GUEST ARTISTS 2019
Gene Murrow (USA)
English Contra Dance Band,
GENE MURROW is a man of many faces -- English country dancer and dance leader, teacher of dance and early music workshops throughout the U.S. and in Europe, musician, successful businessman, and arts manager. The dances Gene leads are favorites with "newbies" as well as folks with decades of experience, since he succeeds in approaching English country dances as works of art, striving "to make their richness of structure, musical form, texture, and affect enjoyable and appreciated by dancers of all abilities."
Based in the Philadelphia area, A Joyful Noise began in 1992 and has played at dances, weekend workshops, and dance camps throughout the United States and several foreign countries.
Geoff is well known as a caller for American Squares and Contra and English Ceilidh. He has been invited to call at national dance festivals, including Whitby, Chippenham and Sidmouth, and is well respected among his peers. He has considerable experience as a dancer himself, particularly in Appalachian dancing, performing at many festivals.
His experience as a dancer stands him in good stead when calling, as his sympathy with those on the floor means that he is helpful to beginners as well as extending the expert dancers.
Colin Hume started his folk career as a singer / guitarist, and has performed his own songs on national radio and at the Royal Albert Hall. Over the last forty years he has built up a reputation as a caller of American Squares, Playford-type dances (English Country Dances in 17th century style), and his own "Dances with a Difference", many of which contain unusual combinations of figures to baffle and / or delight dancers. His tunes are also different enough to make most bands stop and think.
This year he makes a cameo appearance with his famous Teacup Squares workshop and he'll be back with more next year.
Hilary Herbert has been dancing and calling for many years and greatly enjoys both activities. Having started calling at barn dances, PTAs etc, she is now well known nationally as a caller / teacher of a wide breadth of new and old dances in the Playford, traditional English and American style, including ones of her own composition. She can also be persuaded, without much difficulty, to teach Running set. She is a regular performer on the English festival, week-end and evening dance circuits and has also ventured across the channel. Her patience and humour are well known throughout the country and she enjoys sharing her wealth of experience with others. She resides in north Lancashire, the county of her birth, but always enjoys her regular forays to the rest of the country.
Rhod is a caller with unbounded energy and his style of calling always keeps the dancers on their feet. His vast repertoire of dances is guaranteed to enable him to tailor the evening to your requirements whether your guests are beginners or experienced, seasoned ceilidh dancers.
Rhod gets around a bit and the furthest he has been to call is Seattle, USA. On a more domestic level Rhod has called on the UK dance festival circuit at Sidmouth International Folk Festival, Chippenham and the Inter Varsity Folk dance festival. He is best known for specialising in American Contra and square dances. You will also find him calling for English ceilidhs at regular ceilidh series such as Phoenix, Poynton and Manchester, or bringing his wide ranging experience to dances for beginners.
Expect a varied evening with a wide mix of styles, difficulties, steps and energies tailored to suit the audience.
Jen is a folk dance caller based in the Midlands, She calls ceilidh, contra and Playford dances to audiences of all ages and abilities. Her love of folk dancing began since before she can remember, with the yearly trips to the Old Round Party. This planted the seed for her enthusiasm for Playford dancing. At university, she joined Sheffield Ceilidhsoc and began dancing in earnest, whilst taking an active role in running the society and helping to organise the Inter Varsity Folk Dance Festival 2008. In 2009 her husband Bob Morgan (already a talented ceilidh caller) and she moved to Loughborough and discovered contras and squares at Loughborough Folk Dance Club. The next year they joined Warwick Folk and became regulars at Alcester Contra. In 2013 she started Coventry Zesty Playford, part of a movement to dance Playford dances with energy and enthusiasm. She started calling regularly in 2015, with the aim of sharing her love of folk dancing with as many people as possible. She is doing both Zesty Playford and contra.
3D is Chris, Julie and Nick Dewhurst, our very own local Lichfield band! They have a busy schedule playing for English and Scottish dance events and festivals up and down the country, and they manage to divide their time pretty much equally between the genres. Their roots in folk music go back many years, but they have played as a family band since 1997.
The band is equally at home playing romping reels and sensitive slow airs, strict Scottish and purest Playford (well, as pure as you can get with two accordions, drum kit and trumpet!) They enjoy bringing the music to life with their own unique interpretations, drawing on many different musical styles, but their aim is always to fit the tune perfectly to the dance, and to provide that essential 'lift' to help keep dancers on their toes. They also have many CDs – ask them to show you – the latest is Razamatazz – pure joy!
The English Contra Dance Band is a two piece band playing music for contra dance. They are based in the UK and have been performing for the last ten years at most of the major contra dances. Linda Game plays a driving fiddle style over Gareth Kiddier's solid piano accompaniment. Although they are from different traditions, English traditional and Rock, they have adapted very well to the American high energy style of contra dance music. As a dancer recently said, "How can two people make so much noise!".
In the last few years they have played at many major festivals in the UK, including EIFF, IVFDF, Sidmouth, Chippenham, and Towersey, as well as dance weekends at Halsway Manor. They regularly perform at contra clubs up and down the UK, and have worked with most of the top UK callers. In recent years they have played at festivals in Denmark, where there is a strong contra community. In 2012 they had their first US tour, playing for American contra dancers on the East Coast.
Don't be deceived by the apparent simplicity of a piano and fiddle duo. They play tune interpretations for dances that will have the dancer on the ceiling.
Stradivarious is led by Rod Stradling on accordion with Poppy Weatherall on violin and Frances Stradling on percussion. We play a wide range of types of folk dance music, from Playford-style to ceilidh and morris and clog to international. We also run music workshops and teach small groups and one-to-one. We have made several recordings of English dance music and we are all active dancers so we know what we want to provide for our dancers’ enjoyment. More information is available at www.stradivarious.co.uk
Jovial Crew are Brian McMinn(accordion), Mike Green (Mandolin) & Rosie McMinn(wind synth).
We are a flexible band of musicians who will play music from the Old World and the New.
We enjoy playing together in England and further afield and are looking forward to returning to Lichfield.
Deo Volente are an accordion and flute duo based in Nottingham and formed in 2006. Dave and Victoria are experienced folk dance musicians and have become familiar faces locally and well-known on the national dance scene. They have performed at festivals and weekends including Morland, Southam, Casterton, Lichfield, Eastbourne and Chippenham.
They particularly enjoy playing for Playford and Playford-style dances – the way the beautiful tunes match with the dance moves makes for memorable combinations and magical moments. However, they are also to be found playing for other genres within the repertoire.
Dave and Victoria are both keen dancers so look out for them on the dance floor when they are not performing!
Festival Band – Tea Dance
Our merry band of musicians will play for the Tea Dance on Saturday, with a preparatory workshop in advance.
Festival Band – Come All Ye
Continuing the tradition of many years, there is an opportunity for those who can read music to join the Festival band on Sunday afternoon to help bring this year’s Festival to its climax. Music will be provided, and a preparatory workshop will be held on Sunday morning for those who intend to join in the afternoon. If you are unable to come to that session, but would like to join the afternoon, please contact the Come All Ye Festival Band leaders this year.