Exmoor children get ready to release their voices

11 May 2023

Wren Music have been invited to run the 2023 Exmoor Songs Project, which will culminate in children from three local schools singing in a concert at Simonsbath Festival on 19 June.

For six weeks in May and June, two of our professional musicians, Jon Dyer and Paul Wilson, will be working with children at Exford CofE First School, Cutcombe CofE First School, and Timberscombe CofE First School.

The songs the children will learn will be blended from traditional songs collected on Exmoor in recent times by Paul and by earlier collectors like Cecil Sharp who visited during the early part of the 20th century.

Alongside these traditional pieces, the children will also be learning newly written songs created for each of the schools. These songs will reflect the flow of the curriculum in each school.

Paul and Jon are providing the musical accompaniment, with double bass, guitar, accordion, and flute.

Paul said: “We are asking the children for the themes they would like to write about in the new songs, and this work is part of their music education provision. And then they’ll be releasing their voices when we get them all singing together at Simonsbath Festival. It will sound great.”

The Simonsbath Festival has funded the project as a cultural benefit to local youngsters over the years, putting young people in touch with their heritage of local traditional songs, with a sharing concert around Midsummer Day.

Paul said: “This year, we are delighted that the schools project will be growing through Jon’s involvement. In an area which is remote and where schools are small, this kind of musical and social linking is highly valued by teachers and the children alike.”

Look out for updates on this project in the coming weeks.

About the Festival: Simonsbath Festival is a non-profit making community festival which celebrates all things Exmoor in the six weeks between May Day and Midsummer. You can read more about its links with traditional music on the website: https://www.simonsbathfestival.org.uk/about-the-festival