Following a fabulous summer singing weekend in June, Paul Sartin (Belshazzar’s Feast, Faustus, Bellowhead) & Lester Simpson (Coope, Boyes and Simpson, Narthen), plus host Meg Rose, return to Halsway for another weekend of song. In response to requests at the previous course, this time the team will take you through the process of finding songs and source material, through to final performance!
Using the library at Halsway as our inspiration we will begin by looking at the tradition and a variety of sources for interesting songs, fragments, stories and tunes. We will then explore the possibilities of re-working material, joining song fragments together, adding to or editing existing songs, adapting texts and tunes, discussing what might need alteration and what should be left alone.
Once we have found our muse and created something we’ll then look at sympathetic ways of arranging it both accompanied and unaccompanied so bring your voices and your instruments.
The finale will be to sing and play what we have created together!
The weekend offers an informative and enjoyable whistle-stop journey from page to performance; we hope you’ll go home inspired to seek-out and develop repertoire of your own!
Who’s it For?
Singers of all levels of experience and ability are welcome, as are singer-musicians; the weekend will look at both at arranging vocal harmony, and approaching instrumental accompaniment for song.
Paul Sartin is a singer, oboist, fiddler, member of Belshazzar’s Feast, Faustus (Preis der Deustchen Schallplattenkritik 2017) and the late BBC award-winning Bellowhead. He was a Choral Scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, then subsequently a Lay Clerk at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, and preferred Bass Deputy in Winchester Cathedral Choir. Paul directs the Andover Museum Loft Singers, and arranged Community Choirs Folk (Faber Music). A BASCA-nominated composer, recent commissions include work for the BBC, RSC, Aldeburgh Music, and the Southbank. He arranged and MD’d The Transports (Guardian *****), and Anthony and Cleopatra, As You Like It and Cymbeline for Central School of Speech and Drama. He is a recipient of a 75th Anniversary Award from the English Folk Dance and Song Society.
Lester Simpson: In 1993, three blokes from South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, with a name like a firm of solicitors, released an album of acappella songs full of social comment and (in the words of Folk Roots) ‘harmonies you could chew’. They were, of course, Coope Boyes and Simpson, and the album was Funny Old World. Q Magazine named it as their Roots Album of the Year in 1994. Twenty three years later, with a career that encompassed at least a dozen albums, numerous tours and festival appearances, as well as a Folk Awards nomination, Coope Boyes and Simpson released their final studio album ‘Coda’ and bid audiences farewell in a 2017 finale tour.
He may have hung-up his touring shoes, but Lester continues to sing and share his love for traditional song. He currently runs four choirs in Derbyshire and Staffordshire, and has a wealth of harmony arrangements, mostly in English and many drawn from the folk tradition and Coope Boyes and Simpson’s repertoire. He was an extremely popular and inspiring guest leader at the 2019 Halsway ‘Give Voice’ weekend, and we’re delighted to welcome him back!