Rousing local start to Sidmouth FolkWeek

Sidmouth FolkWeek starts with home-grown talent and The Fosbrooks

CHILDREN from St Nicholas Junior School, Sidmouth, took to the stage for the Welcome Concert to this year’s FolkWeek and showed there is local talent to applaud.

The concert, at The Ham Marquee on Saturday morning, began with a selection of pieces by the competition-winning Sidmouth Town Band to get the audience in a festive mood.

Pupils from St Nicks’ Years Three and Five, performed two songs – Yum, yum, yum and Stringly Bells.

The children created the new songs – and the word ‘stringly’ - for the concert after singing and dancing sessions with Eddie Upton of Folk South West, who instilled in them the essence of folk tradition during workshops with them at the Woolbrook school.

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Vikki Clayton, who sang with Fairport Convention in the ‘90s, gave us a taste of what was to come from her during the week, with several popular folk songs, beautifully and movingly sung.

Saduto Lithuanian Folk Dance and Song Group took to the stage next, with the caller giving dancers no time to catch their breath between the rousing numbers.

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A welcome ‘foreign’ flavour to the festival – even though they are based in London – the dancers went on to perform at the Blackmore marquee later on Saturday.

The concert certainly left the best until last, Stockport’s own The Fosbrooks, led by teacher Liza Austin-Strange, thrilled us with clog dancing – while playing fiddles – and accordion playing to a professional standard.

Three generations of Banks Lane Junior School – aged 11-21 – took part, including former pupils now setting out on musical careers of their own.

They were stunning and deserved the standing ovation they received. Luckily for FolkWeek 2010 they appeared a number of times this week and hopefully will return to Sidmouth again.

Liza is an inspiration to other teachers, integrating folk music and dance into the school’s curriculum.

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