I would like to draw your attention to a couple of items: The first is the initiative by Sue Hull, a Wiltshire-based recorder player and teacher, to set up a West Gallery group in association with the delightful old Baptist chapel in Grittleton, near Malmesbury. West Gallery music, which can involve both voices and instruments (and about which my knowledge comes primarily from Thomas Hardy and the Mellstock Quire!) is increasingly popular, and now has its own Association, the WGMA. The music is generally quite straightforward, since it was intended for use by not very experienced village bands, so is approachable and yet effective at the same time. Sue's report is here - if you live in the Malmesbury area and are interested, do get in touch with her.
Secondly, I am pleased that we are putting on a workshop in the autumn jointly with BMEMF, featuring the ever-popular David Allinson. The event is in memory of longstanding BMEMF member Hannah Davies, whom some of you will have known, who died last year. It will take place in the Parliament Room at Gloucester Cathedral, a lovely venue which many of us enjoyed when we had a workshop there last November, and I hope that it will be well supported by SWEMF members. More details are available here.
Finally, please do make a note of the date for the AGM, which will be held during Peter Leechís workshop in Corsham on July 23rd. This is your chance to have your say in shaping the future activities of your Forum. And even if you donít want to take part in the workshop, Corsham is a delightful town with many interesting old buildings, including the wonderful Corsham Court with its Capability Brown (celebrating his 300th birthday this year) gardens, open to the public Ė why not come to the AGM and make a day of it?!
There is an exciting array of summer schools to look forward to this year. You need to book early, so do look carefully at all the options. There is something for all inclinations, from renaissance conventual music in Triora, Italy, to historical dance in Lancashire and recorder and viol music in Ireland, and in between our established friends NORVIS in Durham, Cambridge Early Music, Beauchamp Early Music in Gloucester and HISS in Scarborough. Itís a treasury of summer music, and nicely spread so that it is perfectly possible to do more than one. And if you canít wait until July, there is the Chalemie Easter School in Headington, Oxford, with a fine range of activities for singers, dancers, costumiers, performers and instrumentalists.
Following the Loud Wind Day in February in Gloucester, I received an interesting kaleidoscope of reviews from various attenders, and even one nonattender. The latter was Edward James, who has written a most helpful introduction to mediaeval and renaissance wind, which is included here. For those who are experienced handlers of shawms, sackbuts and curtals, this may be superfluous information. As a mere singer (and inadequate keyboard player) I find it a clear and informative introduction to a group of instruments which can be puzzling and surprising. I hope other members do too.
Finally, for those of you who know and love Finchcocks in Kent, there is sad news: the Collection is being dispersed and Finchcocks closed. You will find more information about this, the final opening at Easter weekend and the subsequent auction here.
Enjoy your spring music!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Suggestions for additional links are particularly welcome.
Last modified: 08 April 2016