We had another really enjoyable weekend at Quantock Lodge (near Bridgwater), which is our weekend for beginners and improvers. We had over 75 attendees and lots of new people joining us for the first time. One newbie commented that having been to several similar events with different instruments, concertina players are by far the friendliest!
Beginners and Improvers enjoyed receiving focused group tuition on their Duet (Crane, Hayden and McCann), Anglo or English concertinas. The more proficient players enjoyed honing their skills in the Folk Stream or Advanced Band. There were also several options sessions dotted throughout the weekend including song accompaniment, rounds and slow sessions.
Dave Elliott provided concertina servicing and expert advice and Barleycorn Concertinas also brought a tempting range of instruments for sale.
On Friday night, we joined in an open session with anyone playing, as well as chatting in the bar.
On the Saturday night, we heard our tutors play, interspersed with us all playing some more tunes, as well as enjoying the other talents of the attendees, which included Morris dancing, storytelling and singing. There was also much laughter!
Before going home on Sunday, we got to hear what each group had been working on in an end-of-weekend showcase. It is amazing what can be achieved in just 2 days, and the more showcases you do, the more you learn to just enjoy playing, regardless of not playing perfectly at times! We also all played a new going-home tune as a whole group, which was a lovely way to end the playing part of the weekend, before enjoying a cream tea (as if we hadn’t all eaten enough over the weekend!).
If you are new to the concertina, or you are an improver, please consider coming to the next Quantock Lodge weekend in late September 2023! It is so much more than the sum of its parts and an uplifting, motivating weekend with the strong possibility of making new friends. See you there!
Twenty-three people attended the Ruishton play-day on 3rd July.
The morning was spent learning four dance tunes followed by three shared tunes on a “Weather” theme.
Thanks go to Doug Watt and Pete Hill for helping the beginners.
After lunch, six dancers and three musicians from “Sweet Coppin Ladies Clog Dancers” came to join us and we played the tunes we learnt this morning, for them to dance to.
Afterwards the dancers invited our members to join in with a processional dance “Grenoside” to the tune “Roxburgh Castle” (photos below).
A reminder that there is no play day in September. The next one is on Sunday 30th October.
Other dates :-
- Chiltina’s 25th Anniversary, in person or on zoom (booking necessary for both) on 18th Sept.
- Beginners weekend at Quantock Lodge 30th Sept - 2nd Oct.
- AGM (on Zoom) 15th Oct.
A weekend for competent players focussed on teaching the skills and techniques of the different concertina systems (Anglo, Duet & English) as well as Concertina Band.
Anglo Workshop - John Kirkpatrick
“John K was excellent.”
“The things John K did around making a good performance (rather than just playing) was good”
Duet Workshop - Iris Bishop
“It was a complete delight to be learning with Iris. There were 6 of us with different duet systems and very different levels of capability. Iris seemed completely unphased by this and somehow we were all challenged and learning at different levels”.
“Iris gave so much inspiration about how and what to practise. But the big message was play for the musicality of it and enjoy it. Listening to Iris play Solace by Scot Joplin in the Tutors’ Concert was unforgettable – this is what she meant by musicality.”
English Workshop - Dave Ball
“I enjoyed the weekend very much. The English workshops were a good mixture of interesting and challenging tunes. There was a real sense of achievement once mastered.”
“The sessions were friendly and fun and the showcase at the end of the weekend was brilliant”.
Concertina Band - Clare Wren
“Claire's workshops covered all genres of music from march through to jazz and her teaching was, as always, inspirational and fun.”
“We had a great time voicing the syncopation - "if you can't say it, you can't play it!". “It is always great to hear everything coming together as a band should over the course of a couple of days.”
“The band workshop presented a few pieces of music which were challenging – some more so than others. But it all added to my experience.”
“A highlight of the weekend, apart from our own playing, is the workshop showcase, where we all hear what the other workshops have been doing.”
Concertina Care & Maintenance - Dave Elliott
“Dave gave a very informative and valuable talk on the subject of recognising a concertina that was worth buying!”
“Everyone went away much better equipped to spot all those warning signs!”
“It was a great weekend & thank you”.
“I had a great weekend and was so well supported by the Team workshop rep”.
We have recently returned from the Quantock Lodge weekend for beginners and improvers. There were nearly 70 attendees (including tutors), who played Duet, Anglo or English concertinas (or sometimes more than one) – every squeezer is welcome, regardless of system or standard!
The beginner groups received a lot of help to learn the basics of the instrument as well as receiving more inspiration for further aspects to develop. Beginners in all groups also learned some of the same tunes, to enable beginner players of any system to be able to play together. Hopefully beginners left the weekend with more confidence and motivation to improve playing this fascinating, squeezy instrument!
Highlights from the weekend included having the opportunity to learn some music by ear and a new folk band stream for intermediate players, with some dancing to go with it! Dave Elliott (with family) attended to maintain or fix any concertina problems and Barleycorn Concertinas brought an impressive range of concertinas for those tempted to buy one (or another one!). The tutors also played some excellent solo performances on the Saturday night; supplemented by the band groups playing tunes, plus the whole group could join in with some folk tunes. After 10.30pm anyone could play anything!
Click here to listen to Paul Hardy's sound recordings from the showcase sessions.
If you are new to the concertina, then please consider coming to Quantock Lodge in October 2022 or joining WCCP!
Just beating the lock down with a wonderful weekend of concertina playing and fun. Tutors (left to right) Claire Wren (Band), Tim Laycock (Duets), Sandra Kerr (English), Brian Peters (Anglo) and Dave, Di & Amanda Elliott (Maintenance & Repairs)
and then everybody....
What a happy but exhausting day!
54 players plus a few non-playing partners meant the hall was absolutely buzzing.
Arthur started the morning by leading a tune from the Purple Folder to ease us into the day and get our fingers warmed up. Whilst the beginners had tuition from Bob, Mike and David in other rooms. Next, we had five people willing to lead groups, teaching songs and/or tunes to play in the afternoon; mostly Scottish, as befits the season. Plus "Ring of Fire" … but then - the theme was "Burns"! The group in the hallway was very tolerant of interruptions from others needing to access the kitchen or loos. We finished the morning learning tunes for this afternoons dances with Chris and Mike, whilst some brave people practiced the dances in any space they could find.
Our "Bring and Share" lunch was, as usual, sumptuous. With a huge variety of delicious and often unusual dishes. For the first time, the vegetarian/vegan section matched that of the meat section in terms of both size and variety.
As for the desserts.....
We spent the afternoon in the company of Ray Goodswen, who came along again to call the dances in our Ceilidh. We invited players to bring along other instruments to play in the dance bands to give variety to the music and for authenticity. Between the four dances, the five "Burns" tunes learned in the morning were played, along with several party pieces either in groups, duets or individually.
To finish, we played our usual going home tune "Meadow in May". Followed, of course, by "AuldLang Syne".
We intentionally brought the day to a close a little earlier this year and asked for everyone to help with the clearing up. This was because last year, a handful of us were still trying to do it at 6pm when the cleaner arrived!
True to W.C.C.P. form, most people were all hands on deck and we were able to vacate the tidy hall just after 5pm, which was great. That's one of the things I love about our organisation; the way we all pull together to help each
other in so many ways. The team thanks each and every one of those who came. For help with moving chairs and tables, setting the food out and clearing it up, washing up during the day and staying to clear up at the end.
Thanks also for volunteering to lead sessions,teach beginners, teach shared tunes, offer to help in the various teams... and for coming along and playing.
Happy new year to you all.
The Ruishton Team