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Festive Music Retreat

Monday 12 Dec 4pm — Friday 16 Dec 10am, 2022

To make a booking enquiry please complete the form below. We will contact you to confirm availability and complete your booking.

Course Enquiry

  • Halsway Manor will not share your details with any third parties.


Full board per person (tuition, activities, all meals & accommodation):

  • £380– single ensuite room
  • £350– sharing an ensuite room
  • £350– single non-ensuite room
  • £315 – sharing non-ensuite room

Camping per person (tuition, activities, all meals):

  • £230

Non Resident (tuition, activities, all meals except breakfast):

  • £216

Grant help may be available: The Sarah Morgan Foundation is offering Grants of £500 for the promotion of English / Traditional Song. More info...

Join Laurel Swift and Matt Norman for a feast of festive fun! Singers and musicians are invited to join us for a cheer-filled week of seasonal folkiness.

  • Sing and play traditional folk carols in harmony
  • Learn some great new folk tunes and creative things to do with them
  • A spot of seasonal crafting with tree decorations to take home
  • Write a brand new carol
  • An introduction to Dartmoor step dancing and playing for dancing
  • Optional walks in the beautiful Quantock Hills, weather permitting

We hope to see you there and will get mulling the cider!

Who’s it For?

Singers and musicians, all instruments, all abilities. There will be a range of parts, notation parts in all clefs and keys available. We will work both by ear and with dots. We want this week to be fun for all, with guidance and support to help you develop your musicality, at whatever level you’re at.

The Team

Laurel Swift is an all-round folk artist, and an inspiring instigator of creative new projects and performances rooted in the folk arts.

Laurel has choreographed and devised national touring dance productions for Morris Offspring, co-created and performed Under Her Skin with Debs Newbold, advised theatre & film companies on using folk music and dance material, performed and taught at festivals in the UK and America, founded an organisation to develop youth folk arts projects, teaches and contributes to education projects in London and nationally, and regularly performs with her acts including Ben Moss, Gadarene and The Gloworms.

“There are many people, young and old, to whom the currently vibrant English folk scene owes a lot. But in my book the one who ought to be front of the queue when they hand out the awards is an infectious bundle of mass-enthusing energy called Laurel Swift” – Ian Anderson, froots

Laurel also loves offering folk retreats, combining inspiring classes, homecooked food, informal sessions and country walks.

Matt Norman is a performer, teacher, composer, arranger, workshop leader and conductor.

He predominantly works with traditional English music, steeped in the traditions of Devon and Dartmoor. He is also blues and classical musician, and a Dartmoor Step Dance Champion!

As a multi-instrumentalist, Matt plays mandolin, fiddle, mandola, banjos, piano and also sings. He performs solo and in bands including Gadarene and A New Vintage ceilidh band, and regularly deps in other line-ups. He’s also a singer and choir-leader.

Matt’s extensive teaching experience includes working in community and festival settings with all ages and abilities. He has a relaxed, fun and accessible approach to learning, tailored very much to the group. He has a broad expertise embracing mixed-instrument ensembles, choral and voice work, instrument specific tuition (mandolin, fiddle, banjo), and also step dancing.