Review: Romany Wood
Venue: York Minster, May 2
Hundreds of York schoolchildren nearly lifted the roof off York Minster with their musical journey through a magical forest.
Children from Yearsley Grove, St Barnabas, Clifton Green, Dringhouses, Dunnington, Naburn, St Oswalds and Wigginton Primary Schools joined together to form a huge choir for the performance of Romany Wood.
Booming from the pulpit, the Bard of Barnsley Ian McMillan narrated the story of the animals who live there during the changing seasons, a tale told through seven songs.
The choir sang beautifully, if occasionally overwhelmed in the singular Minster acoustics by the stirring York Guildhall Orchestra, conducted by Simon Wright. A lively rendition of Washday Blues was chosen for a foot tapping encore.
The audience, perhaps influenced by their sacred surroundings, sat in appreciative silence for the most part, no one daring to break into applause after each number although the desire to do so was palpable.
Happily this changed after a pure and nerveless solo by Rosina Griffiths, which finished in a richly-deserved ovation.
Romany Wood is a charity show created by David Carr and David Gaukroger, and the evening served as the launch of a four-year project where annual performances will raise money for UNICEF UK. At the end of the evening the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, gave thanks for the wonderful work undertaken by UNICEF for children around the world.
Congratulations to all the schools who took part for uniting in such good voice, and to their musical directors: Vikki Pendry at St Barnabas, who coordinated the event; Mary Halliday at Clifton Green; Jenny Langley at Dringhouses; Caroline Gilderdale at Dunnington; Janet Cordingley at Naburn; Andy Maycock at St Oswalds; Gina Brockbank at Yearsley Grove; and Jessa Liversedge at Wigginton.