Who are the Guest Tutors?
Our tutors share a common philosophy of inclusivity although their approach and style of music may vary.
Frankie Armstrong is well known as one of the pioneers of natural voice work, as well as being a gifted and accomplished performer of folk song especially the ballads - "The urgency and intensity of her oft-unaccompanied singing cuts through the centuries, and holds her audiences spellbound" (Ethel Raim).
Helen Chadwick's voice "revels in subtle contradictions - rich with colour and vibrancy, and dark with the mystery of a profound source within her" (Sedbergh Lookaround). Helen has a special interest in Georgian polyphony, has created arrangements for poems by writers such as Rumi and Goethe, and teaches voice and choir at the National Theatre.
Dessi Stefanova was born in Bulgaria and sang and conducted with the Philip Koutev state folk and dance ensemble before moving to England. She leads several Bulgarian and Balkan choirs in this country and is loved by her singers for her humour, her inspiration and - like the music she teaches - her sheer vitality. She says: "Bulgarian harmony singing gives voice to the heart and power to the voice".
Paul Guppy has become one of the country's leading exponents of West Gallery music - the music and singing of country churches in the 18th and early 19th centuries as sung by the Mellstock quire in Thomas Hardy's, Under the Greenwood Tree. He leads the highly esteemed Lancaster based West Gallery choir, The Gladly Solemn Sound, and has set arrangements in this style to several poems and epitaphs. He makes and repairs musical instruments, plays in jazz and folk ensembles and has taught at many folk festivals and singing conventions. He is renowned for his skill as a musician, his focus as a collector, and for being an entertaining and informative teacher.
Village Harmony and Northern Harmony
Village Harmony are a youth choir from Vermont, USA, who gave a workshop and concert in Sedbergh and Dent in 2000. They specialise in Shape Note music (which derives from English West Gallery music - it uses shapes in the written music and is sung with great gusto ) and Balkan music under the tutilage of Mary Kay Brass and Val Mindel.
The adult version of this choir, Northern Harmony, are due on February 28th and 29th 2004 with their director Larry Gordan. The workshops are lively and even inexperienced singers find they can sing complex music with confidence.
Coope, Boyes and Simpson
Coope, Boyes and Simpson are well known as some of Britain's leading folk harmony singers. They were the lead singers, teachers and inspiration behind the Christmas Truce 1914 sell-out concert in Dent in 2002, singing alongside 80 singers drawn from community choirs in the region and conducted by Janet Russel.
The Australian political choir Solidarity came to Sedbergh at the start of the millenium and taught us songs from their repertoire including Nkosi Sikelel 'iAfrica (the South African national anthem) and I Feel Like Going On.
Igor is the music teacher at the Ljubljana Waldorf School in Slovenia and has been to meet our singers here on several occasions. He has also been on tours with his choirs organised by us which included the Lake District and Scotland. He has a great sense of humour and fun and a love of wild places and mountains. The song he taught our choir on his last visit - Planinska - about the joys of being in the mountains is much loved by our singers.