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Isle of Wedmore Society “Life & Works of Cecil Sharp”

27 January 2022

The Society’s January meeting will take place in the Masonic Hall at 7.30 pm.

The speakers will be Chris Storie and Bernard Coulter and their talk will be on ‘The life and works of Cecil Sharp (1859-1924) a composer and musician.

Members free, Visitors £4 with free tea/coffee.

Contact Ian Tomes on 01934 710390.’

Isle of Wedmore Society – Programme for 2022

The Isle of Wedmore Society

Programme for 2022 MonthSpeaker and topic
January 27th  Chris Storie and Bernard Coulter ‘The life and works of Cecil Sharp’. Chris and Bernard will explore with words, pictures and music, the life of Cecil Sharp, who was a composer and musician. Perhaps he is best known for his work collecting folk songs, many of which were from Somerset.  
February 24th  Suzie Ladbrooke Tales of Travels’. Suzie is a Tour Manager and will tell us tales of her experiences on rail travels through Europe and the UK.
March 24th  Dawn Lawrence ‘Two steps behind: all about the Born Free Foundation’.  The Foundation was founded by Virginia McKenna, Bill Travers and Will Travers and is an international wildlife charity that campaigns to “Keep Wildlife in the Wild”.
April 28th    Steve Hemmett PCSO and James Brunt Supervisor ‘The Role of the PCSO within community policing’. Steve Hemmett and James Brunt will describe the organisation and remit of the Police Community Support Officer within the local Neighbourhood Policing Team.
May 26th  Dr Francis Burroughes B.E.M ‘Bristol Blue Glass’. From his own collection, Francis brings historic and valuable items of glass for members to examine for themselves, to illustrate the history of glass-making from 3,000 B.C. to the present day.
September 22nd David Sproat, Airline Pilot ‘Flying a 310 million dollar plane!’: taking a brand new passenger aeroplane up for its maiden flight, putting it through its paces, before the crew and passengers climb aboard.
October 27th  Lester Durston ‘The rough road to Lhasa (Tibet)’. Lester Durston will describe his journey to a hard-to-reach place, with pictures and stories.
November 24thKevin Anderson, Visitor Experience Officer, Somerset Wildlife Trust/Avalon Marshes ‘The Avalon Marshes: The landscape and wildlife of the Avalon Marshes.’ Kevin will explore the ancient and recent history of the area including the Sweet Track, Lake Villages, peat digging and farming, and how the Avalon Marshes have been transformed into one of the UK’s most wildlife-rich wetlands.

Isle of Wedmore Society – Report of January Meeting We couldn’t believe our eyes when a total of 50 people arrived to hear our January talk, the first of the year. The Masonic
Hall is not that big and for a short time we feared there would not be enough chairs for all, but there were and our 22 members and 28 visitors settled down for an entertaining evening.

Our speakers were Chris Storie and Bernard Coulter, who gave us the most interesting talk, accompanied by old folk songs, on the life and times of Cecil Sharpe, a late 19th/early 20th musician who spent much time recording folk songs, mainly in the West Country but also as far afield as the USA. Born in November 1859 in Camberwell, London, he was educated at Uppingham and Cambridge University from where he graduated in 1882.

At his father’s suggestion, he emigrated to Adelaide in Australia in late 1882 where he became a clerk and associate to the Chief Justice. In 1889 he resigned from this position and then devoted his time to the music. As well as being an organist, he became a conductor of choral societies including the Adelaide Philharmonic as well as being joint director of the Adelaide College of Music.

He returned to England in January 1892 and in 1893 married Constance Birch, also a music lover. In that year he then became a music teacher, for the next 17 years at Ludgrove School in London and during that time took on a number of other musical jobs. In 1893 he began to collect folk songs and we were treated to some fascinating old photos of country people who, although often pretty illiterate, were a font of memories and knowledge of folk songs from their west country home areas.

Too old for military service during the First World War, he found it difficult to support himself and his family and in 1916 went to America for two years. During his time there he recorded many folk songs from the Appalachian area (ie Virginia, North Carolina. Kentucky and Tennessee). He was a key leader of the folk song revival in England and passed away in June 1924 in Hampstead, London.

Following refreshments after the talk, we held the 56th Annual General Meeting of the Society, the first we had been able to hold (due to Covid) since May 2019.

Ian Tomes

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