Taking a break from rehearsing our latest harmonies, Roots Community Singers held a half term fuddle/social evening which included a pasty making challenge!
Proving that singing and cooking go hand in hand we had a fantastic entry of savoury pasties which gave the hard pressed judges a difficult time in deciding a winner. The honours went to one of our tenors, Jane Reynolds with her selection of vegetarian offerings.
The rest of the evening was given over to in-house entertainment. Having been banned from mentioning death, desertion or destitution in any song, story or poem the company formed themselves into four groups each of which led a rousing chorus song.
These were interspersed with some excellent individual performances including some hilarious stories and jokes.
It’s the start of a New Year which means ROOTS Community Singers will begin rehearsing a whole new repertoire of songs for the various projects and performances which are already beginning to take shape during the coming months.
ROOTS resumes its practice sessions on Tuesday, 6th January so If you’ve ever thought about joining a choir this represents a great time to give it a try as all the new material will be taught from scratch.
The community choir, which specialises in English and world folk song sung in two, three and four part harmony meet each Tuesday evening in the mobile classroom at Newbold, Coleorton primary school from 7.00 pm – 9.00 pm and welcomes new members.
Musical Director Willow Songsmith, subscribes to the principles of the Natural Voice Practitioners Association which maintains the premise that everyone can sing given the right support and encouragement which is what you will certainly get with ROOTS!
Unlike many of the more formal choirs in the area, ROOTS places the emphasis firmly on fun so each session begins with a short physical warm up and a memory teasing round. Songs are then taught by ear with short phrases of the various parts being sung back after demonstration by the Musical Director. There are no auditions and no one is asked to sing solo unless they want to.
Everyone is encouraged to learn all the parts and once the song has been learnt, choose the part they like the best. This method ensures everyone is kept occupied and stretched and is a very quick way of learning songs.
The first session is free. There after each session is £5. Just turn up at the school or ring Sue 07981 356388
The run up to Christmas proved a hectic and varied experience for ROOTS Community Singers when they were invited to take part in a range of widely differing gigs. Never ones to back down from a challenge, the choir stepped up to the mark and turned in some sterling performances. This was in spite of having less time to rehearse Christmas material due to the addition of the Only Remembered concert staged during November.
National Forest Leaving Do! The National Forest said
goodbye to its current director, Sophie Churchhill, at the beginning of the month and invited ROOTS to sing her out! With very little notice, (less than a week!) a cut down version of the choir managed to complete the brief and had a lot of fun in the process and even persuaded Sophie to join in with a rousing rendition of Nelson’s Blood!
Soupa Saturday Christmas Special – The mobile classroom at Newbold school was bursting at the seems for the start of the festivities with the choir entertaining villagers and visitors while they enjoyed homemade soup, fresh rolls and delicious puddings all made by the good ladies of the parish.
Deck The Walls saw the first airing of the choir’s range of folk carols which introduced the original versions of old favourites such as While Shepherds Watched to a largely uninitiated audience. This concert took place at Viscount Beaumont school, Coleorton and ROOTS were joined by the school choir and several individuals who together, produced a lovely, traditional Christmas experience. The concert proceeds were split between the school and a project to restore the walls of the adjacent, historic St. John’s church.
Calke Abby Christmas Lights Labyrinth was the first of the season’s out door venues for ROOTS. The cold and damp not withstanding, this proved an enjoyable occasion with members out in force and lots of great feed back from the public. The choir sang in two sessions, the second entertaining children and parents lining up for a visit to Santa!
Staunton Harold Stables Festive Sunday featured the choir alternating with a brass band which proved a lot of fun and was well received by the visitors. Another bitingly cold day, but this didn’t seem to detract from the singing which was jolly enough to provoke a few of the younger audience members to dance around the Christmas tree! The choir’s band of loyal supporters was out in force which was very much appreciated especially as one quipped that there had originally been more of them, but a couple had needed airlifting to hospital due to exposure!
Solstice Walk & Party – A really great day when choir members, friends and supporters turned out in force
to see the sunset from Breedon Hill. The walk began at the Noon Pillar at Staunton Harold and finished at the lofty high point with some morris dancing and a rendition of May The Long Time Sun Shine Upon You.
Mumming At The Mutton – This was a last minute edition to the gig list, but proved a great evening of singing and slapstick fun! The Shoulder of Mutton, Oakthorpe is no stranger to folk music as it hosts the Scragg End Folk Club so a contingent of Roots
members and supporters were delighted to take part in this Christmas Eve event. They performed a short mummers play whose actors managed to spin out their three or four lines to great effect and led some community singing both outside the pub and inside.
The pub showed its appreciation by supplying mulled wine and mince pies which went down very well on a cold night!
A few more photos …
A contingent of singers from the folk choir, ROOTS Community Singers will be show casing their thespian skills, or more likely lack of them at the Shoulder Of Mutton pub, Oakthorpe this Christmas Eve.
The merry band will be performing a new mummers play specially written for the season which features some good old folk characters in the shape of the Holly & Oak Kings, the lord of mis-rule and a somewhat unsavoury character known as Greasy Joan!
The play will be performed as part of a community carol sing in the square outside Oakthorpe’s characterful pub, the Shoulder Of Mutton at 7.30 pm with the festive fun continuing inside with more music and singing so if the thought of another evening staring at the box makes you shudder, come and join in the fun!
The British Legion and Help For Heroes both benefitted from the Armistice Day tribute concert stage by ROOTS Community Singers. Approximately £140 was shared between the two organisations which exist to help injured and ex-service men resume normal civilian lives.
The concert consisted of songs, music, stories and poems performed by the choir and individuals set against a visual show of World War 1 & 2 photographs.
Staged at the Royal British Legion, Melbourne, the performance was enthusiastically received with many of the audience admitting to be quite moved by the experience.
Roots were joined by special guests John and Sheila Bentham from Soar Valley storytellers who performed a unique set detailing the exploits of Songster, the Loughborough war horse.
For those of you that haven’t yet picked up the news, Flying Donkeys, the Derby storytelling club, and the Storytellers of Nottingham have merged, and a new “super” club has been formed!
They are now “Tales from Two Cities” – which will operate in Derby and Nottingham.
They are still at the Voicebox on Forman Street in Derby, and at the Lord Roberts pub in Broad St, Hockley in Nottingham but we now run on the 4th Wed of the month and will be alternating venues between Derby and Nottingham each month.
They have a new website – www.talesfromtwocities.co.uk which contains the full details of their new programme. They also have a blog and details of how to find both venues.
All three were in abundance during ROOTS Community Singers’ weekend visit to the southern lakes. In fact our camp site was situated on the top of an under ground reservoir with lovely views of Morcombe bay in one direction and brooding, cloud topped Ingleborough hill in another.
Arriving on Friday night we were lucky enough to miss the forcasted rain and soon had the tents up and kitted out!
As it was Madeleine’s birthday there was CAKE! Enough to sink a battle ship!
We seemed to avoid the rain except during the night and temperatures rose during the day.
It wouldn’t have been a problem though as we had the use of a super cabin complete with wood burning stove as a communal area.
The party split the following day with half of us tackling Ingleborough Hill including an unscheduled 5
mile detour and the rest visiting the Ingleton waterfalls and the millions of access steps, (according to Sandra!)
Ian took charge of the evening BBQ which included CAKE! Lemon Drizzle, Farm house fruit, cherry & almond bake, banoffee pie etc, etc!
Sunday saw ROOTS enjoying a leisurely day afloat on Lake Windermere followed by a ramble around Madeleine’s family farm and a fish and chip supper at the famous Arnside chippy!
Liberally supplied with various tipples and CAKE we entertained ourselves
with songs, stories, poems and music and yes … CAKE!
A superb weekend, many thanks to Madeleine for organising and her family for making us so welcome and ministering to our needs.
Here’s few more photos of what we got up to
After taking a break over the summer, ROOTS Community Singers restart practice sessions on Tuesday, 2nd September, 7.00 pm – 9.00 pm at Newbold, Coleorton primary school.
The choir regularly attracts up to 30 members a session, sings a wide ranging repertoire consisting of English and world folk songs most of which are sung in three or four part harmony, mainly arranged by musical director Willow Songsmith.
Open to all comers, no musical knowledge is needed as all parts are taught by ear although the score is available to those who prefer to use the dots!
The first session is free, there after £5 per meeting.
Turn up on the night or ring Sue: 07981 356388
Shepshed Folk Club will be re-starting monthly singarounds at its previous venue, the Black Swan, Loughborough Road, Shepshed, LE12 9DL, on Friday 15 August, then (hopefully) the 3rd Friday of every month.
Gather from around 8:00 pm for 8:30 start.
Contact details – Peter Soar – phone 01509 828340 or e-mail
If you are in tune with the agrarian calendar you’ll know that Lammas marks the start of the corn harvest and is traditionally celebrated on the 1st August or there abouts.
For ROOTS Community Singers Lammas came early this year due to the choir finishing for its summer break.
Celebrating with family and friends a lively social was held under canvas with lots of food, music, stories and poems contributed by choir members and friends.
As Lammas is all about corn, bread and flour, a bread making challenge was set with some mouth watering loaves contributing to the Lammas supper. Judged by Calling Time who joined us for the evening, the fiercely fought contest was won by Carin Paap-ter Horst, (savory) and Alison Darwent (sweet), a stunning effort which tasted every bit as good as it looked!
Harvest is also about corn dollies which for the uninitiated are twisted talismans of corn stalks used as good luck charms. Jane Reynolds demonstrated how to make a simple design which everyone was then invited to replicate. Jane Mack was a worthy winner and is now assured of a garden over flowing with abundance!
Finally, you can’t have a Lammas Ale without a drop of … er ale! This keg of home brew went down a treat!