Thanks to our energetic volunteer organisers, we have an interesting programme of workshops for you in the New Year. I’d like in particular to draw your attention to the January 25th event, which is rather different from our usual workshops in a number of ways. You’re probably aware that there is quite a lot of crossover between the worlds of early music and folk music – witness, for example, the success of the HISS Summer School. And of course, much folk music is ‘early’ in the sense of having been around for a very long time. So we have invited Eddie Upton, a very experienced tutor of workshops on folk music and West Gallery singing, to lead us in a day of West Country Carols. In case you’re thinking that the end of January is a bit late for carolsinging – well, we had to avoid earlier Saturdays in January due to clashes with various choirs, and in any case, in earlier times the Christmas season lasted until Candlemas on February 2nd!

We’re also hoping to make this workshop something of a social event; we will have a longer than usual lunch-break, and we’re requesting everyone to bring some food to share, so that rather than sitting with our own sandwiches (or making for the nearest pub!) we can get to know one another better by enjoying a shared lunch. Please do support this event – it’s taking place near Yeovil, which should be reasonably accessible for members from much of our region. And if you have friends who are into folk music, why not encourage them to come along too?

I’m happy to report that we will have a new Diary editor as of January – Rick Fitzsimmons has very kindly offered to take on the role. Meanwhile we’re grateful to David Griffel for acting as interim editor for the September and December Diaries (though having the editor under the same roof did rather encourage me to be even more last-minute than usual with my contributions!). I wish all of you a very happy and peaceful Christmas, and a New Year filled with wonderful music-making.

– Clare Griffel