Sir Christmas and his message of joy

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Long before Santa Claus and Father Christmas there was the mythical figure of Sir Christmas, who brought tidings of comfort and joy to medieval England.

He figures in carols composed more than five centuries ago - and makes his return during a concert at Square Chapel arts centre, Halifax, on Saturday, December 17 at noon. The concert, ‘Goday, My Lord Sire Christmas’, takes its title from one of the ancient carols in the programme, performed by the early music band York Waits.

The Waits, joined as usual by singer Deborah Catterall, were formed in the 1970s to recreate the ancient band of their home city, York, and have been giving concerts and making recordings since. The five-strong Waits perform on shawms, sackbut, old English bagpipes, the hurdy gurdy and a selection of early stringed instruments. They first performed at Square Chapel in 1991, when the centre had only recently opened, and have been back every year since.

Halifax-born band member William Marshall said: “Obviously it’s a very special venue for us and it’s always good to meet up with regulars in the audience plus first-timers.”

The concert will feature carols from the 1400s, English music for Christmas from later centuries and a song with words by Shakespeare. Tel: 01422 349422 or visit squarechapel.co.uk