Fifty-five singers filled the delightful Northgate House hotel at Buckfast Abbey on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, next to the banks of the River Dart. It was a wonderful weekend of song in a beautiful setting: Cornish carols, sacred songs, folk songs from a wide range of traditions, hearty food and luxury accommodation. The weekend was led by Jane Harris, Director of Songways, Pip Wright, a singing leader, teacher and community musician based in West Cornwall and Joceline Rennie, co-ordinator.
Singers thoroughly enjoyed learning songs in the light and airy Henbury Room and then singing in the stunning acoustics of the Abbey church. An evening of Cornish dancing with live music from Jane, Pip and Giles added to the fun, with dances led by Joceline.
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Jane Harris is an experienced choir leader and Director of Songways, based in Bath. She leads singing workshops and singing holidays in beautiful places and three thriving choirs. With her lively, clear and enabling teaching style, Jane brings out the best in singers’ voices, with open, resonant, heart-felt singing. Jane teaches by ear and loves to explore songs in different ways to enrich and deepen the singing experience. She loved working with Pip for the first time. Jane also plays the fiddle.
Pip Wright is a popular choir leader and community musician based near Penzance in West Cornwall. Pip has been hosting annual Cornish Carol workshops with other local singing leaders since 2013 and was delighted to share some of Cornwall’s rich and varied carol tradition north of the Tamar.
Pip runs two large community choirs: the Dawn Chorus and Levow an Bys – Voices of the World in Cornish. Some of Pip’s earliest musical memories are of hearing Cornish carols being sung in harmony by fishermen in Mousehole.
Pip plays fiddle in Cornish bands and with friends runs a ‘come all ye’ monthly pub session ‘Shout West’ singing traditional Cornish songs in the Yacht Inn, Penzance. She sings with the all-female shanty group Femmes de la Mer.
Joceline Rennie sings with two West Penwith choirs and dances with two Cornish dance groups. Her background is in event management, public relations and marketing and she runs her own on-line retail business.