December 2015 Speaker
AN ELIZABETHAN CHRISTMAS’ BY SARAH DOIG
The chairman welcomed back Sarah Doig, of Ancestral Voices who previously visited in October 2013. Sadly, Tony and Jane were unable to come because of family commitments, so Sarah explained that the music the trio would have performed live would now be changed to using a CD the trio had recorded previously but Sarah would be playing some of the Elizabethan instruments including a violin, flute and recorder she had brought to show the authenticity of the instruments..
Sarah went on to show pictures of sumptuous banquets for the wealthy in Elizabethan times and how an original pagan festival at the darkest time of year had been turned on its head and decorations – tree, holly and fir tree branches were used inside houses. The Church then had the idea of celebrating Christ’s birth and combined it with the winter celebrations which lasted for twelve days each year; with presents being exchanged on New Year’s Day.
As well as playing some tunes such as “Drive the cold winter away” and “Green sleeves”, Sarah also mentioned that lute strings would cost an average man’s annual salary in Elizabethan times and that for royalty there was a master of Revels who organised all the entertainment.
At the end of her talk and playing Sarah was invited by the chairman to judge the competition for members who had produced the best hat or posy or nosegay as would have been used in Elizabethan times. There were a good number of entrants, some looking very elegant, some quite fearsome. Sarah judged Denis Ketley to be the winner, the prize being free membership of Baddow & Galleywood U3A for 2016. The chairman concluded the meeting by thanking Sarah for an interesting afternoon and her help in judging the competition. The members gave her a good round of applause for her musical Elizabethan insight into Christmas.