DCC grant aids choirs at Sidmouth FolkWeek

A �10,000 grant from Devon County Council will enable a trio of choirs to perform and lead workshops at this year s Sidmouth Folk Week.

A �10,000 grant from Devon County Council will enable a trio of choirs to perform and lead workshops at this year's Sidmouth Folk Week.

The grant was presented to John Braithwaite, chairman of Sidmouth FolkWeek Productions Ltd, by Sidmouth/Sidford County Councillor Stuart Hughes on behalf of DCC, on Monday.

"It is intended to support our programme of diversity in music, song and dance," said Mr Braithwaite, pictured receiving the cheque with John Heydon, (right) a director of the production company.

"We are concentrating on diversity in singing and decided to get some choirs down."

These are the popular Spooky Men's Chorale from Australia, who return to entertain the festival crowds, the London Bulgarian Choir and Stream of Sound, which hails from the West Midlands.

As well as delighting audiences with their daft, yet spellbinding performances, The Spooky Men will lead the Big Spooky Thing massed workshop for up to 1,000 people during FolkWeek, which runs from Friday, July 31 to Friday, August 7, with a special opening performance on Thursday, July 30, from Pam Ayres.

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The choir's repertoire also contains traditional Georgian songs, particularly suited to male voices.

Formed by its leader Dessislava Stefanova, in 2000, The London Bulgarian Choir's astonishing beauty and power has earned them prestigious appearances at the Royal Festival Hall, National Portrait Gallery and on BBC2's Later...with Jools Holland.

It has also performed on the soundtrack to the Hollywood blockbuster Troy.

Dessi will lead workshops focusing on the thrilling vocal gymnastics and harmonies of traditional Bulgarian singing.

Members of Stream of Sound are aged between 12 and 25 and offer a wide repertoire from African religious, folk music and pre-Victorian West Gallery hymns to jazz, blues and madrigals.

The choir will perform its new production of The Beggar's Opera at Sidmouth and lead youth workshops all week.

Mr Hughes, on behalf of DDC, said: "I am delighted the county council has supported FolkWeek.

"It just goes to show the benefit the festival has to the local economy and wider economy of Devon and fulfilling of the arts.