Culmstock – 6th November 2021

This most successful workshop was directed by Michael Williamson and Jacqui Robertson-Wade, who also played violin and cello respectively to demonstrate the appropriate style for different types of music. There was an excellent attendance and a good variety of instruments. Culmstock Village Hall is big enough to allow for social distancing, ventilation was excellent, and once the heating had been turned on, the temperature settled at a comfortable level. Nearly everyone brought their own refreshments and anti-Covid protocols were well observed.

Most people played baroque string instruments or modern instruments with baroque bows and fortunately the music allowed for different levels of ability and frequency, or otherwise, of practice during the lockdowns. The bass section was strengthened by Fenella Spiers on baroque bassoon and Clare Griffel provided helpful support on keyboard. Dick Little gave a virtuosic performance of a Telemann recorder concerto, which was much enjoyed.

There was a good mix of familiar and less well-known music, including a substantial suite of French dances by Rebel, Les Caractères de la Danse. Jacqui kindly provided an alternative version of the extremely challenging bass part of this interesting piece. We finished with some chaconnes typical of the period.

During the lunch interval there was a bonus session: Jacqui offered an introduction to the viol for those who had not tried one before. We hope that some people who took this opportunity will fall in love with the instrument and come to enjoy the huge range of music now available to players.
This very successful workshop was only the second time SWEMF members had been able to meet other than virtually since restrictions were eased. Apart from the music, people much enjoyed the opportunity to meet and play with friends and acquaintances not seen except on screens for almost two years.

– Sonia Jackson