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Halsway Manor Folk Week accordion class.


Jan 18, 2021
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Essex UK
I promised a review so here we go.

Halsway Manor is the national centre for the folk arts in Somerset in England. It's a lovely manor house set in the Quantock hills, which are well worth a wander around. The folk week has run for several years now and runs from Monday evening, to a big performance on Thursday night, by all the classes. As well as the accordions there were classes for fiddles, guitars, singing and dancing together with a mixed band. On top of this there are concerts and dancing in the evenings as well as options in the afternoon, so you can be as busy as you like. I think it was a bit smaller this year as numbers were limited by Covid.

The accordion class was run by Paul Hutchinson, as well as being a gigging musician he teaches courses at various other places. I was impressed that Paul got in touch before the class to find out just how much of a beginner I was, and made arrangements with the other accordianists to fit the class to all of us. Although I have been calling it a class it was really more of a 3 day workshop. Being a folk week we worked on folk tunes, starting off with some I provided, and moving to some that fitted in with the other groups for dancing or singing. We mainly talked about arrangement and accompaniment -he's not a big fan of Oompah- and how to vary this through a tune.

I enjoyed myself and learnt a few new tunes together with a lot of technique, if only of it's existance it's something to aspire to. I would happily go to another of Paul's courses and/or return to Halsway.

David A

Jul 31, 2021
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Carmarthenshire, Wales, UK
Thanks for this Jeremy. Sorry for not responding earlier, I've been "off-line" for a bit. I'm pleased you enjoyed yourself. I'll have to see if I can get to Halswey soon, it sounds very good. The Welsh Folk Music Society ran a similar kind of thing for a weekend at the local uni back in 2018 which I really enjoyed, but due to lack of funding it never happened again, which was a shame. As you say it is the opportunity to experience techniques and skills which are currently a bit beyond one's current ability that is the benefit of this kind of event.


Well-known member
Apr 6, 2015
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Sussex coast
The accordion weekend at Halsway is to be recomended. It's a pleasure to be in the company of like minded people. The tutors are generally very good. I particularly like Murray Grainger's approach to teaching. A good weekend, despite the long drive and the holiday traffic on the M5.

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