This will be the NINTH year of our folk music, dance and song summer school – for all ages and abilities – led by a crack team of tutors who have detailed knowledge and extensive experience of a wide spectrum of folk music. Our theme for this year will be “Courting, Love and Marriage” and we’ll be exploring tunes, songs and dances on this theme throughout the week! As in previous years, you can pick your ‘main’ group for the week – dance with Kerry Fletcher, song with Jo Freya, fiddle with Sophy Ball, accordion with Paul Hutchinson, guitar with Kevin Dempsey and mixed-instrument with David Delarre – with a programme that’s fluid enough for you to move from group to group should you wish. Throughout the week, we will work towards a full-group ensemble piece, with the whole summer school, a powerful way of bringing everything and everyone in one shared experience, allowing you to learn about how to structure a performance, work together, use all levels of skills (in small and large groups) – and create something that’s amazing and all inclusive!
“Friendly and welcoming group of people, plenty of laughs, energetic dancing and really enjoyable sessions in the bar afterwards!” Participant
Who’s it For?
Singers, dancers and musicians of all levels of experience; there’s something for everyone! Please let us know your preferred main group when booking – but be assured, you’ll be able to move between groups should you wish!
- Guitar – Kev Dempsey
- Fiddle – Sophy Ball
- Accordion – Paul Hutchinson
- Mixed instrument band – David Delarre
- Voice – Jo Freya
- Dance -Kerry Fletcher
We have a fantastic team of tutors who work well together to give you the best possible experience in a mutually supportive atmosphere.
Sophy Ball is a fiddle player who encompasses a huge variety of styles, performing and teaching tunes from America, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and her native North East of England. An experienced workshop leader and teacher, she has been a co-director of the Folkworks’ Youth Summer School with Kathryn Tickell. She also performs in The Northlands with Alistair Anderson, the Andy May Trio and Bottle Bank Band with Stewart Hardy. She was a founder member of The Pack and 422, with whom she won the Young Folk Award in 1999. We’re delighted to welcome her back to Halsway for what will be her third year on the Summer School team!
David Delarre is a musician, composer and music educator. Through his work with the award winning singer Eliza Carthy MBE, David has performed at a number of high profiles and venues across the UK and Europe. He has recently recorded sessions for BBC Radio 2, 3 and 4 and has also performed on BBC 1 for Jools Holland and BBC 1 Breakfast TV. He has recently been working at The Globe Theatre on ’The Two Noble Kinsmen’ and at the National Theatre on Anaïs Mitchell’s ‘Hadestown’.
Kevin Dempsey is an unassuming sort of bloke, whose quiet manner and laid back attitude hide a multitude of extraordinary talents as guitarist, singer songwriter, composer, arranger and producer. His wide experience shows in his versatility and ability to turn his hand, and guitar, to many different styles and genres and, for a long time, he has been sought out by other musicians. Kev has been a mainstay of our Summer School as our guitar tutor for six years, and has also tutored at our Guitar Study Week.
Kerry Fletcher is a traditional dancer, performer, choreographer and teacher of many styles who works as a community folk dance artist specialising in English, European and American dance, both percussive and social. Kerry is Co-Artistic Director of Folk Dance Remixed and is passionate about both traditional dance and making folk dance relevant to today’s society. She encourages those new to folk dance to share her enthusiasm and creates new performance work inspired by the tradition.
Paul Hutchinson studied piano and church organ before being persuaded at the age of 17 to take up the accordion and form a ceilidh band. Since then he’s become one of the best-known and in demand players on the folk scene – in the UK and beyond – as one half of duo Belshazzar’s Feast, with trio Hoover the Dog, Pagoda (with Karen Wimhurst), and PLF. Paul is a regular tutor and musician at Halsway Manor, and the accordion tutor for EFDSS at Cecil Sharp House.
Jo Freya has been singing and playing traditional folk music since her childhood. As well as being a highly effective workshop leader and teacher in music, dance, voice and composition she is also a charismatic performer with many high profile folk artists including Blowzabella and Coope, Simpson, Fraser, Freya, Boyes in their work with author Michael Morpurgo.