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Registered Charity No. 291319

Latest News

From Clare Griffel, Chair

Report for the year 2014-15 (based on the report delivered to the AGM)

This has been a good and very active year for SWEMF, with more workshops thanever, averaging one per month. We have had a mix of new and established tutors, and covered familiar and less familiar repertoire, notably in the Gregorian Chant workshop with Emma Hornby, on which there is a report elsewhere. We also have a dance event coming up in June, another innovation which I hope will be well supported.

None of this could happen without a great deal of work put in by workshop organizers and those who help on the day; more people have got involved in organization this year, which helps to spread the load, and the arrival on the website of the Guidelines for Workshop Organizers should help to make their task easier. This time last year we were concerned that we had no volunteer to fill the vacancy for a Diary Editor. Happily, that state of affairs was remedied when Lindsey offered her services, and you will have seen for yourselves what an excellent job she is doing, giving the Diary a fresh look, with some new items and the occasional issue involving colour. We’re grateful too to those of you who’ve agreed to receive the Diary electronically, saving us printing and postage costs and ultimately helping to keep subscriptions down.

We already have a number of promising workshops lined up for the next season; in fact, this year we have workshops scheduled right through the summer, with Peter Leech in Corsham in July and one of the ever-popular West Bay sessions in August. If you have any ideas for workshops - whether repertoire you’d like to explore, potential tutors or new venues - do let one of the Committee know.

This year we are losing three valued committee members. Mary Thomas, who as Devon rep has organised a whole series of much-appreciated workshops in Thorverton, is moving to East Anglia. We wish her every happiness in her new home, and hope that she may come back and see us occasionally. Sue Young, who has been the Bristol rep for about 25 years, and who held the fort admirably as Acting Membership Secretary when we were short of a permanent appointment to that rôle, is also stepping down. And Simon Pickard, who has been our treasurer for four years, is also vacating his post. We could not, I think, have had a better treasurer, and he leaves both the finances and the financial systems in excellent order. We’ve given all three of these colleagues a small thank-you gift from all of us. At the recent AGM, it was agreed that Mary should be replaced as Devon rep by Ann Hill and Chris Tully, who will share the rôle. As there are now several Bristol-based committee members, it was felt that we do not require a direct replacement for Sue. Jonathan Tribe was appointed as Honorary (i.e. non-member) Treasurer; we are grateful to him for agreeing to take this on. Simon’s departure does mean that we are short of a Gloucestershire rep, so if any of our members in that county would like to offer their services, I’d be pleased to hear from you.

I should like to thank all the members of the Committee for the work they put in. Good e-mail communication means that we don’t need to have too many physical meetings, but nevertheless there are often decisions to be made fairly quickly, and I appreciate the quick responses. I’m particularly grateful to Madeline, our Secretary, and to Dick Little, who keeps the website up to date. Dick has given notice that he intends to step down at the next AGM, so if anyone is interested in taking on the role of webmaster (or mistress!) do let us know. One interesting recent innovation on the website is the introduction of the ‘lonely hearts’ page, where members can make contact with one another to arrange playing opportunities. I hope this will be well used!

Finally I’d like to thank all of you, the members, for your support of SWEMF and ofour events - I think the organization is in good health, and we can look forward toanother year of excellent music-making. Meanwhile I wish you all a good summer - and if you are going to a summer school, why not write a report for the nextDiary?


From Lindsey Shaw-Miller, Diary Editor

We have some great workshops coming up! July brings Hassler with Peter Leech in Corsham, and the ever-popular West Bay workshop on August 1st, with Pam Smith, when the beach should be a serious post-musical attraction. We have some excellent reports from workshops that have happened this last quarter, from Emma Hornby’s pre-polyphonic chant workshop (I hope there might be more of these) to Bill Hunt’s head-clearing focus on just two verse anthems, explored in depth in Exeter.

I’m grateful to the editors of Tamesis, the TVEMF newsletter, for information about a new online resource for lutenists, launched in February by Cambridge University. The Crown Jewels of English Lute Music is a digital archive of handwritten copies of scores for the lute by English composers can be found here.

Enjoy your summer music!


New Web Page - Players Wanted and Playing Opportunities Sought

At the suggestion of Robert Hiller we are setting up a new web page to facilitate contact between members who wish to join a group to increase their playing opportunities or for groups looking for new members on either a permanent basis or for a specific occasion. We anticipate that it would work in a similar way to the current For Sale and Wanted Page for instruments and would be free to members. Please send your advert (no more than 50 words) asking for players to join your group or for you to join or set up a group to the Webeditor who will display it for three months or until you request it to be removed.


The South West Early Music Forum (SWEMF) is a charitable organisation promoting all aspects of early music in the South West of England. Its constitution can be found here. It is one of ten regional Fora, which cover most areas of the UK, and are affiliated to the National Early Music Association, NEMA, who have recently produced a report on the future of Early Music in Britain.

The South West Early Music Forum region includes Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire and brings together amateur and professional musicians, musicologists, teachers and pupils, instrument makers, and early music enthusiasts.

Throughout the year a series of workshops and playing and singing days are organised within the region where members have the opportunity to study works under the guidance of early music specialist tutors. These activities include Baroque Chamber Music Playing Days, Singing Days focusing on particular composers or periods, and Workshops preparing larger scale works for both voices and instruments etc.

SWEMF also organises a number of social events including the Annual General Meeting in May which is sometimes combined with a residential weekend providing ample opportunity for music making and the opportunity for members to voice their views and suggestions on the future operations of the Forum

Members receive a quarterly Diary of Events announcing future activities of SWEMF, and other EM Fora, and also concerts and other events both within the region and elsewhere. Application forms for forthcoming SWEMF events are included in the Diary of Events mailing and are also available on the website.

Membership forms can be printed from the website. The next subscriptions are due on 1st April 2015 for for 2015/2016. For details click here.

A Membership List (last issued with the March 2012 Diary) gives information concerning members' particular interests, instruments played, voices sung etc. so that they may arrange joint activities outside those organised directly by SWEMF.

This site is maintained and Dick Little. Please send any comments or suggestions for improvements to webeditor@swemf.org.uk. Suggestions for additional links are particularly welcome.

SWEMF Home Page |
SWEMF Home Page | SWEMF Events | Other (non-SWEMF) Early Music Events in SW | National and International EM Events
Reviews and Reports | Items for Sale and Wanted | Players Wanted and Playing Opportunities Sought | Information for Organising SWEMF Workshops
Links to other Early Music Fora | Other Early Music Links | Officers and Representatives | How to join

Last modified: 8 June 2015