THE world premiere of a Community Song Cycle inspired by the famous Lyke-Wake Walk takes place in Norton next week.

Across the Whinny Moor is a series of stories and songs and includes a cast of over 100 local school children and amateur singers.

The song cycle has been co-created by these local singers along with composer John Barber and writer Hazel Gould.

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

Alison Davis who runs three of the choirs taking part in Across the Whinny Moor – Harmonia, The Ryelarks and Ryedale Voices – said; “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 Victoria Simmonds sings work by Schubert (The Erl King), Handel and Rebecca Clarke. Shining Brass plays Baba Yaga by Mendelssohn and traditional folk tunes including the Lyke Wake dirge and ‘the lark in the morning’ which have been specially and beautifully arranged by Barber.

Rosie Barrett works to create original stories that bring heritage to life, often commissioned by museums including Ryedale Folk Museum. She has recently worked on its current exhibition ‘Believe it or not?’ which showcases over 200 objects connected with magical thinking and folk beliefs, many of which are explored in Across the Whinny Moor.

Rosie said: "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 said: "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. 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. 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!"

Across the Whinny Moor is presented by Ryedale Festival in association with the Richard Shephard Music Foundation and Ryedale Folk Museum.

Christopher Glynn, Artistic Director of the Ryedale Festival, said: “Enabling and celebrating local music making is very important to the festival. John and Hazel have harnessed the rich and wild ideas of all these performers, and we are very excited to hear the result. Join us.’’

The world premiere of Across the Whinny Moor takes place on Saturday, June 8,at 4pm in St Peter’s Church, Norton.

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