Heart of Ash

Recently I was looking for the videos of one of the Solfest community musicals online, and after a bit of fruitless searching, I realized that I’d never posted them. So here they are!

These videos are from the 2013 event Heart of Ash, featuring an all-star cast. Dan Serridge stepped in at the last minute as the story-teller to cover for someone who was suddenly indisposed, and did a brilliant job.

The house band had Paul Susans (bass), Rachel Cross (fiddle), Bren Murphy & Sarah Fisher (percussion), Joe Johnstone (ukulele, vox), and Barry Crosby / Craig Hoggarth (drums) in it, with a ‘scratch’ band and choir of festival-goers.  Sing Owt! was the main choir, with Bex Mather and a whole bunch of students from the Sage Gateshead degree programmes lending us their voices, and a guest appearance at the end from the mighty Boom Dang! The students ran instrumental (inc. ukulele) and vocal workshops throughout  the weekend for festival-goers, and a good crowd of workshop attendees joined us for the finale, a rousing Heel and Toe Polka!

The theme of the 2013 community musical was the plight of the Ash tree, as this was around the time that the news of Ash ‘Die-back’ was breaking, and there were concerns that the Ash tree’s days were numbered. Especially as Aspatria (or Ash Patrick i.e. Patrick’s Ash) is the nearest town, it felt fitting to celebrate this great British tree. I’m relieved that in 2017 the Ash trees in our garden are still going strong!

Apologies to everyone involved for the inordinate amount of time it’s taken to post these! As I trawl through old footage there may be more to come from the archives, but for now, I hope you enjoy these offerings. Click here for the full Heart of Ash playlist, or below for individual videos:

·      Place Where You Earned Your Name – Simon Kay’s marvelous Solfest anthem

·      Reap What You Sow – a song about Karma and justice

·      Elesa – a song from Georgia about bringing trees from the forest

·      The Ash Grove – trad. Folk song about Ash

·      Bop Your Bippity Boo! – a catchy little round that fits nicely with Miss McLeod’s reel as an accompaniment to the Heel and Toe Polka

Thanks to everyone involved! Happy Days!