We'd love to extend an enormous thank you to The Alnwick Garden, who have hosted our four-part 'Celebration of Northumbrian Traditional Music and Dance' on 22nd & 29th July, 4th & 11th August 2018. The events have given us the opportunity to showcase some incredible young talent through the Duchess of Northumberland's Busking Scheme and to meet some rising stars in Northumbrian traditional music. Thank you to all those who came along as buskers this year and worked so hard to provide a fantastic musical backing for the garden's visitors during the four events.
The Northumbrian ceilidh has been the centrepiece at each of the traditional music days, with energetic dancing from all ages of visitors and music from some of the best of the Northeast's ceilidh band performers including the Windy Gyle Band and King Cole. Ruth Ball has been the life and soul of the party, as caller for both bands, and has encouraged even the most timid of visitors to get involved with the dancing. Well done Ruth!
As a Northumbrian gathering must, the ceilidhs have showcased some superb musical entertainment from Northumbrian pipers in various combinations. One of the ceilidhs even saw a group young pipers take to the stage to share a tune alongside MNE's Andrew Davison and Windy Gyle's Anthony Robb - a very special treat indeed!
Our finale event on 11th August invited some extra special guests along to celebrate all that is Northumbrian. We saw dynamic displays from Star & Shadow rapper and clog dancers, heard fascinating stories and songs from Balladeer Chris Jones (including one about the Piper's Boots!), and were serenaded by Northumbrian tunes from Jimmy Little, Martin Dunn, Susan Clarke and Di Jevons! King Cole ceilidh band injected another burst of energy into the day with their joyous tunes and even the weather held out for us despite the slightly dubious forecast!
Our time at Alnwick would not have been complete without bringing out the Northeast's own unique instrument, the Northumbrian smallpipes, for the visitors to try their hand. Thanks to The Northumbrian Pipers' Society for the loan of the plastic pipes and for their help on the day in lending some of their members as extra tutors!
As you can see from the plentiful smiling faces, a marvellous time was had by all involved. Our favourite quote of the day came from Rowan, aged 3: "That was amazing!"
Finally, an enormous thank you to everyone who visited The Alnwick Garden over our four days in residence, to all who joined in with the dancing, listened to and supported the buskers, sang along and helped us to celebrate the region's unique heritage. We are very proud of our region, and it is a magical thing to see our traditions being enjoyed and pursued by individuals of all ages!