CMM were guests of the Balsham Plough-boys on Monday 7th January, dancing in support of their fund-raising, enjoying the hospitality of households up and down the village, and yes, appearing on look East too. But boy that wind got cold! here are a few pictures taken by Melissa Riley that evening.
Although the local men (that’s the members of Cambridge Morris available to dance in and around Cambridge) have been beset by age and injury in 2018, the Travelling Morrice is in rude health and undertook its annual tour in grand style this year.
Our Foreman for the 2018 TM tour (27 June to 1 July) was CMM stalwart, John Weaver, and the spots he organised, based on Brackley in Northants, well chosen, well organised, well-attended, and well – just great . The sun shone, the beer flowed, the music was excellent, the men on good form. What more could we want!
Here’s a gallery of pictures of the event, taken by, and edited cropped etc by… Andy Blagbrough. Thanks Andy!
We were saddened to learn of the passing of the great Cambridge Morris Man Rollo Woods. His Grandson Owen, also a Cambridge Morris Man has published the following statement:
“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Rollo Geoffrey Woods, who died today, January 29 2018, at the age of 92. There will be a thanksgiving service in Swanage URC at 1200 on Friday 9 February, with a further celebratory event on April 7 from 3pm at Swanage School. All who knew him are warmly invited to attend one or both of these events.
To put into words his achievements would take more space and time than we have, but I shall try. Much of his personal life was devoted to the folk arts. His grandparents were keen revivalist folk singers and his mother was a dancer – it was she who first introduced him to English Country Dancing in 1937 at the age of 12. He was Squire of the Cambridge Morris Men and later the Winchester Morris Men. He took up the English concertina in 1948 and played with William Kimber, Scan Tester, Stephen Baldwin and Bob Cann. He also contributed much of the music for Lionel Bacon’s seminal “Handbook of Morris Dancing”, known to all as the Black Book. He played for ceilidhs for longer than some have been alive, over 60 years. He founded the first ceilidh band in Hampshire, the Black Glove Band, ran the Greenwood Tree in Swanage for 20 years and his last band, Maiden Oak is still going today. His arrangements and sets are legion and legendary, becoming common currency in the region and survive as battered photocopies all over the country!
For many, Rollo will be remembered as a researcher. He started researching West Gallery Music in 1972 after a chance discovery of manuscripts in Widdicombe in the Moor in Devon and it gradually became a consuming passion. He founded the Madding Crowd in 1975, the Purbeck Village Quire in 1989 and was a founder member of the West Gallery Music Association in 1990. He has published several books on the subject, his last, the second edition of “Good Singing Still”, being released only last year. In 2015 he was awarded the gold badge of the English Folk Dance and Song Society for a lifetime of work promoting the folk arts.
That is how posterity will remember him, but to those who met him he will be remembered as someone who took an interest, who worked tirelessly on behalf of others and one whose dry humour was never far away. He led dance workshops with EFDSS, ran the children’s band at the Avon Tyrell residential weekend and ran evening classes for Hampshire County Council’s Further Education department for over 15 years. He would construct all sorts of instruments out of odds and ends for these groups and it was he who gave many children their first experience of playing music, myself included. This was a source of great pride to him in later life. On a personal note, it is because of him that I have had such a huge amount of pleasure in playing traditional music and playing the melodeon.
He leaves behind his wife, Anne, four children, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. We will miss him.”
We spent a fine day in Ely and the surrounding area, starting off in Ely and ending up in the pretty village of Chippenham. Ely was chioc-a-bloc with the week-end Eel Festival which kicked off with a procession from the Cathedral, down the High Street and along to Jubilee gardens, dancing Winster most of the way, and fortunately far enough from the Samba band so that we could hear Tony’s playing. Crowds three deep in the Market Square! Jubilee gardens was fuill of stalls, families, and activity galore. Excellent beer from Mile End brewery. We danced by the river and then outside the Cutter, before walking back up to perform in the Market Square. Lunch at the Standard, with several men preferring the beer at the Drayman’s Son across the road – only pickled eggs to be had for lunch there though.
Then, luxury of luxuries, a coach took us to Newmarket where we danced outside the Rutland Arms, in the Rookery and at the Bus Station. Finally, off to dance at the Tharp Arms at Chippenham followed by an excellent chilli supper.
Here’s a picture from the day, but do visit the CMM Facebook page for lots more pictures and even a couple of videos from George.