As I write this I’m sitting at my ‘office’ window looking at the recent snow sparkling in the fading sun ontop of the Torridon Mountains in the distance. Yes, I was fortunate enough to sell my house in Otley and I have moved to ‘bonny Scotland’ – so please make a note of my new contact details below.
Whilst we all seem to have come to a standstill because of the snow, it’s hard to think that spring is just round the corner, but it won’t be long before it’s time for this year’s Swaledale Squeeze – a convivial weekend of concertina playing, meeting friends, music, concert, ceilidh, sessions, Black Sheep bitter, walks, the comfort of Grinton Lodge and fantastic scenery – what more could one want!! As usual, everything will be centred on Grinton Lodge (a former shooting lodge) which is now a Youth Hostel, based just outside Reeth, in the picturesque setting of Swaledale. The venue is excellent for our purposes and we are made to feel very welcome. All accommodation is in bunk rooms (bedding provided) and meals are included for those in bunks (with or without the Friday evening meal which will be served at 7.30pm). Campervans and tents are also welcome but, because the dining room is relatively small, campers are asked to use the self-catering kitchen. There are also many B&Bs in the area if you would like more comfort/privacy – please let me know if you’d like a list. You are welcome to bring your own alcohol to the ceilidh but not to consume at Grinton Lodge.
Friday consists of a walk in the afternoon led by Nick Hopkinson (for those who can make it), a meal at 7.30 pm and informal sessions in the evening – a chance to unwind after your journey, play a few tunes and meet friends old and new. I will also put on a couple of kegs of Black Sheep! There will be workshops on Saturday and Sunday, a mini-concert on Saturday featuring Pauline de Snoo & friends, a ceilidh on the Saturday evening, featuring ‘spots’ from participants, and a farewell concert on Sunday afternoon, including tutors’ ‘spots’. The ceilidh & concert will be held at Reeth Memorial Hall. Families & friends are welcome too – they may enjoy the area’s many craft shops, tearooms and outstanding walks.
Once again we have an interesting line-up of tutors. Two of our guest tutors are well known to you and will be making a welcome return: Alistair Anderson (English) and Iris Bishop (Duet). We will also be welcoming a new Guest Tutor, Claire Keville (Anglo). Claire comes from Co. Galway and presents a Music programme on Clare FM Radio. Both sides of her family had a strong interest in music and she is well known to Harry Scurfield who says “Claire Keville is a great concertina player, at the heart of a rich tradition. I have heard her in the company of some of my favourite great
'Irish trad' musicians such as Pat O'Connor, Mary MacNamara, Andrew MacNamara, and many others: she brings her own powerful style, with a rich, thoughtful emotion and a beautiful controlled technique. In a region known for its many excellent concertina players, Claire Keville contributes her own special individual part." Our regular team of tutors will also be there: Harry Scurfield (Anglo), Paul Walker (Anglo and English), Pauline de Snoo (English), Dave Ball (English) and Carolyn Wade, once again conducting the Concertina Band.
Best wishes, Jane Edwards