We were extremely saddened at the loss of Pete Hendy last year, who, together with wife Marj, ran this and many other events at Halsway over the years. We’ve decided the best way to celebrate his legacy is to continue in his sizeable footsteps, treading a merry path between encyclopedic folk knowledge and dedicated silliness (we’ll try at least!). The team are planning on a similar format to previous Winter Warmers, with a similar range of activities: dances, dance workshops, music workshops, games, quizzes, singing, craft activities, and hopefully a walk or two, depending on the weather.
We’ve a team of faces both new and familiar: Sue Irving has agreed to host the event and lead some fun and games to keep everyone relaxed and entertained; Madeleine Smith – well known to many as a friendly and knowledgeable caller – will lead the dancing, assisted David Capron; musicians Dampiers’ Round (Peter & Moira Gutteridge) will be back, leading music for dancing and also offering workshops for musicians. We’re delighted that Marj Hendy has agreed to join us too, and she’ll be helping with the activities and will be calling some of the dances. There will also be opportunities for anyone attending to call a dance or run an activity, if they so wish.
“A friendly relaxed atmosphere, and lots to do – for me, a perfect Winter ‘pick-me-up’” Participant
There will be a range of activities to keep you entertained including daily music and dance workshops, plus afternoon activities and walks for those who want to get out into the fresh air. Dances every evening, with the option for you to play in the band or call a dance should you so wish, before retiring to the bar to enjoy the convivial relaxed atmosphere of the manor.
Who’s it For?
Everyone! The week offers a varied programme including folk dance, music and song, games, quizzes and fun, and all levels of experience are welcome to come and join a fun and sociable winter folk break. Bring instruments if you have them and would like to play.
Sue Irving began playing folk fiddle and participating in folk dancing in Worcestershire, towards the end of her career in education. Happily, Sue can now enjoy a second career in the world of folk music, putting her sense of merriment and imagination into helping run and participate in folk events, as well as playing with her local bands for dances. Sue has been a frequent guest at Halsway, often on courses run by Dampier’s Round and Madeleine Smith caller, so is delighted to be a member of the team for this year’s Winter Warmer.
Madeleine Smith learned her art from some outstanding teachers, including Pat Shaw and Ethyl Anderson. She is known for her clear calling and teaching, her sense of fun, and her ability to use her extensive knowledge of country dancing and its historical context to create interesting workshops and dance programmes. As a musician, she works on the principle that ‘dance is music made visible’, and puts the tune, phrasing and rhythm at the centre of her teaching.
Moira and Peter Gutteridge are the Worcester-based dance band Dampiers’ Round, well known at Folk Festivals and Dance events round the country. They will be leading music workshops as well as playing for dancing. Multi-instrumentalists both, between them they play fiddle, harp, guitars, mandolin and flute (and probably more besides), they enjoy helping players of all instruments and abilities to discover and develop their skills playing together in mixed-instrument ensembles. They will no doubt be helping Sue, Madeleine and David with the fun and games, and lead a walk or two, weather permitting.
David Capron is a dance caller from around the Home Counties. He calls a mixed range of dances – a bit of everything, enjoyable for everyone – and is continually adding more dances to his ‘repertoire’. David regularly attends the ‘Linsleighders’ Dance Club in Linslade, Leighton Buzzard, calling dances alongside other club members, and he also calls for dance clubs around Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. He is looking forward to helping make the Winter Warmer as enjoyable as it always has been!