A CELLIST has embarked on a project to play her cello in each of the 440 medieval village churches in Suffolk, in memory of her parents and other friends.
Yalda Davis, who lives in a farmhouse in Suffolk left to her by her parents, said that the project was inspired by playing her cello at a funeral.
“After playing the cello at a friend’s funeral earlier this year in St Mary’s, Bury St Edmunds, the idea evolved into a more personal journey, and I began to think that a more memorable and meaningful way to visit these churches might be to play my cello in them.
“My father and Jeremy, whose funeral I played at, were both great admirers of Suffolk’s churches, and, when I was a child, my father took me on many a bike ride punctuated by stops at village churches. As well as an adventure, I felt my musical journey would be a way of honouring their memory.”
Ms Davis’s father was the conductor Sir Colin Davis, who was principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, and music director of the Royal Opera House.
Ms Davis has so far played in more than 100 Suffolk churches. On some occasions, she has been invited to play a concert, but in many she simply turns up with her cello and starts playing.
“Sometimes, I’m on my own inside, and it’s an amazing thing to be inside a beautiful church on your own with the music. Sometimes there will be someone cleaning the silver, or doing the flowers, and they are happy for me to play as they work.
“Every church has a different atmosphere. I feel by playing in them, I’m developing a relationship with each church.”
Some of her favourites so far include the thatched church of St Mary’s, Thornham Parva, where she played on her own, and Holy Trinity, Blythburgh, which is known as the “cathedral of the marshes”. She is hoping to complete the project in three years.
She is also now raising money for the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, and the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.