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Here is a report from a member about the Kilve event in October 2014

Kilve Court is a wonderful place to visit set in the rolling hills of Somerset ,yet within walking distance of the beach. Twice a year, something magical happens,when people of all ages and from all over the country get together to learn about and play the concertina. WCCP has led the way ,for over 30 years, in getting this amazing instrument more widely known. This year's October fest was a prime example. Home grown tutors plus the incomparable Iris Bishop,helped the total novice and old hands like me, become better players -----and they succeed !! Experienced players who only come to the advanced meet in March , missed a treat. Because the tunes are more simple, you can concentrate more on band technique and the less obvious nuances of music. Usually when you have a question about musical "grammar", you don't have an expert on hand to answer! I had several "light bulb" moments about syncopation and chords. In the intermediate band, Claire guided us through several fun tunes, most notably "King of the Road " and "Itsy Witsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" that helped us become more cohesive as as band. By the sound of the Sunday showcase , the other groups were as successful. To make this great week-end even better,Martyn, the amazing Chef, is not only a master baker(bagels,croissants and gateaux) but also sources all his fish, meat and veg locally. They never stop feeding you!!!!!! Learning more about your instrument,getting it fixed,if necessary,or even borrowing one if you are a novice is all part of this . Letting your hair down in the bar ( you know who I mean,Claire!) Is also part of this experience. As you might have gathered, I had a truly great time!!!!

Sandra Sharp

Here are some reports from members about the Kilve event in March 2014

The Duets players consisted of me, Paul McCann, Alex Friendship, Vernon Barrett, Roger ? There were some others but I have forgotten their names. Our tutor was Gavin Atkin accompanied by his wife Julia who provided the vocal support. Gavin was a new tutor to most of us and his style of playing is different, freer, in as much his left hand playing is much more in tune with modern popular music. The melodies were quite simple, but the left hand was different/difficult In consequence, although we are all reasonable duet players this left hand action required some effort. It sounded great when we played it and Gavin was much more concerned with the overall effect. The sessions were good fun and I enjoyed it all. Bob

I thought the workshops were excellent, and Gavin a very knowledgeable and good teacher, albeit with a tendency to take things a bit quickly. Perhaps he was flattering us with a better level of ability than we actually have! I have brought all the notes home and will have to brain them through at my own speed. I'm determined to get the Duke Ellington piece sorted (sometime......) Paul

I thought it was good to be back at Kilve after the St Audries experiment. Although the caravan accommodation was nice there, the Kilve atmosphere did not transfer across. I had a great weekend. Excellent tutors, delicious meals and wonderful company. The potential for a crossover between English and Anglo players was refreshing. I enjoyed the Saturday concert with the variety of music, dancing and singing. The only disappointment for me was that, as usual, there was not room in the bar so I was unable to join in the Friday night session. Kate

I am still buzzing after having just returned from the WCCP Concertina weekend at Kilve Court, West Somerset. Such a fantastic weekend, from the warm welcome to the final goodbyes. It was good to be back at Kilve, where the club has had many successful residential weekends. Kilve Court is nestled into the side of the Quantock Hills and only a short walk to the beach, if only you had time to fit it in. The workshop leaders, Gavin Atkin, Harry Scurfield, Dave Townsend, Dave Elliot and Clair Wren, made sure that everyone was kept busy, offering workshops to suit everyone. From Concertina maintenance to Concertina Band, the house was filled with the sound of concertinas. The enthusiasm of the leaders must have enhanced the atmosphere. We even had a surprise appearance from Mary Hopkins, providing the highlight of the music session in the bar on Saturday evening. It was more of a surprise for me standing at the bar, half knowing the face but not the hair, and not recognising it was Clair, until she brought her guitar out to play. The Final Concert on Sunday afternoon was a show in itself, presenting the variety of workshop music the weekend had to offer. A big thank you went to the Catering staff, who made sure that the menus offered suited the dietary requirements of everybody. Thanks must go to the organising team, Sally, Clair and Arthur, who brought it all together. It was a wonderful weekend and I will certainly look forward to attending next year. Mike

You can see some photos in the WCCP Galleries.

Here are reports from members about the Kilve event in October 2012.

I always look forward to the October Kilve, not least for the meals, cakes and biscuits. But I have been losing weight since the excesses of Sidmouth made all my clothes shrink (I have been successful because I am now unquestionably overweight, which is an improvement from being "a beast"). Anyway, I thought it best to eschew the more calorific comestibles and to eat lots of vegetables. This year I also had a slight trepidation because it was to be the debut for Oli and I as workshop leaders. The WCCP were very supportive of me when I started playing and they have enthused Oliver too, and as I since have learned quite a lot about concertina wrangling; I thought that I ought to give something back to the WCCP by way of thanks; and Esther gave us the opportunity to do so. I had pitched the workshop for post beginners, and Oli and I had selected some rounds that had interesting but relatively "easy" tunes. We even practiced some four part rounds (two parts each) to see what they sounded like. So,after tea break on Saturday morning , Oli and I set up expecting a few people to come along to point and smile, and we got over thirty wiry keen participants, not to mention Arthur who arrived two minutes from the end and apologised for being late! The musicians in the group were very kind to us, and tolerant, as we introduced then to: the highly technical concept of "Starting on the W of the One"; and advanced concertina techniques like: "The Whop", "The Slug", and "The Advanced Slug"; all ably demonstrated by Oli. This deviation from classical music descriptions was startlingly effective and we managed to very effectively turn ink into music by the end of the session. However, I noted that our workshop has had a corrosive effect on all those who attended, especially the more classically trained musicians, and even affected some who hadn't! Specifically I noticed that the multi-talented Claire at one point implored the baritones to "slug this bit", which was startling; and I was woken from my post prandial slumbers on Sunday afternoon by Mr McCann bellowing "WHOP THIS BIT!!!" at his duet players! I seem to have started a fashion for the use of a new vernacular for which I apologise most humbly - especially to all those with a classical music training. The band and bar sessions were, as is customary, great fun, and the bright filtered ale quite palatable. I had such a good time, that at one point I found that I had lost Oli; who, after claiming that he was going to bed, didn't. I finally found him having a mini-session with the other boys in the hall; and very good it sounded too. All in all a great weekend that was thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end.


Oli writes

I do enjoy Kilve. the atmosphere there is very supportive and every moment is a great experience. I enjoy the food, I enjoy meeting people there and talking to them,and I find the Bar sessions in the evenings to be full of excitement (which is why my dad once stayed up until about 1 in the morning) and every moment to be enjoyable. Everyone is encouraged to be a part of the Bar sessions, even the newcomers to Kilve. One of the good things about Kilve this year was that I wasn't the youngest there. Though the majority are older, it is nice to see younger people showing a commitment to a concertina experience. I don't normally see other people of my generation playing the concertina, so playing with other people that are younger than I am is a real treat. I'm looking forward to next year already.

Val writes

Sandy Sharp promised Dave, Den and I that we would love Kilve and learn such a lot. As Kilve virgins, we arrived apprehensively on 19th October 2012, terrified of being amongst all those people who actually know what 'F sharp' means! Everybody we looked at was an actual musician and not a feeble beginner. We couldn't hide behind the title of 'absolute beginner', we knew only too well our limitations.

Now you know what I am going to say next! All the players were so supportive, cheerful, sociable and totally understanding of the experience we were about to enjoy. Being able to admit lack of understanding in such a non threatening environment was such a relief to us and really helped our learning. Even freezing during a performance is treated as a learning experience and we would like to thank everybody for that generosity of spirit. We did rescue ourselves somewhat in the pub on Sunday night

The catering was excellent. We sat with so many different people over the weekend which again is evidence of your easy going sociability. Thank you all for that.

We were on such a high on our way home that I have to confess that we had to stop at a service area to talk through every minute of the weekend again, knowing that the allotted 10 minute listening slot we might get at home just would not be enough! Thank you so much for organising such a good weekend, making us so welcome, teaching us so well. Now we are confidently practising for Kettlebridge Carols in Maidstone and testing the humidity in our houses, to better store our concertinas.

You can see some photos in the WCCP Galleries.

Here is a short report about the Kilve event in October 2011.

75 members and guests along with 9 tutors gathered at Kilve for our October Music Weekend, and what a great time we all had. The new Chef served up some super food, (he even has his own website!) and thanks to the great organisation by Esther and her team everything ran smoothly.

We have had lots of fabulous comments post weekend, just room for one extract here.

What one participant had to say.

Ann Williams.

I have not been playing the concertina for long and had attended another concertina weekend where it all went over my head, and everyone seemed so much better than me which left me feeling somewhat deflated. But one thing to come out of that weekend was a recommendation to try Kilve from Sally of Kettle Bridge Concertinas, I went home and booked straight away. As I arrived at Kilve, the welcome could not have been warmer and I immediately felt at ease, and even plucked up the courage to take a turn myself in the bar session. I have lots of great memories to takeaway, and ideas to build up my playing. I will definitely be back next year!!