As part of its mission to promote and support young folk musicians in the south west, Priddy Folk Festival has a long-standing link with pupils at Blue School in Wells. The project, called Priddy Rising is now in its seventh year and sees musician, composer and producer Will Lang mentor students at the school for a concert at the festival.
Every year, we are amazed at the quality and creativity of the performance that results and this year we are again looking forward to the seeing the collaboration come to fruition. Here, Will updates us on how this year’s project is taking shape.
This year’s Priddy Rising theme is Who Do You Think You Are? to encourage the young musicians of Priddy Rising to explore notions of identity, community and belonging in the wake of Brexit.
Last year took the Priddy Rising students to the Kennedy Grant Memorial Library (KGML) at Halsway Manor, National Centre for the Folk Arts. The KGML is the second largest resource of printed and recorded folk song, music and dance in the country. They found this invaluable to their prep for Priddy Rising last year and we’re glad to be carrying this forward.
Unfortunately, this year, the snow got in the way of the first planned tripped so we are hoping to rearrange before the first weekend rehearsals 5/6 May.
Rehearsal weekends are 5/6 May and 9/10 June. They will be working as a large band, in smaller ensembles to arrange existing material and writing instrumental and song compositions in response to the theme.
This year sees an exciting extension to Priddy Rising in extra sessions within the project, with The Drystones – Alex Garden and Ford Collier both getting involved.
Alex and Ford are both alumni of both Blue School and Priddy Rising; Alex will lead this years Skype sessions with folk musicians while Ford will be providing lunchtime rehearsal sessions for the Priddy Rising musicians between rehearsal weekends to refine material and sustain momentum.
We’re really excited to be able to offer these further sessions within PR and support Alex and Ford in the early stages of their professional careers – another sign of supportive progression routes through Priddy Rising.
Priddy Rising’s link with Halsway Manor continues to flourish and we are seeing many students attend the Young Halsway programme. This summer Young Halsway is on track to welcome 50 young people to its July course with a good number from the Priddy Rising cohort, past and present.
The Skype sessions are full steam ahead and the first we have booked in are flautist/guitarist Tom Oakes and Jamie Smith from Jamie Smith’s Mabon.