The Kennedy Grant Library at Halsway Manor by Cynthia and Bonnie Sartin

This week we are delighted to have guest bloggers Cynthia and Bonnie Sartin talking about the work that goes on behind the scenes in our Kennedy Grant Library At Halsway Manor which houses a huge collection of mixed media folk treasures – over to the Sartins…

HalswayManorLibrary (9 of 13)After 15 years of slogging away the 4,000 books and 2,000 records, CDs and tapes in the collection are catalogued, listed and key worded on the computer and accessible. We still have a couple of hundred LPs, about 100 CDs and the archives to sort but we’ll get there. Having said that we are continually receiving donations of CDs and other material from generous performers and visitors to the Manor so the work will carry on even when the final recordings from the Peter Kennedy collection have been added. We are happy to accept any folk related books etc. on the understanding that if we have copies already we will sell any extra ones to raise money for the library. Back copies of EFDSS Journals and Magazines regularly crop up in boxes left for us so we have a good supply of these for sale. By re-cycling these items the library is self-financing. Recently these funds have enabled us to purchase a new computer, a wonderful oak table to put it on and a top quality CD player.  

A lot of interest has been shown recently by people wanting to do research, which is very gratifying. At the ‘Give Voice’ weekend in October we were able to show the residents around the library stock and how to use the computer to find songs etc. This worked well and we were able to help in finding new material for people to sing.

HalswayManorLibrary (3 of 13)The library has provided material for several publications. The William Winter Tune Book and Songs & Stories of Ruth Tongue. Both were local characters; William a fine fiddle player from the 19th century and Ruth a self-styled folklorist and song writer who used to come to Halsway soon after it opened in the mid 1960s. We have also assisted authors writing books about John Short (Yankee Jack the shanty man from Watchet), Charles Marson (who helped Cecil Sharp with his song collecting in Somerset) and the tradition of the Ashen Faggot. Mary Rhodes is now Halsway’s official archivist and she and Cynthia are searching for material to include in a publication that celebrates the activities at the Manor since it opened as a Folk Centre in 1965.

HalswayManorLibrary (8 of 13)The collection covers a wide spectrum of folk-related material. Song, dance, music folklore and storytelling and tutors for many instruments as well as clog, sword and morris dancing. We have noticed that people come in and immediately panic when they see a library but it is very easy to use if you keep a cool head. There are printed catalogues for people who aren’t up to speed with computers but for those who are happy with modern technology a simplified catalogue is also available on the web at www.halswaymanor.org 

HalswayManorLibrary (4 of 13)If you would like more information on the library or would like to make an appointment to book some time in for doing some research, then please contact Viv on office@halswaymanor.org.uk

Cynthia & Bonny Sartin

Melodeon Player Extraordinaire John Kirkpatrick comes to Halsway Manor

This week we are very excited to be featuring John Kirkpatrick on our blog as it won’t be long before he will be joining us at Halsway for a weekend workshop and a concert in the middle on the saturday night. THere is lots of information out there on John and he has one of the most informative websites I have ever seen! So please, if you would like to know more, do go to http://www.johnkirkpatrick.co.uk/ and have a look at what he is up to. Below is a bit of info on John taken in part from his biography.

John Kirkpatrick was born in Chiswick in 1947 and grew up in a family where a hearty sing song was always a part of family gathering. John was in school choirs, the Church choir and played recorder and piano, until he joined the Hammersmith Morris Men at the tender age of 12 in 1959. Whilst with the team he took up the melodeon, then the button accordion, then the anglo concertina, and got hooked on the traditional songs that were accompanied with a post-dancing pint.

John has gone on to become one of the most prolific figures on the English folk scene, performing solo, in duos, acoustic groups and electric bands, and has established an enviable reputation as an instrumental virtuoso and session musician, as well as a leading interpreter of English folk music.

John has been a member of many bands, including the Albion Country Band, the Magic Lantern, The Richard Thompson Band, Umps and Dumps, Steeleye Span, Brass Monkey, Trans-Europe Diatonique, and Band of Hope, as well as numerous ceilidh bands.

One of the things I have really enjoyed reading is some of the articles that John has published on a number of different subjects such as The British Button Box as well as responses to some of the articles he has had published. They are most amusing and briliantly written and can be found on his website under writings… http://www.johnkirkpatrick.co.uk/writings.asp

The Melodeon Workshop that John is doing for us is for experienced Melodeon players who can either read music or play by ear. It is an intensive weekend with uptempo tunes for experienced players of all ages. Some music will be supplied in advance and other tunes will be chosen at the event, in response to participants needs. Have a look at the website for further details Melodeon Workshop with John Kirkpatrick and don’t forget that it is for the Two Row G/D melodeon. 

Melodeon Workshop Weekend for the Two-Row G/D Melodeon with John Kirkpatrick

On Friday 10th May 2013  –  Sunday 12th May 2013 we are delighted to be hosting a Melodeon weekend for the Two-Row G/D Melodeon with John Kirkpatrick, because quite frankly, nobody plays the melodeon like John. John has an enviable reputation as an instrumental virtuoso and interpreter of English folk music and has played with many influential groups including the Albion Country Band, Magic Lantern, the Richard Thompson Band, Umps and Dumps, Steeleye Span, Brass Monkey, Trans-Europe Diatonique, and Band of Hope. This course is a chance to improve your skills on the Melodeon and learn from one of the true greats of the instrument. 

This weekend is pretty intensive and all of the workshops attendees will need to be able to  play folk dance tunes, up tempo from music provided or by ear. Any age is welcome, but must just be of the above proficiency level and those 16 or under have to be accompanied by an adult. The weekend starts on Friday afternoon and will finish on Sunday at 5pm.

John Kirkpatrick melodeon player extraordinaire

John Kirkpatrick melodeon player extraordinaire

We are hoping that the weather will be pretty good too and there is plenty of space to camp at Halsway, should the fancy take you!

Don’t forget that as well as the workshop, John will be playing a concert on the Saturday night (11th May) at Halsway which is open to the public. It starts at 8pm and tickets are £10 for adults and £4 for under 16’s.

If you would like to attend then please do phone Viv on 01984 618274 (+44 19 84 61 82 74) or EMAIL US with your requirements. Have a look at the website for further details and prices too.
This course is definitely not one to be missed!

A few weeks ahead…What’s on at Halsway Manor

Morning Folks!

What a lovely return to winter we are having today! I am happily tucked up in the office at Halsway where the world is warm and welcoming. It is always lovely to turn up and the open fires are blazing and the wind outside is roaring. It is pretty picture perfect!

So, I wanted to tell you about a few things we have going on in the weeks ahead at Halsway Manor. If you would like further information on any of the events, then please go to the web site www.halswaymanor.org.uk.

This weekend we have the Irish Set Dancing Weekend and I hope to have some photos that I can post from that, early next week. The following week we are hosting the Anglo Scottish Dance week from 15th to 19th April and are rounding a thoroughly British week off with English Folk Dance and Song Society, an Artists’ professional development weekend on 19th to 21st April. I am pretty sure these are already booked up but if you were interested, then please do call Viv at the office to see if there have been any cancellations, or to book for next year.

At the end of April – (26th to 28th) – Carin Wilkinson is hosting a Baroque Recorder Players weekend and then we have MAY! I can’t believe that we are almost in May and still looking for sunshine! On May 1st we have of course the wonderful May Day celebrations at Halsway Manor, where we greet the dawn with ritual and Maypole dancing and song. We also provide a large breakfast and in the evening we will be putting on a barn dance. This event is open to all and I will be posting some more details a bit closer to the time.

From 10th to 12th of May John Kirkpatrick is staying with us and hosting a Melodeon workshop weekend. This is very popular and will need to be booked in advance, so get booking as there are still a few places left! John will also be giving a concert on the Saturday night, which is open to anyone who would like to come. It is £10 per head and under sixteens are only £4). Kickoff is at 8pm.

May also plays host to a recorder weekend with Pat Fitzpatrick on 17th to 19th May and the American Contra Dance follows this from the 20th to 24th May. This is hosted by Meg Winters and sees the arrival of Sue and Bruce Rosen (Sue the caller and Bruce on Piano) with George Wilson on Fiddle coming all the way from the US.

Halsway Manor are also hosting an Arts and Crafts weekend from 25th to 26th May with some incredible local artists that come and stay ‘in residence’ for the weekend teaching all manner of things from print making to ipad art and sculpture. More of that in another blog soon!

As May draws to an end we have our Early music Week which includes Voices, Viols and recorders, with Michael Sharman and a folk music weekend with Dave Brown, John and  Elaine Meechan, and Christine Corkett – from 31st May to Sunday 2nd June, taking us into the summer months with song and dance!

We hope you will come and join us for some of these fantastic events. If you can’t make a whole weekend, you can always just pop along for the day, just give us a ring to arrange!

Have a great weekend!

Christina

Welcome to Halsway Manor, Somerset

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Welcome to the new Halsway Manor Blog. Halsway Manor is a creative organisation that provides courses, events and activities for everyone interested in traditional folk music, dance and song, storytelling, folklore, arts and crafts. We are located in the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the South West of England.

We are very excited to be able to use this blog to tell you all about the wonderful things that are happening at Halsway, both before and after the events. We would love to hear from you, so please come and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest as soon as they are all up and running – which won’t be very long!  Don’t forget to check out our website http://www.halswaymanor.org.uk too and please feel free to comment on our posts. We look forward to connecting with you!