Feature: Wayside Music (Waytes, Steamboat Band), Isles Of Scilly

The Waytes (Isles of Scilly, Early Music Group)

After performing in the 70s and early 80s with other musicians as “Dorset Brass Quire” and “The Winterborne Waytes”, Roger and Margaret smith moved to Scilly in 1985. As “The Waytes” they performed concerts on Scilly throughout the mid-80s and 90s with different members, showcasing Elizabethan instruments and giving visitors a taste of local history using both slides and stories.

Concerts were advertised on boards by Porthcressa, outside the steamship company, performed during the holiday season and took place in both the Methodist church hall and the hall near the museum on St Mary’s.
For a few weeks each year the concerts would be taken “mainland” and went across the UK from Penzance to the lake district, and from Scotland to as far afield as Texel, Holland.

Wayside Music

Alongside ‘The Waytes’, Roger and Margaret also formed “Wayside Music” in the late 80s. Wayside music was primarily a flute and trumpet duo, but also served as the new name given when performing concerts after “The Waytes” disbanded in the mid-90s. Each season brought a new concert, new music, new selection of local history and with it, a new cassette album to be sold.

Wayside Music were often to be seen playing Christian praise in the park (Hugh Town, St Mary’s) on Sunday and also “on the corner” opposite Mumfords on Thursdays, where many of their groups had played in the past. Wayside provided music for many of charity events locally and even made a TV appearance on “Challenge Anneka”

The Steamboat Band

The “lakeside” Steamboat Band was formed in 1979 and continued right through until the mid-90s to give floating concerts on board the boats at the Windermere Steamboat Museum. Of course, after 1985 all the members lived on Scilly, so this happened once every two or so years for a brief period.

The majority of the appearances by the band took place on Scilly, most notably outside of the Turks Head on St Agnes, atop the old quay but also “on the corner” back on St Mary’s each Thursday. Interestingly, owing to pleasant weather and a (fairly) calm sea, an outdoor concert was even given on The Scillonian III. The Steamboat Band also performed the intro music “The Steamboat Tune” arranged by Roger Smith, for local history programme “The Cornish History Series” on Radio Cornwall.

As well as being the island’s music teacher from 1985 through to 1999, Roger had previous visited the Islands from 1976 onwards conducting peripatetic music courses at Easter time. A few of these trips were made with The Dorset Brass Quire, where floating concerts were given on The Golden Spray.
As music teacher for the islands, Roger also provided the piano accordion accompaniment to the Island’s Maypole celebrations.

Roger and Margaret continued performing both historical concerts and playing music all over the Islands until Roger passed away in 2002. Roger was buried in Old Town church yard and Margaret now lives in Devon.
Wayside Music, Mayday Medley

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An incomplete discography can be found here