banner photo 01

The WCCP will be running a try-out workshop at the Wessex Folk Festival from 2.00pm till 4.00pm on Sunday 3rd June 2018. If any members would like to call in or help they would be very welcome. Both Anglo and English concertinas will be catered for. Contacts: Mike Selley or Kate Stokes via the WCCP.

The ICA are holding their AGM at Ruishton on Saturday 5th May and some of them will be coming along to our Ruishton Play Day on Sunday 6th.
The ICA will be holding a concert on the Saturday evening and are offering W.C.C.P. members entry at a reduced rate.    To reciprocate, we will offer visitors a 1/2 price play-day fee on Sunday.
For more details Ruishton Playing

Please note that the AGM planned for 9th September has moved to 4th November


Rollo WoodsIt is with great sadness that the death of Rollo Geoffrey Woods, who died on 29th January 2018 at the age of 92 was announced.  A thanksgiving service was held in Swanage URC on 9th February and a further celebratory event on 7th April 2018.

Much of his life was devoted to the folk arts.  His grandparents were keen revivalist folk singers and his mother introduced him to English Country Dancing in 1937.  He was Squire of the Cambridge Morris Men and played with William Kimber, Scan Tester, Stephen Baldwin and Bob Cann.  He also contributed much of the music for Lionel Bacon's seminal "Handbook of Morris Dancing", known to all as the Black Book.  He played for ceilidhs for over 60 years. He founded the first ceilidh band in Hampshire, the Black Glove Band, ran the Greenwood Tree in Swanage for 20 years and his last band, Maiden Oak, is still going today.

Rollo started researching West Gallery Music in 1972 after a chance discovery of manuscripts in Widdicombe in the Moor in Devon and it gradually became a consuming passion.  He founded the Madding Crowd in 1975, The Purbeck Village Quire in 1989 and was a founder member of the West Gallery Music Association in 1990.  He published several books on the subject.  In 2015 he was awarded the gold badge of the English Folk Dance and Song Society for a lifetime of work promoting the folk arts.

Many members of WCCP would remember Rollo from his attendance at the Kilve Residential Weekends, where he was an active member for many years.

(Extract from Obituary by Owen Woods published in ICA Concertina World - March 2018)

Many of those reading this will remember Hilda, who died recently at the age of 87.
Hilda portative organShe had shown great artistic promise at a young age and went to theSlade School of Art where she met the love of her life, Hughie Gibson. Neither family would agree to the match so they eloped to Dartingtonand married there. In the late 1950s, they lived in a caravan in Chertsey and Hilda was a glamorous model, sculptor, artist andmusician.  They were members of the Thames Valley Morris Men (Hughie became the Fool), and Hilda led the Pyrford Folk Band.  She was aregular ca mper with the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry where she playedand sang.  She had a wide repertoire of songs - many of an earthy nature!
Hilda's work was sought after making bronze models large and small,and she designed the original nodding dog (seen in the back windows ofcars) and the first jiffy lemon.
They moved to Somerset in 1975, where Hilda was a care assitant for 25 years at Sandhill Park Hospital, dearly loved by those in her care.
 Hilda selfportrait 1960
As a musician she played Anglo and English concertina, as well as accordian, and could switch easily from one to the other, and she tutored the Anglo for WCCP.  She had known Scan Tester well and played in a similar style.
Some of you may remember the portative organ (see picture) made out of pieces of wood from the beach which Hughie cut to shape adding extra notes as the wood became available.
Members of Thames Valley Morris danced Shepherds' Hey at the funeral, as they had done for Hughie 2004.
We all have our memories of this wonderful, talented, joyous and perhaps eccentric lady, who on camping weekends took her pet cockerel in the back of the van rather than leave it at home.  Hilda never stopped singing, playing painting and sculpting to the end.
Andrew Stevens (22-Mar-2018)

Our new Membership Secretary is Di Cooper   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The residential weekend at Kilve Court was held Friday 16th – Sunday 18th March.

A lovely playing weekend with tutors Rob Habron English Concertinas, Gavin Atkin Duets, Harry Scurfield Anglos, Claire Wren Concertina Band and Dave Elliott Concertina Maintenance.

For the first time remembered, the weekend was interrupted by SNOW!  Quite a lot of it.  Unfortunately, there was only about a third of the attendees and a quarter of the tutors who made it through to the Showcase on the Sunday afternoon.  Those that remained performed and clearly demonstrated that the weekend had again been a wonderful playing success. 

The Kilve staff kindly made sure that those that had not braved the snow (yet) did not starve, first with the cream team and later an evening meal, afterwhich there was a session at the Hood (which opened up specially) and which was a real eveing of fun and joy.

Pictures on logo facebook

Here is a report from one of our younger memebrswho attended the residential weekend at Kilve in October 2017 :-
My name is Steph, I am 13 years old and have been to West Country Concertina Players October Weekend at Kilve in Somerset twice with the help of a Bursary from the club. 
I play the English concertina. The first time I went to Kilve I was the only young person and I was an absolute beginner and was loaned an instrument by the club, but I felt very welcomed and learnt lots and even came away with my own instrument! 
This year, I went into the English Concertina ensemble group. Our tutor Sally taught us several tunes in different parts which we played to everyone at the showcase session on Sunday afternoon when each group demonstrates what they have learnt. Everyone is so kind, helpful and supportive. The weekend is amazing and filled with lots of laughs as well as learning and I would recommend it to anyone of any age who is interested. 
There must be more young people who would like a chance to learn to play the Concertina if they knew about the opportunity. It would be great to have a group of young people playing concertinas together and learning some good tunes from the Oldies! 


Taunton Festival February 2016

Before J25 presented its entry at the Festival there were two individual entries in the Free Reed class to entrance the adjudicator who admitted he was completely unfamiliar with the English Concertina.

Claire Wren was first and began by giving a short explanation of the layout of the instrument.  She played her own arrangement of “Tom Bowling”, a haunting melody written as a song by Charles Dibden (1740-1814) on the death of his brother Thomas (search Charles Dibden on the internet - he has a fascinating history).

Claire started simply with the air, adding chords and delicate ornamentation the second time. Played slowly and quietly and seated right in front of the adjudicator, he couldn’t have had a better
introduction to the instrument and how it is played.  Her second piece was the lively “Danza Gaya” by Madeline Dring, accompanied on the pianoforte by Angela Hammond. Here the concertina had a lovely soaring part, showing it at its best.

By contrast the second entry, “Swing 39” by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, was a duet arranged and played by Jan Usher and Roger Campbell.  It was fascinating to hear how the very different (and difficult) violin and guitar parts were interpreted by the concertina players as they each in turn took the lead.

The adjudicator, James Stretton was hooked! He was warm in his praise for both entries and he finished by saying he couldn’t wait to hear the band … and he certainly wasn’t disappointed!  


Identifying music which best allows you to demonstrate technique on your instrument and musicianship in your playing is the first step. Taking the music to pieces and listening to all the bits of it is the second. Listening is really the key. Understanding there is a difference between a staccato crotchet and a tenuto crotchet is great but you have to really, really listen to what you are playing if you wish to make that difference heard. This kind of attention to detail is crucial, particularly in ensemble work, to keep your performance tight and give your music heart and soul.

Although logistically only half the band would be available to enter the festival, J25 embraced the challenge to improve upon and demonstrate personal and ensemble musicianship. The pieces chosen were a brilliant arrangement by David Farnon of Lillibulero, full of the desired musical subtleties, followed by the flashy Concertina Breakdown, a boogie for Concertina Band by band director Claire Wren. If J25 pulled it off on the day that would be great but the journey was the reward. With all the intense rehearsal, everyone in the band had already become a better player – the purpose all along – tick!

In the event J25 did pull it off on the day. Hoping at least for distinction (the previous adjudications) the band’s hard work was rewarded with a speechless adjudicator who declared J25 “In a word … Outstanding” and presented the ecstatic group with a certificate and the Adjudicators’ Cup. 

cert at Taunton

 J25 at Taunton