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Halsway Young Folk: Advanced

Monday 19 Aug 10am — Monday 26 Aug 2pm, 2019

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 (accommodation and all meals), tuition and all activities:

  • £225

Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first-served basis.

Contact us for an application form. Please return your completed application form with a deposit of £60 to secure your place; the balance is due 6 weeks before the course begins.

Now in its third year, Halsway Young Folk – Advanced is an opportunity for musicians and singers aged 16-25 to explore and develop their skills in arrangement, composition and ensemble work. We’re delighted to be welcoming Amy Thatcher (The Shee, Kathryn Tickell’s The Side, Monster Ceilidh Sound System) to lead the course alongside regular lead tutor Will Lang.

You’ll work collaboratively to explore tunes and songs of your finding and choosing (we have the second largest library of printed and recorded folk resources in the country), explore formal and and more organic arrangement styles, extended composition techniques, and experiment with framing folk repertoire in traditional and modern musical settings. You’ll get a chance to perform your work at the end of the week at Towersey Folk Festival.

On Friday evening you’ll travel to Towersey Folk Festival (you’ll need to make your own transport arrangements there) and you’ll be there until Monday lunchtime to assist in the running of their youth folk workshops and to perform your work. The HYF week ends at lunchtime on Monday at Towersey Festival.  Please note: we cannot assume a duty of care for under 18’s while at the festival and so respectfully request participants to have written consent from a parent or legal guardian.

As part of the week you’ll also have a chance to to try your workshop leading skills – education work is a really important string to a professional musician’s bow! Junior Hothouse is running alongside the Advanced course and you will be supported to devise and deliver a short workshop for our younger participants!

You can watch a playlist of final videos of previous years’ students here:

Who’s It For?

For ages 16 – 25. You’ll be a competent musician or singer, keen to work at a higher level. You will have access to industry professionals, who will work with you to develop your skills and also offer advice in progressing your training. This is the course to do if you have aspirations of being a professional musician or educator.

How to Apply

Contact us for an application form. Please return your completed application with a deposit of £60 to secure your place.

We do all we can to offer bursary places to young people with exceptional talent or for whom the opportunity would be especially beneficial, but whose financial circumstances would otherwise exclude them from the programme. Email chiefexec@halswaymanor.org.uk if this is something you would like to discuss.

The Tutors

Amy Thatcher is a professional accordionist based in the North East of England. Her reputation as one of the UK’s leading folk accordionists, both as a performer and composer, is garnered from working with luminaries such as Kathryn Tickell, Sting and The Royal Northern Sinfonia, The Shee and Monster Ceilidh Band. “[Amy has become] my right hand woman” is how Tickell describes their working relationship over the last ten years.

Amy’s musical upbringing owes a lot to Stockport’s famous “Fosbrook’s Folk Education Trust” with whom she trained from the age of eight on accordion, fiddle, piano and clog dancing. Her education there concluded at age 18 but not before having been taught by, and recording with, accordion virtuoso Murray Grainger. That first now-infamous album, entitled “Paper Bird”, was recorded when she was just 16 years old.

From 18 onwards she continued her musical education in Newcastle on the prestigious Folk and Traditional Music degree course at Newcastle University.

Her exceptional accordion playing has taken her across the world from The Royal Albert Hall to the Rainforest World Music Festival in Malaysia, performing with small instrumental groups to full orchestras. She has a diverse range of musical influences and experiences, including contemporary avant-guard composer Terry Riley’s compositions to a hugely successful Leonard Cohen Tribute tour.
In 2009 Amy had the pleasure of collaborating with Sting on his Winter Song book and DVD, and contributed to his musical Broadway show “The Last Ship”.

She is poised to release her debut album “Solo”, featuring her own compositions, played on solo accordion… watch this space!


Will Lang (Lead Tutor) is a modern British Folk musician, composer and producer. He is well known for his collaborations, bringing a folk influence to many prolific performers including Mercury Music Award-winning Nitin Sawhney, The National Youth Choir of Great Britain, Tabla player Aref Durvesh and Northern Spirit Singers in the BBCs Choir of the year. It is his work in Folk and wider-reaching genres that enables Will to inspire musicians to discover Folk music and encourage them to explore the roots of their traditional music.

His most recent diversion has been joining world-renowned percussion sensation Spark! with whom he has been travelling the world.

Will is a former core tutor of Newcastle University’s Folk and Traditional Music degree, founded ‘Hothouse’ at Halsway Manor in 2010 and has been lead tutor ever since.