On the occasion of his retirement as a regular member of The York Waits following the annual Yule Riding procession through the streets of the city on December 21st 2011, a celebration was held at York Brewery. In recognition of his membership of the York Waits since the 1970s, Roger was presented with a certificate of honorary life membership of the International Guild of Town Pipers in the presence of his fellow waits from York, representatives of the waits of Colchester, Doncaster, Kings Lynn and Leeds, and other friends.
Photo: John Murdie
Below is an acknowledgement letter from Roger, including an account of how it all started.
It was a great surprise and honour to be awarded an honorary life membership of the Guild following the Sherriff’s Riding in York on December 21st 2011.
Thirty some years ago a meeting between my late brother Ian, Tony Barton, Peter Bull and myself to form, essentially, a social group to play the more exotic renaissance wind instruments resulted in the formation of The York Waits when joined later by James Merryweather and Tim Bayley.
Historian friends gave us the impetus to recreate the town band of York and to gain a modicum of civic recognition. For several years we met together every Wednesday and Sunday to play and perfect new instruments and to discover new repertoire. It was quite natural for us to want to be attired in appropriate clothing with the livery of a waits band, simultaneously striving for musical perfection (not easy with that first generation of reconstructed instruments!). 1977 has been taken as the year in which the Waits (there was only the ‘Yorkies’ then) gave their first professional performance – the rest as they say is history.
Apparently along the way we have inspired one or two members of audiences to take up the challenge of mastering the instruments and to form waits bands in other areas of the UK and abroad and even to form an International Guild, you mad fools. I feel that now is the time to retire from active waiting as I would like other social activities to take priority – it will be quite nice to be an audience in someone else’s concert! I hope to take part in the Colchester festival and the Riding of 2012 so shall still see many of you for some time to come.
Thank you once again for your recognition.
Roger Richardson (Rogerus Wait)