Although Chris comes from a musical family, his rebellious
nature led to him rejecting piano lessons at the age of six, accusing the teachers
piano of being out of tune when he played a wrong note. In the sixties he taught himself
the guitar and became a semi-professional folk singer in East Sussex, at one time running
his own folk club, but after marrying and moving to Norfolk, became interested in other
things. In 1992, he was stricken by ME, which left him unable to play by ear. As therapy,
he learnt the viola, and later took trombone lessons with Richard Hall at West Norfolk
Music Centre. He has been a member of the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra, is a member of Centre Stage Swing Band and has recently taken over as Musical Director of Hunstanton Concert Band. Chris love of the eccentric and idiosyncratic meant that when he came across the serpent, he had to have one, and his interest in early music and folk music in turn led to him reviving the Kings Lynn Waites.
More recently, he has also formed an English Folk Band, The Fall Of Eve, specialising in the dance tunes, marches and church music played by Norfolk village bands in the 18th and 19th centuries, which he has been researching for the West Gallery Music Association and which he performs together with his West Gallery Choir, The Norfolk Gallery Quire.
The traditional title of Chief Waite does not in any way imply the remotest musical superiority, but was used for whichever member of the original Lynn Waites was responsible for financial dealings with the Town Council, and therefore reflects Chris position as the bands manager.
Chris designs and manages websites for arts organisations and, with his friend Dr James Merryweather, he founded The International Guild of Town Pipers, of which he is a life member, director and trustee, and created The Waits Website to accumulate and disseminate knowledge of the history of Waits and to promote the growing number of revival bands of Waits and their European equivalents.
Chris and his daughter Elizabeth also perform as a Renaissance or Georgian duo. See www.wyldesnoyse.co.uk for details.
Before studying music at Durham University, Elizabeth took an active part in the music scene in West Norfolk. She was leader of West Norfolk Jubilee Youth Orchestra for three years, and played clarinet in Springwood High School Concert Band. She has also been a member of the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra, and has played in various other ensembles.
She is particularly interested in composition, and was commissioned by Norfolk County Council to write a suite of music for the King's Lynn Waites, for use in their civic duties. She has also arranged several Renaissance popular tunes for the Waites, and has been commissioned to compose pieces for private individuals, arrange piano scores, and compose incidental music for a professional drama company.
Since graduating, she has worked for Norfolk Music Works, been to Madagascar to count fish, performed as a member of the Waites, playing rebec and percussion, and also soprano and alto shawms as back-up for Deb and Claire, and joined the popular local Folk Rock band, Map of Tasmania, on penny whistle. She spent most of 2003 sailing as crew on the brigantine Swan fan Makkum, then lived in the Netherlands, where she continued to pursue both her musical and her seafaring careers, and forged links with our friends, the Stadspijpers van s-Hertogenbosch.
She has now returned to this country to take up a music-teaching post in Essex, but is maintaining her links with both the Netherlands and West Norfolk. Elizabeth and her father Chris also perform as a Renaissance or Georgian duo. See www.wyldesnoyse.co.uk for details. She has recently formed the Colchester Waits Shawm Band and is a member of The Norfolk Gallery Quire and Fall of Eve band, playing early clarinet and fiddle.
Richard is an accomplished folk and early musician performing with various bands including "Rigajigjig", a band specialising in the folk music of Norfolk in the 19th and early 20th centuries. He is one of a very few remaining exponents of the Norfolk Dulcimer. Richard is also a woodwind instrument maker, having recently taken over the making of Baroque bassoons from famous shawm maker, John Hanchet. Richard also plays with The Norfolk Gallery Quire on early flute. His musical interests and knowledge are encyclopedic!
Originally from Hertfordshire, Deb gained Distinction at Grade 8 Oboe at fifteen. She went on to learn other instruments, intending to go to Music College, but was advised to do a University Music degree course, which she abandoned for fear of becoming a disillusioned Secondary School teacher! Her oldest child teaching herself the recorder in three weeks at the age of six reawakened her interest in music, and she now teaches woodwind privately, at local schools, and at West Norfolk Music Centre, as well as doing various voluntary work concerning music. She plays oboe for the Kings Lynn Chorus and the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra, and enjoys making music for fun wherever and whenever she can.
Traditionally, Waites didn't have drummers. However, most towns had a town drummer, whose duties included giving the alarm in times of crisis, and drawing attention to the public proclamation of official announcements. There are many references to the Town Drummer accompanying the Waites in procession, and we are now fortunate to have our own Town Drummer in the person of Jayne Thomas. Jayne plays alto sax with Centre Stage Swing Band and the Hunstanton Concert Band, and percussion is a new departure for her, but she's already bringing an exciting vitality to the sound of King's Lynn Waites.