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Pack Up Your Troubles!


Roots Community singers
ROOTS Community Singers in action
at Newbold Primary School’s World War 2 Summer Fete

Trouble in any of its forms seemed very far removed from Newbold Primary School’s World War 2 Summer Fete, held at the school on Saturday, 28th June, 2014.   Nonetheless, ROOTS Community Singers did its level best to urge the many visitors to forget whatever their current problems were and cast their minds back to the dark days of the 1940s.
Donning period costume, the choir lead some rousing community singing of popular War time songs and also added a few of its own poignant harmonies in the form of Only Remember, Raise Your Voices and the lovely lyrical version of Home Lads with excellent solos provide by Brian Kendrick, Mark Knight and Goff Lewis.
A few of ROOTS Community Singers taking a break from the War Time Dance
A few of ROOTS Community Singers taking a break from the War Time Dance

The day was rounded off by a 40s evening dance headed up by Calling Time.
Here’s few more photos courtesy of Angela Soloman ready to do her duty in the Land Army!
Roots community singer
Angela Soloman taking a break from a spot of hoeing with nurse Sue Yomans in attendance in case of accidents!

Roots community singers
Blast from the past! More war time characters standing in line for
ROOTS Community Singers!

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Simply The Best!

Roots Community Singers at Ashby Arts Festival

Roots Community Singers were in fine voice at the 2014 Ashby Arts Festival prize giving with an eclectic mix of traditional English and world folk song being enthusiastically received by visiting dignities which included the town Mayor plus competition prize winners and their families.
The Royal Hotel – music and arts venue of 2004 Ashby Arts Festival

The high vaulted ceiling of the Royal Hotel helped to create a stunning sound which allowed the choir to perform its  songs to great advantage leading to a general consensus that this was the best performance yet.
Performing two sets either side of the prize giving there was a grand sense of occasion to the the event with each set being introduced by the town crier in full regalia!

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Under The Greenwood Trees

“Rootlings,” at Coleorton Parish Community Day, deep in Coleorton Wood!

Deep in the heart of Coleorton Woods, the annual Parish day saw a variety of community groups gather together to showcase their activities with the Rootling branch of ROOTS Community Singers providing some leafy entertainment during a glorious early summer day.
Under the leadership of Madeleine McCormick, the cut down version of the choir sang the appropriate Bushes and Briars, Under the Greenwood Tree, Linden Lee and Hal-an-Tow to a back drop of dappled shade and rustling spring greenery.

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Everyone Should Dance In The Rain At Least Once In Their Lives!

Dancing around the maypole at Folk On The Farm's May Day Revels
Dancing around the maypole at Folk On The Farm’s May Day Revels

Unfortunately our May Day Revels wasn’t the day to do it!  The weather was on the cool side, but at least it remained more or less dry and with true folky, hardiness we didn’t let a bit of chilliness dull our performance!
Maypole ribbons made a brave show in the evening breeze which were soon clutched by eager fingers and the children were keen dance too!  

ROOTS Community Singers were in fantastic form singing in the May with their three and four part harmonies which included the much practiced Seeds Of Love, Bushes & Briars, Lavender’s Blue, Searching For Lambs, the jaunty, but rather naughty Nelson’s Blood and the highly seasonal Hal-an-Tow.

The merry makers gathering "flowers" for May Day!
The merry makers gathering “flowers” for May Day!

This great May day song led into the Sweets of May, a brand new mummers play featuring the eternal story of birth, death and resurrection and a lot of over acting by the Merry Mummers who certainly pulled out the stops!
I’m still laughing at all the protracted deaths and swoons and as for Robin Hood … I certainly
A rather effete Robin Hood comes to the rescue!
A rather effete Robin Hood comes to the rescue!

didn’t expect to see him sporting a garter and a lace hanky in the greenwood!

Willow & Rowan who not only led the choir, but took part in the open mic
Willow & Rowan who not only led the choir, but took part in the open mic

Next up were our open micers who served up some great seasonal and not so seasonal songs, but all sung with warmth and feeling which did much to keep the chill at bay.  We even had some riddles from Rowan with prizes to boot!
Calling Time took over and soon had us dancing to some old time favourites which led to a few of us removing our coats and scarves!!

The resourceful Friar Tuck with his  "green magic"
The resourceful Friar Tuck with his “green magic”


The Queen of May and one of her suitors ... the Oak King!
The Queen of May and one of her suitors …
the Oak King!
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Seeds Of Love Finally Took Root On Youtube!

As all good folk lovers will know, many of our traditional songs were collected by a gentleman called Cecil Sharp.  To celebrate this wonderful achievement which helped to preserve a huge part of our musical heritage, the BBC folk show stage a Cecil Sharp folk collection.
Singers and musicians were invited to submit one of three of Mr Sharp’s earliest collected songs or tunes.  Roots chose The Seeds of Love which was arranged for three part harmony by the choir’s musical director, Willow Songsmith.
Unfortunately, we were too late for inclusion on the BBC folk show website, but not Youtube which is the window of the world!
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A Rollicking Good Tales & Ales!

the sorry tale of Barry & Freda ...
Ann Dawson sings the sorry tale of Barry & Freda!

What a great night Tales & Ales turned out to be!  Over 40 choir members, their partners and friends packed into the Gelsmoor for a wonderful evening of music, singing, stories and poetry.
Our regular soloists were well to the fore with some great new material on offer ranging from the comic, to the poignant and even venturing on the dark side.
We had Ann with an hilarious version of Victoria Woods, Let’s Do It! (In dialect of course!)  Madeleine, gave us a beautiful rendition of The Witch Of Northumberland, which definitely needs to be heard again and Brian K shocked everyone, including his wife by singing solo during the Prickle-eye Bush!  Ably supported by Jane and Ruth all three were on fiddle but managed to sing at the same time.
Brian, Ruth & Jane performing the Prickle-eye Bush
Brian Kendrick, Ruth Gillespie & Jane Reynolds performing the Prickle-eye Bush

Chris along with husband Ken, Jane M, Ann’s daughter Emma, Julie C and John S all contributed some lovely songs many of which got everyone singing along. It was particularly nice to hear Jane M and Chris singing solo for the first time and an excellent job they made of it too.
Mention needs to be made of Mary, Madeleine, Ruth and Linda who made an excellent job of May Your Cup … sang in honour of Sue K’s birthday who was very impressed by the effort!
Mary White, Linda Baraniak, Ruth Gillespie and Madeleine McCormick sing May Your Cup ...
Mary White, Linda Baraniak, Ruth Gillespie and Madeleine McCormick sing May Your Cup …

As befitting the occasion, poets and storytellers made their mark with Shelagh, by virtue of Pam Ayres, urging us to look after our teeth.  Brian C caused some hearty belly laughs with his very well told tale of woe involving two Scottish ladies and a toilet seat while Jane’s husband Gordon must take the prize for the shortest story ever told in just six words!
For something completely different we had new member, Boyd treating us to some Native American drumming
New member Boyd get's into the thick of things with a spot of drumming!
New member Boyd get’s into the thick of things with a spot of drumming!

while Andy brought us closer to home with a lovely waltz played on classical guitar.
You wouldn’t think it could get any better, but yes!  There was also a fine supper of pizza and chips washed down with plenty of Gelsmoor Gold!

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ROOTS Carol Tour

roots community singers
ROOTS Community Singers touring local pubs
during their carol tour!

After a very busy run up to Christmas we still managed a fine turn out of members for our last festive gig, the annual pub carol tour!
We visited the New Inn, Peggs Green, the Bull’s Head, Worthington, the Waggon & Horses, Griffy Dam, the Cross Keys, Newbold and finished up at the Gelsmoor for a delicious pizza supper.
We raised £117.14 for Home Start Charnwood.  A special, very big thank you to Gordon White, one of our non-singing members who spent the evening shaking the tin and of course, everyone who put something in it!

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When We Went A Wassailing!

winter wassail
Roots Community Singers performing to a packed hall at the Winter Wassail, Sir John Moore School, Appleby Magna.

The beautiful, historic hall of the Sir John Moore School, Appleby Magna was the venue for ROOTS Community Singers Winter Wassail and a more fitting place you would be hard put to find!
The oak panelled hall, complete with minstrels’ gallery and winter greenery provided a superb acoustic and medieval setting for our programme of Christmas carols and seasonal songs.
the yarnsmith of norwich
Storyteller, Dave Tonge, otherwise the
Yarnsmith of Norwich relaxing between spots!

Donning medieval costume to fit in with top of the bill, storyteller Dave Tonge, aka The Yarnsmith of Norwich ROOTS, as usual were in top form with an eclectic selection of Christmas songs.  These nicely complimented The Yarnsmith’s stories of Arthurian daring do and humorous riddles.
winter wassail
You can’t have a wassail without food and drink!
We both in plenty!

Interspersed between the courses of a delicious medieval supper provided by the village pub, The Black Horse, the evening sped by in a jolly round of hearty singing both from the choir and the audience and the somewhat bawdy humour from our storyteller!
Finally, here’s what we sounded like!
Here We Come A Wassailing!

Shepherds Arise!


The Boar’s Head

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And Did Those Feet!

vanessa turner
Vanessa performing for Coleorton W.I. at their Christmas party, 2013

The first airing of our Christmas songs went down a treat at Coleorton W.I.’s Christmas party.  The choir was on top form and our new soloists performed really well.
Vanessa performed a beautiful, Christmassy sole, accompanying herself on guitar and Jane, Sandra and Madeleine treated us to a lovely performance of the Field Mice Carol.  Members of the W.I. also treated us to a nice selection of seasonal poems and readings and to round off a lovely evening we joined the ladies for a rousing rendition of Jerusalem.
Here’s a video clip of Sandra & Madeleine in action!
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Super Scarecrow Supper!

Brian and Sue Kendrick
John Barleycorn alias Brian Kendrick
and his personal prompt Sue!

David Bennett
David Bennett as the Green Man
gets his priorities right!


What a great evening the Scarecrow Harvest Supper turned out to be!  The room was packed, the audience appreciative and performances top O! 

Held in Newbold Primary school, the event marked the end of the week long village scarecrow festival and was a joint venture between ROOTS Community Singers and the village primary school which took care of catering.

willow songsmith
Willow Songsmith, musical director, ROOTS community choir

ROOTS provided all entertainment and were in fine voice performing a varied repertoire of old favourites and new material including the slightly chilling, but seasonally evocative, Scarecrow.  The wonderfully subtle harmonies written by Willow Songsmith, elicited appreciative comments from several audience members.

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The revisited Lavender’s Blue and the old favourite, Bushes and Briars and Love Carry Me Home all proved a hypnotic, but aptly fitting finale to the set.

The choir set was followed by our soloists who seem to get better each event with riddles, poems, songs and storytelling adding an eclectic mix of humour and pathos to the evening.

Madeleine treats us to a fine rendition
of Vincent

rowan songsmith
Rowan gets us all scratching our heads with a few riddles!

Our very first mummers play had its inaugural airing and certainly brought some budding thespians out of the closet!  You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down is another take on the John Barley Corn life/death/rebirth cycle and proved to be a hilarious caper of forgotten lines, extravagant melodrama and shameful over acting!

Ann Dawson as the queen of may
Ann Dawson hamming up
the Queen Of May!

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John Siditus
John Siditus wild about the mountain thyme

Pictures they say are worth a thousand words so here’s a few more!

Sandra and Wendy having a bit
of Halloween fun!