Suffolk FolkPromoting Traditional Music, song and dance in East Anglia
Schools: Pete Coe
When Pete Coe visited Gorseland Primary School, Martlesham Heath on Tuesday 1st February, over 130 five, six and seven year olds were eager and ready to go! He led five workshops of varying lengths and taught each group some "ham-boning" which fitted very well into our "brain-gym" activities.
Once everyone was thoroughly warmed up, there was a variety of songs, rhymes and actions to join in with. Pete had agreed to do a whole group session, bringing everyone together to round off the day and with this in/ mind, he taught each group something of their own to "perform" to the others. The younger children had great fun with the "Penguin Song" and "Mr B, Mr B, Mr Bumble Bee", and the older ones taught everyone to dance and sing "Here comes Sally" with infectious enthusiasm. We had more than twelve longways sets prancing their stuff!
Everyone had a really great time and I am still hearing snatches of songs as I cross the playground or walk along a corridor. We have continued to spread the word by singing some of Pete's songs to a visiting Teaching Assistant from yet another Suffolk school, who will in turn teach them in her school!
All the staff involved and a number of parents have commented upon how much the children enjoyed the day and we are grateful to the Everyman Folk Club and Suffolk Folk for helping to fund this venture.
Gorseland Primary School
Easton Primary School - Friday 13 January 2006
Without much previous fanfare, the folk musician Pete Coe came to Easton Community Primary School in the village of Easton on a Friday morning early in January. Much to the delight of the surprised children, he arrived carrying all sorts of mysterious looking music cases and soon unpacked them and began workshops with the children, ages 5-11, throughout the day. He taught the youngest children several songs to sing, ably accompanying them on a variety of traditional acoustic instruments including harmonium, banjo, guitar and accordion.
The next, slightly older group he taught other songs and a traditional dance, also encouraging them to write their own words to the verses. Towards the end of the day the year 5/6 pupils were enthralled to hear all sorts of things, including some Elizabethan history through the traditional "Mouse and Frog" song, culminating in the cheeky American riff of "Here Comes Sally Through the Alley", to which they learned a kind of country line dance, executed with great enthusiasm by all.
Pete exhibited boundless knowledge about traditional instruments and songs, and didn't seem at all phased by occasional wayward behaviour which he put an end to with firm good humour. He continued to pull more unusual instruments, big and small, out of his cases, which made them seem almost magical.
Pete is an excellent storyteller, singer and teacher and any school which has a chance to have him visit for a day will be very lucky. It is important for our young people to have many opportunities to see that music is made, not by electronic devices, but by and for people, and that we can all do it, not just the few "celebrities" anointed by the major record companies!!
Many thanks to the Big Music Nights and Suffolk Folk for help with the funding of this extraordinary day for the children.
Barbara Ann Spencer