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Registered Charity No. 291319

Latest News

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.

From Clare Griffel, Chair

Regular visitors to the SWEMF website will have noticed that recently, a new item, SWEMF workshop organization, has appeared. This document, which represents the distilled experience of committee members and a number of regular workshoporganizers, has been put together to provide guidance to anyone organizing a workshop, particularly first-time organizers. We hope it will encourage more people to offer to arrange workshops, so if there is a tutor you’d particularly like to invite, or a repertoire that you want to explore, why not consider doing the organization yourself? The guidance is never going to be totally watertight, partly because our events and venues are quite varied, but nevertheless it should answer most of the questions which workshop organization raises. If you spot what you think is a major gap in the document, please let myself or another committee member know; meanwhile, we are indebted to our secretary, Madeline Hayward, for all the work that has gone into producing the guidelines.

Our AGM workshop is now fixed for May 16th at Exeter School see here and among other business for the AGM will be the election of a new Treasurer to replace Simon Pickard, who has done the job so capably for three years. To say I have not been overwhelmed with volunteers for the post would be an understatement! So, if you think you might be interested in taking on this role, we would love to hear from you, and Simon will be happy to discuss what is involved.

Finally, we shall be holding our first workshop in conjunction with another organization on March 28th at the Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery. SWEMF was approached by the curator of the forthcoming exhibition, of 18th-century paintings from the Cottonian Collection, to see if we could offer a related workshop. As this seemed a good opportunity to reach a wider audience, we agreed. There is an element of self-interest in my mentioning this, since I am leading the workshop, on 18th-century rounds and catches; I hope those of you who live in or near Plymouth will support the event and perhaps help to recruit a few new members. Further details are here


From Lindsey Shaw-Miller, Diary Editor

In the quieter time since the warm and wonderful world of Christmas music faded out, there have been some very good winter events here in the South West. I was particularly impressed with SWEMF’s facility for being in the flow, after Venetia Caine and Tony Bevan’s well-organized and well-judged workshop in Glastonbury on February 7th (see Sarah Harding’s write-up here). In the afternoon we worked on Henry Purcell’s My Heart is Inditing, a rather theatrical piece written for the coronation of James II. The following week, what should be featured on Radio 3’s Composer of the Week but Purcells’ music for the theatre. Are we, or are we not plugged in?

What we have on offer for the next few months is rich indeed, from a workshop on rounds and catches, linked in to an exhibition at Plymouth Museum, to plainchant vespers, to renaissance dance. What a feast! And beyond SWEMF itself there is the South West Early Winds Weekend in Frome at the end of March, and a workshop for voices on music for Lent in Clifton, to name but two others. Recorders for All have their new programme of courses up and running too.

Concerts abound, from Bristol Music Club’s Really Classical Relay to His Majesty’s Sackbutts and Cornetts in Frome. Worcester Early Music Festival takes place in late March, and our own Musica Mundi, with Clare and David Griffel and Heather Gibbard, are performing at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery in conjunction with their exhibition from the Cottonian Collection (see also the SWEMF workshop on rounds and catches, March 28th).

Finally, to pick up from my first paragraph, please do keep on listening to Radio 3! We are so lucky to have this unique radio station of such coverage and quality. The more we listen, the longer it will continue to stimulate, surprise and delight. The Shaw-Miller’s new, small-but-perfectly-formed rescue cat, Orvil, (aka Orvilius Minimus), thinks Radio 3 is quite the best thing about his new billet: music for every mood and activity. He is sending out an appeal to all members: support early music, support Radio 3!


New treasurer: still seeking ....

SWEMF are still looking for a new Treasurer to replace Simon Pickard, who will retire from the post at the AGM in May. It’s a straightforward role, with a modest number of transactions to effect, but it is a vital one, and we need someone who can keep a firm grip on the funds while also remaining enthusiastic for our Early Music activities. We should welcome (but not overwhelm) a volunteer with good numerate organization. Please do contact Clare Griffel chairman@swemf.org.uk as soon as possible if you feel this is something you would like to do for SWEMF. If you would like more information, please speak to or email Simon Pickard, 01242 579016, gloucestershire@swemf.org.uk.


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 2014/2015. 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: 27 April 2015