The English Folk Dance and Song Society announces its autumn education programme

Education

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) has unveiled its programme of activities for the autumn season (September to December) at Cecil Sharp House in London.

Activities on offer include classes, courses and workshops based on traditional English folk arts for children, young people, adults and families.

Highlights of the season are:

·      The chance to try a sampler session for the London Youth Folk Ensemble on September 17

·      An Introduction to Folk Song in England workshop on November 19

·      October half term folk music making and dance courses for children and young people

·      A youth ceilidh for 12 to 19-year-olds on November 12

·      A chance to dance the night away and see in the New Year with a ceilidh on December 31

·      Regular music and dance classes, catering for all ages and skill levels

Cecil Sharp House, England’s national folk arts centre and home of EFDSS, is located between Camden and Primrose Hill within easy reach of public transport. It has step free access to all levels.

A full list of classes and courses at Cecil Sharp House can be found at: http://www.cecilsharphouse.org/csh-whats-on

Children & Young People

For more information about all the summer holiday courses and booking: https://www.cecilsharphouse.org/csh-learning/holiday-courses-cecil-sharp-house

Fun With Folk

A lively day of folk dance, music and song for 6 – 8 year olds
Monday 23 Oct, 10.30am – 4pm
Course fee: £30 | £20 concessions (advance booking required)

Enjoy a lively day exploring folk dance, music and song.  The course ends with a chance to perform your new skills to family and friends.  No previous experience of folk dance or music required.

Get Your Folk On! Juniors

An exciting introduction to all things folk for 9 – 12 year olds
24 October, 10.30am – 4.30pm
Course fee: £30 | £20 concessions (advance booking required)

Musicians of all instruments and levels are welcome to come and enjoy playing, singing, dancing and creating fantastic folk music. The course ends with a chance to perform your new skills to family and friends. No previous experience of folk music or dance needed.

Get Your Folk On!

A creative folk course for 12 – 19 year olds
25 – 27 October, 10.30am – 4.30pm
Course fee: £90 | £60 concessions (advance booking required)

Explore traditional folk music and dance from the British Isles with inspiring professional folk musicians.  Choose your sessions, with options to try new skills and instruments, learn and arrange tunes, songs or dances and much more. The course ends with an informal concert for family and friends. No previous experience of folk dance or music required.

Get Your Folk On! Plus

A creative folk workshop for disabled 12 – 24 year olds, their siblings and friends
26 October 2pm – 4pm
Course fee: £12 | £8 concessions (advance booking required)

Explore and create folk music and song together in an inclusive, sensory environment. All abilities and levels of experience welcome. No prior experience of playing music required.

London Youth Folk Ensemble Sampler Session

Sunday September 17, 2 – 5pm
Free but pre-booking necessary, as places are limited

If you are interested in joining the London Youth Folk Ensemble come to the sampler session, the first of the year. Meet the tutors, learn some tunes, and find out more about the coming year’s plans and events.

London Youth Folk Ensemble 2017 – 18

Various Sundays 2 – 5pm (17 weeks including Sampler Session)
For 12 – 19 year olds
For more details visit: cecilsharphouse.org/lyfe

Welcoming young musicians who want to create and perform amazing folk music together! The Ensemble meets regularly from September to July, led by professional folk musicians, and performs at exciting events across London and beyond. Open for improver to advanced level musicians of any instrument. London Youth Folk Ensemble is an annual commitment, for which there is a fee.

Youth Forum

For 14-21 year olds (disabled young people up to 24 years old)
Various Wednesdays 5 – 7pm

Are you passionate about the folk arts? Join us and get your voice heard at EFDSS and Cecil Sharp House!  Gain experience in producing and marketing youth events, meet folk artists, attend gigs and tell us what you think.  The Youth Forum meets monthly at Cecil Sharp House.

Membership of the Youth Forum is free but places are limited. Apply to join at: efdss.org/youthforum

Youth Ceilidh

Sunday 12 Nov, 6–8pm
For 12–19 year olds
Tickets: £6

Dance your socks off to some energetic English ceilidh music with musicians Nick Hart and Dave Delarre and caller Gwennie Chatfield. Come with your friends or on your own. Suitable for all levels of experience as a caller will show you the moves and the dances will be walked through. Refreshments available.

Family

Family Barn Dance

Sundays 8 Oct | 12 Nov | 10 Dec, 3-5pm
Tickets: £7 adult | £5 children | £2 for under 2s

Bring the entire family and take part in lively dances from the British Isles in a supportive and fun environment! Live music inspires the dancing and expert callers guide the moves with simple instructions.

Groups should include a minimum of one adult for every four children. Children under 5 should be partnered by an adult and may need guiding or carrying through the dances. No unaccompanied children or adults!

Advance booking recommended.

Dance

New Year’s Eve Ceilidh

Sunday 31 December, 8pm – 1am
£30 | £20 under 26s (tickets available in advance only)

Dance away the old year and welcome in 2018 to the irresistible sounds and lively dances of an English ceilidh! With driving music from the Will Pound Band, caller Sheena Masson will show you the moves as the dances are walked through and called. Come with your friends or on your own—suitable for all levels of experience. Recommended for everyone over 10 years (not suitable for young children). Bar open and refreshments available.

Classes, Courses & Workshops

Monday Folk Choir Workshops

Mondays 18 Sept | 2, 16 Oct | 6, 20 Nov | 4 Dec, 7 – 9pm
Term fee: £60 | £48 concessions
(advance booking required)

Explore choral folk song arrangements in a relaxed and friendly environment. These 6 sessions are suitable for singers of all abilities, without the pressure and commitment of public performance. All material is taught by ear.

Morris Dancing

Tuesdays 19 Sept – 12 Dec
Beginners: 6.30 – 8pm
Improvers and advanced: 7 – 9pm
Term fee: £91 | £71.50 concessions (advance booking required)
Carnet of 8 tickets: £60 | £48 concessions (advance booking required)
Drop-in: £8 | £6.50 concessions (payable on the night)

This mixed level class is based on the popular and lively Cotswold morris tradition, in which dancers perform with handkerchiefs and sticks. Led by tutor Andy Richards.

Please note: these classes are designed to overlap. This allows beginners to be taught on their own first, and then learn from more experienced dancers in a mixed session from 7 – 8pm

Cecil Sharp House Choir

Wednesdays 20 Sept – 13 Dec (no session 25 Oct), 7- 9pm
Term fee: £82 | £66 concessions (advance booking required)
Sing traditional songs from the British Isles and beyond, in a cappella harmony arrangements, by choir leader Sally Davies. For confident singers, who can hold a tune and are keen to perform.

English Country Dancing

Thursdays 14 Sept – 14 Dec, 7.30-10pm
Term fee: £98 | £77 concessions (advance booking required)
Carnet of 8 tickets: £60 | £48 concessions (advance booking required)
Drop-in: £8 | £6.50 concessions (payable on the night)

Learn the steps for English social folk dancing with tutor and caller Mike Ruff – country, ceilidh and barn dancing – and related styles from further afield such as American Contra. Musicians welcome to join the live band led by Ian Cutts. No need to bring a partner and open to dancers of all levels of experience including absolute beginners!

Saturday Folk Music Workshops

9, 23, 30 Sept | 14, 21 Oct | 4, 18 Nov | 2, 16 Dec, (the course continues Jan – April 2018); times vary depending on workshop
Term fee per workshop: £131 | £90 concessions (9 week term, advance booking required)

Discover your inner folk! Fun, welcoming and expertly taught workshops at different levels in accordion, banjo, fiddle, guitar, melodeon, penny whistle and mixed instrument classes, led by our team of expert folk artist tutors including Hazel Askew, David Delarre, Beth Gifford, Ed Hicks, Paul Hutchinson, Jacquelyn Hines and Laurel Swift.

An Introduction to Folk Song in England

Sun 19 Nov, 10.30am – 4.30pm
£45 / £36 concessions

Internationally published folklorist Steve Roud presents with Laura Smyth, EFDSS’ Library and Archive Director, this popular introductory level day exploring the history of English folk song. Topics will include: the many possible definitions of ‘folk’, the songs themselves, the singers, the places and times for singing, the music, cheap printed broadsides and other sources from which people learned songs, the folksong collectors, the scholars and the beginnings of the post-War revival. The course is aimed at beginners and will not presume any previous experience or knowledge.

Conferences

Traditional Tunes and Popular Airs: History and Transmission

Friday 6 – Saturday 7 October, 9am–5pm, £45 full weekend | £30 one day

Researchers have long been fascinated by the recurrence of tunes in all manner of musical styles and genres, performance contexts, levels of society, historical periods, and geographical locations. But how are we to understand this phenomenon?

The 21st century has seen a renewal of interest in the history and comparative study of melody, and the study of musical perception and memory. This conference brings together those working on ‘traditional’ and ‘popular’ tunes across multiple contexts. Topics include: tunebooks ; composers, arrangers and collectors ; song tunes in performance ; melodic traditions ; dance tunes, and much more.

Art

Kissing the Shuttle by Caitlin Hinshelwood

27 September 2017 – 28 January 2018

An exhibition of new large-scale textile banners created in response to research from the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, the Working Class Movement Library and the People’s History Museum.

The work explores the qualities of protest and resistance present in working and industrial song and union and protest banners, as well as drawing on the folk practices, sense of community and forms of communication that come from work and the work place.

Imagery touches upon the use of gestures, signs, symbolism, speech ways, and customs performed primarily in the textile trades and industries of the North West and Northern Ireland, alongside folk traditions that came directly from the mills or were closely connected to those communities.

The banners are screen-printed on silk using embellishments of rosettes, ribbons, ruffles and fringing, adopting the visual language and craftsmanship of historic banners and associated folk costumes.

Caitlin Hinshelwood is a London based artist and textile designer interested in the narrative possibilities of textiles; how textiles can be used to communicate and how they act as repositories of personal or social history.

Entry: Free during opening times of the building

Booking information:

Advance booking is generally required for courses and workshops. Please visit www.cecilsharphouse.org to pay and enrol. (There are no transaction fees for classes and courses).

To pay for drop-in classes, pay the tutor cash on the night.

Tickets for events can be purchased from the reception desk at Cecil Sharp House (in person only), Monday – Friday, 9.30 – 5.30pm, with no transaction fee.

Adult Learning

Unless stated otherwise, classes are open to everyone over the age of 16 years. Advance booking is required for some courses and drop-in is possible for others – please check the details against each relevant course.

Youth

All youth courses must be booked in advance. Concessions are available to young people in receipt of free school meals.

Refund policy

All EFDSS courses are non-refundable unless the course is cancelled by EFDSS.

Concessionary Policy

You may apply for the concessionary fee for any EFDSS classes and courses if you are:

In full-time education
In receipt of Job Seekers Allowance
In receipt of Income-Based Benefit (including Income Support, Housing or Council Tax Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Pension Credit)

EFDSS launches Musicians In Museums scheme

MuseumsApplications are open for first artist residency

A new project to explore and celebrate the collections at three national museums and bring them to life through traditional music has been unveiled by the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS).

EFDSS, the national development agency for the folk arts, has opened applications for the first in the series of its Connections project that will place musicians in the National Coal Mining Museum for England near Wakefield in West Yorkshire, the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London, and the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading, Berkshire, for 12-month residencies.

Artists will receive a £5,000 bursary to develop new music inspired by the museum’s collections and deliver outreach activities to engage people with the museums and folk music. The scheme will run for two years and is being funded by Help Musicians UK.

The first residency with the National Coal Mining Museum will start in autumn 2017 and applications are open at www.efdss.org/efdss-artists-development/musicians-in-museums.

Residencies with the National Maritime Museum and the Museum of English Rural Life will be advertised in September for a January 2018 start.

Katy Spicer, EFDSS Chief Executive and Artistic Director, said: “This is an exciting creative and learning opportunity for six musicians over the next two years. We are inviting applications from musicians who are currently working in the traditional folk sector and have a strong knowledge of traditional English songs and tunes.

“They will explore the creative links between the tangible culture and history of their museum’s collections and artefacts and the intangible culture and history of folk songs and tunes.

“We are looking for imaginative musicians with excellent creative and teaching skills who can demonstrate a passion for the project and innovative ways to engage new audiences.”

More information and how to apply:

One artist will be appointed per museum per year and offered a bursary of £5,000 to provide funding for:

·       research and creative time over a year including an agreed number of contact days with the host museum

·       devising and delivering 10 days of learning programme

·       devising and writing learning resources to accompany the learning programme to be used be used by EFDSS and the host museum

·       creating 15 to 20 minutes of new music (song and/or instrumental)

·       one public performance at the end of the residency at the host museum.  A further performance at EFDSS’ performance and music venue, Cecil Sharp House in London, may also be arranged.

There is also a travel and accommodation allowance of £500. The museum may arrange with the artist, and pay for directly, additional teaching days within reason.

Applications are now open for the residency with the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield. The closing date is July 31. Interviews will be held at the museum on September 12 and 13.

For more information on the Connections – Musicians in Museums programme and to apply go to: www.efdss.org/efdss-artists-development/musicians-in-museums.

 

National folk arts library to undergo a major refurbishment

Vaughan Williams Memorial Library

England’s national library of folk music and dance is to undergo a major refurbishment this summer to ensure it is fit for future generations to explore and discover the folk arts. The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML), the library of the English Folk Dance and Song Society based at Cecil Sharp House in London, will be closed from July 19 to September 5 while work is carried out.

The VWML is the country’s biggest dedicated library and archive of folk music, dance, and other traditions, and received Designated status from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) in 2011.

It opened as part of Cecil Sharp House in Regent’s Park Road in 1930 to make Cecil Sharp’s personal book collection accessible to the public.

The library was one of the few rooms in the Grade II listed property that escaped serious damage from a WWII bomb, and so it still features the original bookcases made by Heal’s on Tottenham Court Road and its Art Deco ceiling.

The seven-week programme will include the renovation of the historic bookcases by accredited conservators Bainbridge Conservation, painting the ceiling, new flooring, curtains, and readers’ lamps.

A new display case to exhibit items from the archive will also be installed, along with facilities for browsing the VWML’s extensive catalogue and online resources. The National Folk Music Fund, set up by Ursula and Ralph Vaughan Williams to support the VWML, is funding the £50,000 cost of the refurbishment.

Laura Smyth, Director of the VWML, said: “The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library is the nation’s most prized resource for folk traditions and has been very well used by musicians, researchers, writers, historians, and other visitors over the years.

“The reading room has not undergone any major refurbishment since 1940, and the historic furniture has become chipped, tired, and cracked over the decades. This carefully planned refurbishment will ensure that the library can continue to serve our users and be a place of discovery for the folk arts for many years to come.”

Library staff will continue to operate an email, telephone, and letter enquiry service during the closure period. For more information, go to www.vwml.org.

Recipients of the Malcolm Taylor grant for Folk Collections announced

Malcolm Taylor

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) has announced two recipients of the inaugural Malcolm Taylor Grant for Folk Collections.

The awards have been made to celebrate the work of Malcolm Taylor, who was Librarian and later Director of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) from 1979 to 2014.

The fund was established to support the development of small folk arts collections and archives, and to promote good practice in the creation and development of collections.

The 2016 awards have been made to filmmaker Stewart Morgan and collector John Earl.

Stewart is creating a production archive for the documentary film he created around George Butterworth. The archive consists of more than 12 hours of audio and video footage, featuring experts speaking about Butterworth’s life, work and the early 20th century folk song and dance revival and he will use his grant to purchase hardware to store and maintain the footage.

John has been awarded a grant to buy low acid boxes to store and preserve a collection of late 18th to early 19th century sheet music, comprised primarily of popular and music hall songs. Sharp and his contemporaries tended to pass these forms of music by when they were collecting, so this collection will allow a deeper exploration into the music enjoyed by communities of that period.

Laura Smyth, EFDSS Library and Archive Director, said: “Establishing a fund to support the development of small folk arts collections and archives seemed an appropriate way to mark Malcolm’s 35 years as director of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library as he was passionate about helping such collectors and collections.

“The purpose of these grants is to promote good practice in creation and development of collections. Both of these awards are supporting projects that will preserve folk history for future generations to enjoy and learn from and Malcolm was involved in the decision making process of who should be selected for the inaugural grants.”

EFDSS will offer up to three grants annually of up to £300 for the development, creation and preservation of folk related materials held by individuals or small organisations. Grants can be used for anything from the purchase of archival quality packaging and remedial conservation work to courses and advice on organising, cataloguing, indexing, and preservation to best practice standards.

The 2017 round of grant awards will open for applications in March next year. Visit www.vwml.org/vwml-about-us/vwml-grants for more information.

Young Musicians sought for National Youth Folk Ensemble

Young Musicians

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) has launched a nationwide search for talented young musicians to become the first members of the new National Youth Folk Ensemble.

A series of Sampler Days will be held throughout England during May and June to audition musicians aged 14 to 18 for up to 25 places in the Ensemble, which is supported by Arts Council England.

Led by the Ensemble’s Artistic Director, BBC Radio 2’s Folk Musician of the Year 2015 Sam Sweeney, each Sampler Day will include creative workshops with a team of professional folk artists, individual auditions, and a question and answer session with Ensemble staff.

Selected musicians will be invited to a final audition in London in July. To register for a Sampler Day, musicians have to be aged between 14 and 18 on 1 September 2016, live in England, be able to play confidently on any instrument and have an interest in folk music.

Places on the Sampler Days are free but limited and booking is essential at  www.efdss.org/nationalyouthfolkensemble.

Katy Spicer, EFDSS Chief Executive and Artistic Director, said: “We are looking for excellent instrumentalists who are dedicated to developing as folk musicians and excited about collaborating with others who share their passion.

“This is a unique opportunity for young musicians and the first time a group of this kind has been established on a national basis. It offers a chance to develop in a nurturing environment with experienced and skilled musicians.

“We are hoping the Ensemble will discover, encourage and inspire the folk performers, educators and leaders of the future, and we would encourage as many young musicians as possible to sign up to the Sampler Days.”

National Youth Folk Ensemble Sampler Days 2016

Sunday 8 May – Birmingham Conservatoire, BIRMINGHAM

Saturday 28 May – Sage Gateshead, GATESHEAD

Sunday 29 May – Leeds College of Music, LEEDS

Monday 30 May – Royal Northern College of Music,  MANCHESTER

Tuesday 31 May – Derby LIVE, Guildhall Theatre, DERBY

Thursday 2 June – Exeter Phoenix, EXETER

Friday 3 June – Cecil Sharp House, LONDON

Saturday 11 June – West Road Concert Hall, CAMBRIDGE

Sunday 12 June – Cornerstone, DIDCOT

The National Youth Folk Ensemble will formally launch in October. Members will take part in four weeks of intensive residential courses around the country, receiving high quality tuition and guidance from leading professional folk artists. They will also develop skills in performance, arrangement, leadership and facilitation and give public performances.

Keep up to date with news about the ensemble at  www.efdss.org/nationalyouthfolkensemble and tweet @theEFDSS #youthfolk

English Folk Dance And Song Society serves up ‘The Full English Extra’

English Folk Dance And Song Society serves up ‘The Full English Extra’New project will digitise three more archive collections and deliver a learning programme in partnership with three national museums 

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) is to add to several important collections to its online archive and partner three national museums in a new initiative to preserve and promote the folk arts.

The Full English Extra will see the collections of Mary Neal, suffragette, radical arts practitioner and founder of the Esperance Girls Club, and folk dance educator Daisy Caroline Daking added to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library online archive, alongside its collection of 19th century broadside ballads and songsters.

EFDSS will work with three national museums – the Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading, the National Coal Mining Museum for England near Wakefield in Yorkshire and the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London – combining folk arts and museum education to provide powerful new learning experiences for schools.

The Full English Extra, builds on the success of EFDSS’ flagship project The Full English, which created the world’s largest digital archive of folk songs, dances, tunes and customs, and a nationwide learning programme that reached more than 15,500 people.

Katy Spicer, Chief Executive of EFDSS, said:

“The Full English Extra will allow us to expose these important dance and broadside collections to a wider audience. The launch of The Full English archive was a landmark in digital archives and we know from its continuing popularity that people are keen to learn more about folk culture.

“We are very pleased to be working with the museums to develop individual programmes that will allow us to inspire a new generation about traditional folk music and dance.”

The Full English Extra, which is supported by National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund, will run from September 2015 to March 2016.

About The Full English Extra 

The Full English Extra project will extend the society’s Vaughan Williams Memorial Library digital archive by adding a further three collections. These include the scrapbooks and personal papers of two highly inspiring women, Mary Neal and Daisy Caroline Daking, who were instrumental in the proliferation, preservation and promotion of traditional English Morris and sword dances in the early 20th century.

Mary Neal, a social reformer and champion of working class women and a folk revivalist, founded the Esperance Girls Club to provide assistance to girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, and went on to form the Esperance Morris Club, which taught its members traditional dances and songs. Many of its members became teachers of dance themselves, and the club aided Cecil Sharp in the writing of his first morris book.

Daisy Caroline Daking was also a dance teacher. During the First World War she travelled to France and helped to rehabilitate injured soldiers by sharing her enthusiasm for traditional sword and morris dance with them.

As well as these two important dance-related collections, the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) collection of 19th century broadside ballads and songsters will be digitised for online access.

The learning programme will be delivered in partnership with:

Museum of English Rural Life at Reading University – this programme will work with one or more local secondary schools and focus on rural and agricultural themes drawing from the museum’s collection and redevelopment of its galleries.

National Coal Mining Museum for England, Yorkshire  – this project will involve music projects with local schools in Wakefield during the autumn and spring terms, working in collaboration with Wakefield Music Education Hub.

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London – EFDSS will work with the museum’s formal learning team focussing on themes in the Nelson, Navy, Nation gallery and developing these through work with a local primary school during the autumn term.

The learning programme will create new material for EFDSS’ Resource Bank (www.efdss.org/resourcebank) that provides freely accessible folk arts learning materials. It will provide three folk arts education traineeships across the project – one attached to the work with each museum – and CPD events for teachers and educators from the museum and cultural sectors.