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Castle Museum makeover means Carols in Kirkgate concert is cancelled
YORK’S annual Carols in Kirkgate Christmas concert has been cancelled for 2013 after more than 50 years at the city’s Castle Museum.
The event, which takes place annually in December, is seen by many as one of the city’s great festive traditions attracting hundreds of people to costumed choral performances in the museum’s Victorian street.
Performances are given by the York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir (YPMVC) and the Kirkgate Singers who sing wellknown favourites and traditional carols, complemented by humorous and sentimental readings.
But this year the museum is undergoing a makeover which means the staple of the festive calendar has been cancelled.
A museum spokeswoman said she was unable to comment on whether it would be held again next year.
YPMVC member Allan Wilkinson, 69, of Wilberfoss, said: “I am gutted. I have been doing it since 1997 and the choir as a whole have been singing at Christmas in Kirkgate for 51 years. This is the first year I have known it to be cancelled and it’s going to upset a lot of people.
“The event signals the start of Christmas for many people and many of the audience have been going year in year out.”
As previously reported in The Press, development work has started at the museum in preparation for the launch of a major exhibition in 2014 in commemoration of the First World War. In total, £1.7 million is being invested into the museum.
Charlotte Dootson, communications manager for York Museums Trust, said: “This is a very exciting time for the York Castle Museum. The investment has given us the opportunity not only to improve access in a Grade I-listed building but the overall visitor experience too.
“Inevitably, this exciting large-scale development will have an impact upon our operations and therefore we are unable to accommodate the event Carols in Kirkgate this year. “ YPMVC will holding its own Christmas carol concerts this year at the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, Fossgate, on Wednesday, December 4, Monday, December 9 and Tuesday, December 10. Tickets are £12 from 01904 654818.
The birth of a tradition
THE Kirkgate concerts date back to 1962, when York Castle Museum curator Robert Patterson had the idea to bring the Kirkgate street alive by creating a perfect Victorian Christmas scene, complete with carol singers.
The idea was supported by Richard B Lister, musical director of the York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir, and one evening of carols took place that year, followed by two the next and three in 1964 and a tradition was born.
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