire’s Lyke Wake Walk, meeting cheeky hobs, angry mermaids, resourceful giants and wise witches along the way. 

The all-age cast for a walk through stories and songs by John Barber and Hazel Gould includes the schoolchildren of the Ryedale Primary Choir, the Ryedale Voices, Harmonia and The RyeLarks choirs, Kirkbymoorside Town Junior Brass Band, storyteller Rosie Barrett and mezzo-soprano soloist Victoria Simmonds, conducted by Caius Lee. Box office: ryedalefestival.ticketsolve.com/ticketbooth/shows/1173652657.

Mezzo-soprano Victoria Simmonds: Singing in Across The Whinny Moor

Tribute gig of the month: The Belgrave House Band presents Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black, Milton Rooms, Malton, June 16, 8pm

THE Belgrave House Band, specialists in reimagining classic albums, have visited Malton previously with their interpretations of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.

Now they return with their take on Amy Winehouse’s second album, 2006’s Back To Black, joined by London vocalist Lydia Kotsirea and a full horn section, backing vocalists and rhythm section from the burgeoning Leeds jazz scene. York singer-songwriter Maggie Wakeling supports. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

The poster artwork for Calamity Jane, whip crackin’ its way to the Grand Opera House, York, next spring

Show announcement of the week: Carrie Hope Fletcher in Calamity Jane, Grand Opera House, York, April 29 to May 3 2025

IN the week when Nikolai Foster’s production of An Officer And A Gentleman The Musical is on tour at the Grand Opera House, the York theatre announces the booking of another show with the North Yorkshire director at the helm, this one bound for the West End.

Three-time WhatsOnStage Best Actress in a Musical winner Carrie Hope Fletcher will star in the whip-crackin’ musical as fearless Dakota gun-slinger Calamity Jane. “She is one of those roles that doesn’t come around all too often,” she says. “She’s action, romance and comedy all packed into one character, and I can’t wait to take on the challenge of filling her shoes.” Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Ryedale Festival’s magical community song cycle Across The Whinny Moor celebrates the Lyke Wake Walk at St Peter’s Church

Ryedale Primary Choir: Ready to take part in Across The Whinny Moor, the Ryedale Festival community song cycle

DO you believe in magic? Mezzo-soprano Victoria Simmonds, storyteller Rosie Barrett and an all-age Ryedale cast bring cheeky hobs, angry mermaids, resourceful giants and wise witches to life in Ryedale Festival’s community song cycle Across The Whinny Moor on Saturday afternoon at St Peter’s Church, Norton.

Inspired by the Lyke Wake Walk, this evocative and mysterious tapestry of magical thinking, Yorkshire superstitions and the power of imagination is packed full of local folk legends.

The song cycle gently follows the route of the 42-mile walk across the highest and widest part of the North York Moors National Park, dwelling in spots of interest to explore stories such as The Ballad of Wade and Bell, where, at Wade’s Causeway, the songs tell of mermaids as the first glimpses of the sea come into sight.

Saturday’s 4pm world premiere will feature a cast of more than 100 schoolchildren and amateur singers, who have co-created Across The Whinny Moor with composer John Barber and writer Hazel Gould.

Mezzo-soprano Victoria Simmonds

Developed through sessions in Ryedale schools, a one-off event for young people and online workshops with choir members, together they have explored local folklore and ideas, creating new segments of text and music that Barber and Gould have worked into the new song cycle.

Conducted by Caius Lee, the Ryedale Primary Choir schoolchildren and the Ryedale Voices, Harmonia and The RyeLarks choirs will be joined by Kirkbymoorside Town Junior Brass Band, Simmonds and Barrett.

Alison Davis, who runs the three adult choirs, says: “We are thrilled to be part of this community song cycle and have enjoyed working with John and Hazel since January. It was great to see them at choir rehearsals and they’ve taken away a good idea of our level and style and have written some incredible original material for us, quite different from our usual music.”

In amongst the new music, Simmonds will sing works by Schubert (The Erl King), Handel and Rebecca Clarke. Shining Brass will play Mendelssohn’s Baba Yaga and traditional folk tunes, such as The Lyke Wake Dirge and The Lark In The Morning, arranged by Barber.

Ryedale Voices: One of the choirs performing at St Peter’s Church, Norton

Rosie Barrett creates original stories that bring heritage to life, often commissioned by museums, including Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole, where she has worked on its latest exhibition, Believe It Or Not?

Running until November 17 (closed on Fridays), the exhibition showcases more than 200 objects connected with magical thinking and folk beliefs, many of them being explored in Across The Whinny Moor.

Rosie says: “I’ve always had a particular fondness for folklore, which I believe connects us deeply with our ancestors. When we hear the stories that the people of the past heard, we are sharing in the emotions and experiences that they shared, and, by reinventing folk tales, we ensure that they stay relevant for each generation. “

Writer Hazel Gould says: “I love to go walking and often use walking time as a way to clear my head. If I can resist the temptation to listen to a podcast or music, the time I spend walking can often be incredibly helpful if I have an idea that I’m struggling with or need to develop.

Harmonia: On song for Across The Whinny Moor

“There’s something about the rhythm of walking that allows my thoughts a bit of free range, away from the distractions of a busy life, and it becomes a place where the imagination can blossom. 

“Walking and stories seem to be perfect partners, so we were delighted to discover more about the Lyke Wake Walk and wanted to use this map across the moors as a way to bring together some of the stories from the rich folklore of the region.”

Hazel continues: “It has been a huge pleasure to learn more. I have loved working alongside our primary school groups and adult choirs to talk about these tales and create songs together, from angry hobs to misunderstood women, sometimes called witches. We hope you like it too.”

Festival artistic director Christopher Glynn says: “Enabling and celebrating local music making is very important to the festival. Presented in association with the Richard Shephard Music Foundation and Ryedale Folk Museum, Across The Whinny Moor brings together the Ryedale Primary Choir, storyteller Rosie Barrett, local choirs run by Alison Davis, the Kirkbymoorside Town Junior Brass Band, star mezzo-soprano Victoria Simmonds and conductor Caius Lee.

Sing when you’re swinging: Ryedale Primary Choir

“John and Hazel have harnessed the rich and wild ideas of all these performers, and we are very excited to hear the result on June 8. Join us!’’

Music foundation chief executive officer Cathy Grant says: “The young people involved in the community song cycle have been brought together by the Richard Shephard Music Foundation, the charity helping to increase musical opportunities for children in our region.

“They come from the Ryedale Primary Choir and local primary schools and are aged between seven and 13. Overall, around 120 children have taken part in songwriting workshops, in-school singing workshops or choir rehearsals, and a group of these will be in the final performance on Saturday, singing alongside the adult choir and other musicians.”

Ryedale Festival presents Community Song Cycle: Across The Whinny Moor, a walk through stories and songs by John Barber and Hazel Gould, world premiere, St Peter’s Church, Norton, June 8, 4pm. Box office: ryedalefestival.ticketsolve.com/ticketbooth/shows/1173652657.

REVIEW: Martin Dreyer’s verdict on Ryedale Festival Community Song Cycle

Tenor Nicky Spence

Ryedale Festival Community Song Cycle, Church of St Peter & St Paul, Pickering, April 29

TO travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, wrote the Scottish poet and novelist Robert Louis Stevenson. He later amplified that thought in his evocative Songs Of Travel, nine poems from which were memorably set to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

That was the foundation of Ryedale’s new community song cycle entitled Give To Me The Life I Love, the opening words of Vaughan Williams’s original cycle. It was commissioned by Ryedale Festival from composer Bernard Hughes and librettist Hazel Gould, with assistance from the Richard Shephard Music Foundation. This was its world premiere.

Both composer and librettist freely admit that its primary inspiration lay in the participants themselves, who were widely canvassed in advance and largely responsible for the additional texts in the work.

The children’s chorus, which performed entirely from memory, was Ryedale Primary Choir, trained by Caius Lee, who also conducted the combined forces with considerable aplomb, not to say enthusiasm.

Shining Brass, youngsters who are training with the Kirkbymoorside Town Brass Band group, sounded fully trained to these ears. Adult assistance came from Ryedale Festival Community Choir, whose director is Em Whitfield-Brooks. The only other professionals on hand were tenor Nicky Spence, appropriately a Scot, and pianist Krystal Tunnicliffe.

Inevitably Spence was at the very heart of the work’s success. Standing in the pulpit he manoeuvred his way deftly through the original songs with a strong feel for the words and stirring resonance. But whenever called upon to join the choirs he also scaled down his tone sensitively.

Tunnicliffe’s piano contributed colourful but well-blended accompaniment, as did the brass band, which was particularly smooth during an interlude that was nicely shaded.

The children’s choir contributed considerable gusto, its remarkable diction early on, in All I Need Is Just Enough, setting the tone for the whole exercise. The adult choir was less extrovert but coped well with some gentle polyphony. It would have benefited from a handful more male voices.

Hughes’s score was essentially a clever pastiche of Vaughan Williams and none the worse for that. It reached a peak in the inspirational finale where, having left Vaughan Williams behind, we encountered the full ensemble, with the soloist and adult choir looking backwards nostalgically – “I have lived and loved” – and the children looking ahead, urged by their elders to “Follow your path”. Amateurs and professionals coalesced happily.

This music will introduce the original cycle, one of the finest of all in our language, to audiences that would not normally encounter it in its usual habitat, a song recital. That alone is invaluable. It will also happily transplant to other arenas. We may just add a coda, from the golfer Walter Hagen, to Stevenson’s exhortation about travel: “Be sure to smell the flowers along the way”.

Review by Martin Dreyer

Nicky Spence is an artist in residence at this summer’s Ryedale Festival (July 14 to 30), appearing in events 12, 19 & 24. For the full programme, head to: www.ryedalefestival.com.

Four recitals promoted by Ryedale Festival were recorded by BBC Radio 3 for broadcast from May 9 to 12 at 1 p.m.