Strange Spring Times
We hope that first and foremost this newsletter finds you all safe and as well as can be expected in these difficult times. As with everyone worldwide, the brakes have been applied here at Trust HQ and plans put on hold until there becomes an obvious pathway out. We spare a thought for all of our supporters and Friends who have lost loved ones – virus related or not, for those who are working in key roles to get us through our days of Lockdown and Self Isolation and we equally spare a thought to those who are self employed, or haven’t managed to be furloughed and have slipped through the net of emergency Government support. There are so many groups of people that should be in our thoughts in these times, perhaps it’s easier to say ‘Be Kind, Be Thankful and Be Thoughtful’ to one and all.
Everyone deals with difficult times in different ways. For many, the ‘feel goods’ that have come out of these difficult times have come from a wide group of people who will have been hit immediately and who will continue to be hit once we slowly open our doors and step outside and that is those of the artistic community. Musicians, Dancers, Artists and Storytellers. From the outset, the immediate giving of their creative skills has been very generous and most welcomed by millions of people across the world. When we are able re start our lives, it is with hope that changes for the good are made and that must surely include a kickstart from world leaders to the lifeline that Arts has been and continues to be across the Globe.
You don’t have to look too far on Facebook and Youtube for musical happiness and there are several sessions, live concerts, festivals, tune swaps etc that are well worth a look. It’s even possibly worth signing up to Facebook just for these times if you’re not a fan and not on this social media platform. Mardles.org is doing a grand job of keeping us up to date with what is going on and the East Trust facebook page (which is the main one used for liking and sharing on behalf of EATMT) will continue to like and share these as and when they crop up.
For many, May 1st and the rising of the sun in particular on this day, represents Spring. It wasn’t to be the usual traditional seeing in of Spring 2020 but Friend and supporter Rita Gallard put pen to paper and created a poem for the Kemp’s Men (Norwich Morris side) and asked another Friend, Alan Helsdon to find some suitable music to set it to. You can see and hear the end result here.
A very special donation
Steve and Marilyn Monk’s daughter Rachel recently approached local shanty singer Kieron Fitzgerald with her father’s concertina. Kieron, who is a member of Capstan Full Strength, approached Mike Acott, fellow Shanty band member and concertina restorer and in agreement with Rachel, and after Mike has made some alterations, it will be donated to the Trust. We are delighted at this touch and in due course will announce the Trust’s plans for this gift.
On Hold, Rescheduled or Cancelled?
Rescheduled or on hold:
Our stall at Mardles’ event Wind & Strings in Beccles was understandably unable to go ahead but they have re scheduled for April 2021.
Our Jig Doll project involving Stowupland High School, Jig Doll dance training and visits to Care Homes in Stowmarket is also on hold. Because this involves a very vulnerable section of our community it may be that a completely different approach to fulfilling this project within this financial year and getting the dolls in and dancing might be needed but we’ll continue to watch and see.
Ruddock Bursaries 2020-2021
We had received a number of applicants for this financial year’s Bursaries, and again, this is on hold until the Trust is in a better position to make any further decisions.
Molly Dance Project
After an awful lot of research and preparation in particular from Nicky Stockman and Gordon Philips, our application was sent off to the Heritage Lottery Fund while funds were still being accepted but understandably these funds have been re directed to Emergency Funding for their current fund holders and so for the moment, this is also on hold.
Rather than make decisions quite yet, we’re holding fire and waiting to see how things pan out regarding the Trust’s September Song day on 19th September. When we can bring more definite news, we will. For a reminder of the details announced so far regarding this event, and updates regarding others that were planned please check out our Events Page. We will continue to update the website with any further developments.
Strumpshaw Tree Fair were waiting for the latest Government updates and the organisers have now taken the decision to cancel their event for this year and so along with this we include Stepdance Day to that cancellation.
Folk East The organisers of this lovely festival, like many, have also held on before this announcement, but there comes a point when crucial decisions have to be made and so this too is a recent casualty of these times.
We will keep the Events page updated with any alternative arrangements for these events.
We have the very sad news of three deaths to report of. Folk Club organiser and singer Dave Cooper died in early March having been terminally ill for some time. Folk musician Chris Morley died towards the end of April also having been diagnosed with a terminal illness and news has just reached us of Ian Prettyman‘s death.
You can read about their contributions to the East Anglian traditional music scene on the website:
Dave Cooper appears on the Musicians Profile page;
Chris Morley appears on the News page while we collate information about the East Suffolk Country Band which Chris was a member of. If you would like to contribute to a future article about this band please do get in touch.
Ian Prettyman appears also on the News page with a write up by Katie Howson and in due course we will add more details about his contribution to the East Anglian Traditional Music scene on the Musicians Profile page.
It is apparent now more than ever, online resources are of huge benefit. Although Trust HQ is accessible due to Alex working mostly alone there and on the site of a currently closed museum, much more work from home is being done and so these times allow for more work on the Trust’s Website.
Volunteer Alan Helsdon has been also working remotely and has very generously started sharing some of his valuable research of music, dances and musicians from Norfolk.
Several new pages have been added across the site as a result of Lockdown and limitations.
Music for a Troubled Time
The first and temporary page created is called Music for a Troubled Time. It is a page promoting the work of musicians’ CDs which have been launched during Lockdown and whose hope it was to promote these new releases over the Spring and Summer festivals which have rapidly become victims of the Covid-19 crisis.
There are currently just two newly released albums on this page. If you would like something added, or you think someone else might be interested, please do get in touch. Time and workforce is as ever limited but we will do everything we can to include work of musicians involved with Traditional Music in East Anglia.
The folk song collector and musician from Norwich, Joan Roe has been added to this section on the website as has the late Dave Cooper. Neither of these profiles, nor indeed many of them that appear on the website can be added without the help and research and knowledge of other people and we are indebted for time taken by others to help preserve the memory of people who have contributed to the East Anglian Traditional Music scene.
We would like to try to include more influential and respected musicians from across the region so if anyone feels they might be interested in contributing to an article on this page, please do contact the Trust – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back in 2012, co founding director Katie Howson produced an article on the website about the Gray’s Tune Book from Bury St Edmunds. From this old manuscript each tune was either copied or re written into a more “folk friendly” key and pictures uploaded onto the website. These pictures are gradually being replaced with a free downloadable pdf and the aim is to also have a short soundfile of the tune so it caters for those who play by ear and for those who play with the ‘dots’.
There is an explanation on the Old Collections page regarding limited length of sound files and a basic theory lesson so it is hopefully possible to make sense of all of the resources on offer. It’s a work in progress, but do have a look.
Added to the Archive Collections is an index of the Bolingbroke Collection, with the Goffe Collection and Watson Collection being worked on currently (which will be accessible in the Archive section). All three have been researched into by Alan Helsdon with the help of a few friends over several years. These are Norfolk based old Tune Books.
In an ideal world, old manuscripts from other areas of East Anglia would be good to add or mention. The Trust can facilitate this if any of you have done the work and have nowhere to show it. If work has been made available online already, then we will happily promote this and attach links to share the findings of such hard work. Do get in touch!
Pat Pickles’ Jig Doll Archive
The indexing for this has now been completed whilst in Lockdown and once restrictions ease, digital copies will be made of the archives and gradually these will be uploaded onto the website.
Book sales and Instrument Hire
Now is a great time to gem up on those tunes or read or both. Check out our online shop. Or how about learning an instrument? With access to the office, posting books is not an issue and neither is sorting out melodeon or concertina hire. Now has never been a better time!
2020-2021 Support Continues
We are delighted to have received funding once again from Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Council, who despite being aware that it will be unlikely we will be able to fulfil our planned events for this financial year, have promised their continued support.
We are also delighted to have received one off funding from the Suffolk based Scarfe Charitable Trust.
We have very recently learned that the Trust has been unsuccessful in gaining any emergency funding from Arts Council England and CAF which we had applied for in order to put in place a stronger website database to support the substantial amount of archiving material we should be able to work on during these times. The aim is to offer our supporters access to archives from the world of East Anglian traditional music and dance in some way if can’t offer it physically for the time being. But we also need to ensure it’s safe and secure. We’ll keep persevering though!
Please do get in touch if you would like to get involved. We rely heavily on volunteers but more than that, we rely heavily on your knowledge based input. We’d love to hear from you!
Supporter thanks for 2020-21
The Scarfe Charitable Trust
The Alfred Williams Charitable Trust
Friends and Supporters of EATMT Friends
As ever, we are extremely grateful to our supporters who have taken out a Friends’ membership with EATMT. This is an annual subscription of £15 and since its existence has been a vital part of our income. In addition, we are able to claim back Gift Aid through this scheme. Your support is invaluable and is very much appreciated.
If you’re not yet a Friend or if you are a lapsed Friend, please do consider joining/re joining. You will benefit from cheaper event tickets and early bird booking as well as knowing that your contribution to the Trust helps keep traditions alive. Find our Friends’ membership form here.
Please also be aware that if you are a Friend and pay by standing order, if you have been affected financially by the current circumstances, then you will need to contact your bank to cancel this if you feel this is necessary. We hope it isn’t but sometimes, needs must.
Other ways to help
EATMT is a member of Recycle4charity. If you are working from home, you will likely be using up the ink in your home printers far quicker than normal. These can be recycled. If you would like some envelopes for you to send your used inkjet cartridges away in order to raise extra funds for EATMT, please get in touch and we’ll send some in the post to you.