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East Anglian Traditional Music Trust members were kept very busy at FolkEast.

East Anglian Traditional Music Trust in partnership with FolkEast presented the Vaughan Williams Folk Showcase, a National Lottery funded project.

Working with Finn Collinson and Emma Beach and with support from guest tutors Kate Griffin and Stu Hannah nine young musicians created inspirational new music based on the folk collections of Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Rapturous applause confirmed that the large audience had appreciated the performance. The Young Musicians also ran a workshop encouraging other youngsters to follow their lead.

Ethan Beale who has step danced since he was very young hosted  “stepping” workshops welcoming all ages and abilities to have a go. For those who really got the hang of it there was the chance to enter into a competition for best dancer.

The big event of the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust year was the Traditional Music Day held in Stowmarket on 2 September. We had never taken on quite such a large project before. The Mayor of Stowmarket, together with our Chairman, Ivan Cutting and the other Trustees officially opened the Music Day festivities, which took place in 15 venues around the centre of Stowmarket.

The John Peel Centre hosted guest performers all through the day. The evening concert featuring the very talented Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, Mossy Christian & Megan Wisdom (two young people who are making quite a name for themselves) also local artists Sound Tradition, Rosewood, and Mike Bettison & Dan Quinn with their music hall entertainment.

Meanwhile in The British Legion our interest was captured by the many varied memories and tales delivered by Ray Hubbard, legendary Suffolk Horseman and musician. Following on from Ray artists from Essex shared with us country songs and tunes. There was still more, music hall songs, more tales and the evening culminated in an informal concert featuring many East Anglian singers and musicians.

The Meadow Centre, Queens Head Pub, St Peter’s Church and The Market Square provided dance stands for our eleven energetic and colourful Morris teams. The festive atmosphere throughout the day led up to a grand finale in the Market Square. With tired legs but still filled with enthusiasm the Morris teams each did a last dance to the lively music which had pervaded the town centre all day. Milkmaid Molly from Bury St Edmunds invited the audience to join in a huge Circassian Circle dance and as many teams as possible joined in the final Cotswold dance of Bonny Green Garters. A great spectacle.

The Library opened its doors to an instrumental workshop with Rosewood. Megan Wisdom was there continuing her work collecting field recordings of singers currently involved in the local traditional music scene. Storyteller Justine de Mierre told local, national and international tales for audiences of all ages and in the courtyard there were puppet shows. 

St Peter’s Hall provided a venue for workshops in step dancing, broom dancing, melodeon, concertina and dulcimer playing.

The Pallet Bar had non stop entertainment by local singers and musicians, the opening performance being from Heather Bexon from Stowmarket.

We wish to offer huge thanks to The John Peel Centre, The British Legion, St Peter’s Hall, St Peter and St Paul’s Church, The Pallet Bar, The Walnut Pub, The Queens Head, The Boys Scouts Hall and the many other venues who kindly hosted sessions. Huge thanks also to all those who took part in providing entertainment, planning and organising both paid and voluntary workers all under the guidance of Alex Bartholowmew.  And thank you to the weather man for providing good weather.

We are already looking forward to an even better repeat of the event in September 2024.

We leave you with a reminder of our upcoming event at Walsham Le Willows Memorial Hall on 29 October. A two hour session of music, songs, dancing and tales. Free entry, spacing permitting and donations welcome. Doors open 1.30pm and performances begin 2pm finishing at 4pm. Looking forward to welcoming some of you there.

For more information take a look at our Website: eatmt.org.uk.