THE Ridgeway Singers and Band led by Tim Laycock and Phil Humphries have once again tuned their fiddles and voices to present a celebration of Christmas past and present with two special concerts this winter.

Secured by the Dorset rural touring arts organisation Artsreach, the two concerts are set for Piddletrenthide and Winfrith.

The seasonal programme will include works from Puddletown and Bridport manuscripts, together with newly composed carols in the West Gallery tradition. Interspersed with some sparkling instrumental pieces and midwinter stories, plus a few Ridgeway favourites.

An Artsreach spokesman explained: "Traditionally sung by village choirs in English country churches from the 18th century onwards, West Gallery music’s demise was brought about by the innovations of the organ and harmonium.

"The accompanying musicians who played the fiddle, the cello and the serpent might have been no more than a footnote in history, if it hadn’t been for this style of popular music being recorded by writers such as Thomas Hardy, the traditional music he knew as a boy, and the wonderful stories and poems in which he evoked the singers and musicians who performed it."

The Winfrith concert, set for the village's St Christopher's Church, will take place at 4pm on December 15.

Call 01305 853783 for tickets.

Alternatively, visit artsreach.co.uk for information.