Hearts of Oak

Home page.

Performing maritime and folk music in North Devon and beyond

Last month's Newsletter

Newsletter - Christmas 2003

Hiya Folks.

The last newsletter for 2003 and a summary of our achievements and our activities over this last Autumn.

We had a great evening with Fred Wedlock at 'The Mariners in September. This was Fred's second visit. Many of you will recall that we had him at 'The George' in South Molton a couple of years ago, and who knows, we may get him back again before long. He was certainly as good, if not better than last time, as most of you will agree I'm sure.

We went on our annual visit to 'The Yetties' club in Sherborne on 1st October and this year we had a larger number of travellers for the 'pilgrimage', it was a really successful night. Several positive comments were made on how good we were, and one from Pete Shutler who said that "You get better and better as time goes on ! What can we say ?

We 'did' the Dartmoor Festival again this year and I assure you that it's a great compliment to be invited to play at 'Dartmoor' two years on the trot ! Who knows we may even be invited back in 2004 ?

We played for a private party at 'The Staghunters' Brendon on 16th October, celebrating both a wedding anniversary and a special birthday. As you probably know, we don't usually like to play at family affairs for no other reason than people just want to chat and have background music rather than be entertained ! - This one worked though, and people joined in, which made it worthwhile.

The 23rd October saw us at 'The Yacht club' at Instow raising money for the R.N.L.I. which followed the art exhibition held there.

We weren't able to play at 'The Mariners' on 1st November but we did play at 'The George' South Molton. Personally, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of you good folk, that came to support us, and the icing on the cake was that we now have a few more friends and followers from East Devon.! This was partly thanks to Doug Parish of the 'Tiverton Gazette' and to their publicizing it.

The day after (Sunday) we played at Bampton Fair in the 'Sea Horse' and afterwards some of us went to 'The Bridge' (the pub where they hold the Bampton Folk Club) for a bit of a sing.

On the 8th November I attended a 'Melodeon Improvers' workshop at Combe Martin. Now that was really good and very worthwhile. Should any of you be interested, then it has been proposed that another is held in February next year. All you need is a Melodeon (begged, borrowed or stolen - only joking! ) and you will enjoy the day usually followed by 'Shammick Music' in the evening at the 'Top George' If you would like to know more, then either talk to Tom or Barbara Brown or ask me for the details. The day only cost *15.00 including refreshments and an evening buffet meal, and believe me it's worth a lot more than that.

On 22nd November we played at 'The Acorn Folk Club' in Minehead. It was a 'sellout' Rupert had several of his Minehead school pupils there with some parents which helped fill the room. Several members of the audience commented that the acoustics weren't very good and they couldn't hear us very well but it was okay and we sold a few CDs as well.

Nothing to do with us, but a couple of us went to see 'Artisan' at Filleigh Village Hall on 26th November. It was a very good evening and lots of friends were there in support, many from the local Folk Clubs and other organisations as well. Alan Davey set the whole thing up in conjunction with 'Beaford' and I have to say that it was a great evening and different from their usual 'Stuff the turkey' which has been going for a good number of years now. Lots of good original songs written by Brian Bedford, plus a mini pantomime to boot. - Very Good evening !

So, dear friends, here we start the Christmas 'Merry-Go-Round' with Carol concerts and Mummers ! I think that it makes a very busy time of year for all of us but in particular our commitment to charities which include the various church establishments we go to. You will see from our programme that it is quite a heavy one and I do know that many of you will be giving your support. This year the charity chosen for 'The North Devon Mummers' is the Macmillan cancer relief, and the church carol concerts are to help fund the various church charities for example 'Crisis at Christmas' and Church repairs etc. etc.

It is a very busy time for us but very worth while of course, and your continued support in these activities is always vital.

The dates and venues are all listed on the programme, available at the same time as this newsletter. If in doubt have a word with Alison who will have all the details on future activities as well as this coming Christmas period.

Our new CD 'Down the Road' is out (at last) and selling very well. It was a long time coming but feed-back on the quality of the recording and the content has been very favourable. I am even having people calling me from website, email, and telephone to order them. I just have a feeling that it won't be very long before we are ordering more. On the subject of CDs, I have been pleasantly surprised at how many 'By Popular request' CDs have been sold ! It looks like I will have to order more before too much longer.

We have virtually sold out of our Christmas tape 'Christmas Seasoning' which is good, although I was hoping that we could have made a Christmas CD by now with different carols and Christmas songs ! Still, never mind - maybe later on.....

Shammick Music

The second Saturday in every month
'The Top George' Combe Martin
All are welcome
If you say,play, or just listen - You will enjoy the company
For further details contact Tom or Barbara on (01271) 882366

By the time you read this we will have held our first Carol concert for this year at Horwood, and then perhaps you can catch us at one of the others listed on our programme.

Our last 'Mariners' for this year is on Saturday 6th December, the next one being on Saturday 6th February when we have special guests 'A Thorn and Two roses' from Cornwall - These good folk are a close harmony trio ready to rival 'Artisan' So, we hope to see you then.

We are a little sparse on bookings for next year at present. This is intentional. - We need to cut back on some of them only because we took on too many commitments during 2003 leaving little time for ourselves and our families, and we are considering each request as they come along.

At the moment 'The Mariners' will be the only firm bookings for next year except for 'Cockersdale' who are with us on 10th July and of course our Cornish guests, A Thorn and two Roses' in February.

Saturday 26th July has been requested by Kevin Pearson for a trip to Bromsgrove but that has to be decided when we have our AGM sometime in January.

That dear friends is another reason why our programme looks a bit sparse. Never fear, it will fill rapidly before very long !