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Narthen: Carolling and Beyond 2023

Friday 15 Dec 4pm — Sunday 17 Dec 4pm, 2023

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


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

  • £285– single ensuite room
  • £245– sharing an ensuite room
  • £245– single non-ensuite room
  • £195– sharing non-ensuite room

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

  • £185

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

  • £175

We’re delighted to welcome (most of) Narthen back to Halsway for a joyous fifth weekend of polyphonic unaccompanied singing in four part harmony, with a tutor to lead each section of the choir. The team this year will be Fi Fraser, Sarah Matthews, Doug Eunson, all members of Narthen, with special guest Oli Matthews.

Yes, there’s a notable missing person. Jo Freya will be very much with you in spirit and hopes to pop in virtually to hear some songs when you’ve completed them but is currently undergoing treatment for a recurrence of her blood cancer, and will be in hospital in December. Her prognosis is good and she hopes to be back in the full swing of things sometime in the new year.

The weekend will explore some of the beautiful Yorkshire and Derbyshire carols and other festive fair, for which Narthen are so well known. We have a fantastic array of songs for you as always and we are particularly excited about it being a more ‘festive celebration’, being that little bit nearer to Christmas. Mince pies will be welcome, but be warned, the puritans who banned Christmas once termed them “Relics of the whores of Babylon”!

Fi, Sarah and Doug have all worked on these lovely weekends in the past, and although you may know less about Oli, we’re delighted that he’ll be joining the team. Check out his biography below to find out all about him!

Who is it for?

Singers of all levels of experience who want to have fun singing in harmony! You do not need to be able to read music; it may be provided for some songs but you will have time to learn the parts by ear and use the scores as a guide. The songs are meant to be sung with men’s and women’s voices on all parts. You may come thinking you’re a bass singer and end up doubling the soprano line. You may be a soprano on one song and a tenor on another. There are no rules! Whether you like to sing bass, alto, tenor or soprano or move around between those you’re welcome.

The Team

We’ll be welcoming members of Narthen: Fi Fraser (The Old Fashioned/ Polka Works), Sarah Matthews (Moirai, Intarsia, Cupola) and Doug Eunson (Cupola).

The term ‘Narthen’ is akin to ‘Now then’, ‘what gives’ , ‘what’s happening now?’. Narthen sing and play the songs and tunes that reflect their individual personalities and tastes. From the tradition through to modern times, anything goes, and that material is expressed through vocal harmony and a large variety of instruments. All sing, all play, expect the unexpected!!! They’ll be joined by…

Oli Matthews – Saxophonist, Melodeon Player, Vocalist, Composer, Musician

Midlands-based Musician and Composer Oli is trained in Jazz, Folk and Classical genres. Deeply rooted in the Folk and Jazz scene playing with bands such as David Gibb Band, Cupola, Steamchicken, and now founding the Oli Matthews Band, defining the cross-genre style of Folk Funk Compositions. Oli has extensive experience in vocal harmony singing, having sung everything from Bass in Handel’s Messiah in York Minster, through to close 3-part and 4-part harmony whilst working with Cupola and Cupola:Ward (in collaboration with Lucy Ward). In addition to this, he has led many vocal harmony workshops across the UK and Canada, and toured worldwide with a range of top artists, writing new compositions performed by the likes of Paul Sartin, Rob Harbron and Karen Tweed, to name but a few.