Folk Association of South Hants
The Primary Schools Ceilidhs
This is something that FASH had supported and organised in the past, but it hadn't happened for several years. We were therefore delighted to support Graham Taylor's initiative to restart it as an annual dance event for schools across our area. In particicular, Dennis Wheeler from the FASH committee took on the administration to ensure that it happened each year. Now FolkActive have taken over the running of these ceilidhs, although FASH is still very much involved in support.
The event has live music and is free to Hampshire schools. CDs of music specially recorded by Cath Watkins, Nic Bradford and Kim Sheil of Jigfoot, together with the dance notes of ten dances are provided. Typically four of the dances are aimed at Key Stage 1 age children and four at Key Stage 2, with two for everyone. Volunteers from FASH provide as much help as is needed to assist with teaching the dances in schools. Pre-Covid we had as many as 300 children from 13 schools dancing over 2 days in the Jubilee Hall, Bishop's Waltham.
In 2023 the Schools Ceilidh was part of the Bishops Waltham Festival. Invitations to take part in the event went to schools who had joined us in the past. The ceilidh was held in the Bishops Waltham Palace grounds during the afternoon of Friday the 23rd June; the Festival committee called it 'Festival Folk Day' to include it as part of the overall weekend festival. On the Friday evening there was a public ceilidh, with caller Tom Gregory and Jigfoot. Children aged 11 and under had free entry to the evening, 11 to 18 year-olds paid £5 and adults £12. It was a very successful family/community evening.
In 2024 the Schools Ceilidh will be held on the 28th June and will again be part of the Bishops Waltham Festival.
Below we show a few of the many pictures of previous ceilidhs in the Jubilee Hall. We have tried to show the range of ages of the children who were joining in. These first few are from the 2016 ceilidh, and include 2 break-time 'spots' - a team of young Morris dancers from Swanmore School showing off their skills and a 'string ensemble', eleven violinists and two cello players from the Hampshire Youth Folk Ensemble (led by Joyce Ingledew of Bursledon Village Band) and the Swanmore College String Group.
The next 6 pictures are from the 2015 ceilidh. As you can see, several of the schools have active dance clubs which have their own team kit, quite different from their normal school clothes.
Below we show a few pictures from the 2014 ceilidh, including one of Graham the caller and several members of Jigfoot, who were providing our music for the day. Watching the groups of pupils dancing just for the fun of it, often without any help from the adults, made the whole event worthwhile. We also received a lovely letter sent to us from Curdridge Primary School. Thanks to Headteacher Sally Wood and her pupils Honor and Eve for this and several photos.
Below are couple of pictures from the 2013 ceilidh.