Gordon Ruddock was a long time Friend and generous supporter of the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust and after his death in early 2017, the Trust learned that they were one of ten Charities to benefit from his Estate. As a result, they decided to set up the Bursary scheme and offer a little help to the younger generation who they hope will in turn help to keep traditions alive.
We are really delighted that the memory of Gordon Ruddock will be preserved in this way and look forward to seeing how our support enables each of the awardees to progress in Traditional Music.
This year 4 young musicians based in East Anglia have benefitted from The Ruddock Bursary scheme. We are delighted to have been able to offer one accordion and one English concertina (in association with Mike Acott Concertinas) for use free of charge for this year to Dax Tekchandani and Lillith Freeman.
14 year old Dax has been trialling a George Case English Concertina, loaned by Mike Acott. Dax has been playing the piano since he was 10 (self taught initially) and is also self taught on the accordion but has struggled with the weight of it so is trying something smaller. 20 year old Lillith plays guitar and is currently a drama student in Essex. She is currently teaching herself to learn one of Bernard Hawkins‘ accordions donated to EATMT earlier this year – a 72 bass Delicia piano accordion.
We are also delighted to help contribute towards two youth places on this year’s Burwell Bash which takes place in Burwell, Cambs in August.
22 year old Emma Robinson from Cambridgeshire, is studying at the RNCM plays violin, viola and piano and is keen to build on her playing by ear and working on harmonies whilst at the summer school. Teenager Isaac Dalglish lives in Norfolk and is a guitar player and is looking forward to returning to the Burwell Bash and “reconnecting with the musical family”.
Fiddle player Emma sent us a report of her Burwell Bash week in August 2023:
I had a fantastic week at Burwell Bash. It was such a great experience being constantly immersed in folk music, learning from amazing tutors and working together with lovely people. Having the chance to collaborate on an arrangement and perform a few hours later really boosted my confidence and was so much fun! I feel that I’ve started to grasp the sound of the different styles we learnt and can’t wait to continue building on this and start writing more of my own folk tunes! I’m really grateful to the EATMT for funding my place on the course.
Lillith very kindly sent us an update in October 2023:
I’m loving learning to play the accordion. Over the summer I tried to use online resources to get a hang of the basics. Then, this month I started taking some lessons which have really helped me. I’ve been learning folk tunes, exploring music from my mix of East Anglian and Eastern European heritage, as well as experimenting with composing little atmospheric pieces to accompany work for the theatre degree I’m currently doing. Here’s a photo of me practicing in my flat, luckily my housemate doesn’t mind the racket! I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity.
We are delighted to be able to fund young Suffolk musician Poppy Price-Dowhan a place on the 2022 Burwell Bash – a musical summer school based in Cambridgeshire.
Poppy plays whistle and flute and lives in Suffolk. She is also deputy squire for her local Morris side. You can follow her on Instagram @poppy.whistles.
Over this last year, Poppy has set up an Accessible Ceilidh Class running twice a month in Wangford Community Centre. For more details contact Poppy: firstname.lastname@example.org – and you can also read all about why Poppy set these classes up HERE on our ARTICLES pages.
We are also delighted to have been able to offer 3 fiddle lessons to young Cambridgeshire musician Isobella with Fiddler James DeLarre. Izzie also is a Burwell Bash attendee. She writes:
My experience at Burwell Bash was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. It was so exciting to walk around the grounds of Burwell House and listen to the music that everyone was making. I felt so lucky to learn about a new genre of music with a variety of different people from all over the world.
I got into folk music because as someone who favours indie/pop/rock, I wanted to expand my musical horizons. I have enjoyed every moment of learning about folk music so far.Isabella paine
For the second year in a row, EATMT is not able to offer the Ruddock Bursaries. We hope that with music and events taking off in the second half of 2021 that we will be able to offer them in 2022.
Due to Covid-19 EATMT will not be offering these bursaries this year
2019-2020 saw the first year of the Ruddock Bursaries introduced in memory of a long standing Friend and supporter, Gordon Ruddock. Our successful applicants were aged between 10 and 24 from Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. They were dancers, musicians and singer songwriters and we thoroughly enjoyed having them on board for the year.
As we head towards the end of their year, we hope to update this page with their progress and work in Traditional Music.
The Ruddock Bursaries are offered by EATMT to under 25 year olds who have an interest in English Traditional Folk Arts be it musicians, dancers or story tellers.
To celebrate the first year of the scheme we awarded seven bursaries of Â£250. To qualify the applicants must have been raised, be living or studying in East Anglia and be already involved in some form of Traditional Folk Arts.
The first awards were made to:
Lauren Peck – Aged 13
Sophie Cargill & Westley Middle School (Year 5 Class)
Samuel Taylor – Aged 16
Lou Beal – Aged 19
Finn Collinson – Aged 21
Megan Wisdom – Aged 24
We also teamed up with Burwell Bash to enable a young performer to attend their annual Folk Music Summer School of World-class tution and playing. This year the Burwell Bash Bursary was awarded to Dante Parker-Hall, aged 15. The Burwell Bash took place between 29 July and 2 August 2019.
This young group of musicians showed willing from the offset. Samuel Taylor chatted on Radio Suffolk about the Trust’s Bursary scheme in early May and then he and Megan Wisdom joined us with the Suffolk Record Office at the Suffolk Show at the end of May where they performed to people visiting the SRO stall.
6 out of our 7 Bursary Recipients met in mid July at Westley Middle School in Bury St Edmunds for their Year 5 Maypole day. Megan lead the dance tuition and provided a superb lesson plan and Finn, Samuel, Dante and Lauren created a scratch band playing mostly East Anglian Tunes taken from the Trust’s tunebook. The Year 5 students took it in turns to work the Trust’s Jig Dolls to add percussion to the band.
In August whilst at FolkEast Megan, Finn, Lou, Samuel and Lauren all came to say hello – all were involved in some way on a larger scale at the Festival but we were delighted that they still made time to say hello and some of them even had time to give on the EATMT.
We were delighted to attend Finn’s Portland Arms gig in September. The evening was a great success as was his whole tour.
Lauren, Samuel and Dante were all scheduled to perform at the Museum of East Anglian Life’s Cider and Song day in October. Sadly, Dante was poorly so didn’t make it, but Samuel and Lauren with two friends forming Copperfield performed at various times over the two day event.
In November, Lou represented the Trust at a Stepdance conference run at Cecil Sharp House and in December Megan started work on the creation of a new song archive for the Trust. More on that in due course!
All in all, the first year of this new scheme has surpassed our hopes and dreams. We are busy looking for a bit of extra funding for this scheme to enable the Trust to work together more with our successful recipients over their year – ideally giving us the opportunity to pay them for their performances when representing us and also to create an end of year “Celebratory Concert”. If you know of someone or an organisation that might be interested in helping achieve this, please do get in touch (email@example.com)
For a long time, Lou has been a regular performer at EATMT events. Lou ran the Stepdance workshop at the Trust’s Stepdance day in July in Norfolk and also stepped for a VERY long time at the Royal Oak in Laxfield in August for the filming of Antiques Road Trip (broadcast Tuesday 5th February 2020 at 4.30pm on BBC 1). Lou was also invited to Sidmouth Folk Festival in August by the Instep Research Team. Whilst there it seemed a good idea to also investigate on behalf of the Trust a new Stepdance Competition in Devon. Then in November, Lou was one of three EATMT representatives for the Instep and EFDSS Stepping On conference. You can read a report of Lou’s travels on behalf of the Trust below:
“As one of the main voices for stepdancing in Suffolk and a young person involved in traditional folk music, receiving the Ruddock Bursary this year has helped to expand my knowledge of regional stepdancing and network with dancers from around the UK.
The money I received through the Ruddock Bursary fund allowed me to attend Sidmouth Folk Festival down in Devon. I was invited to Sidmouth to help run â€˜Suffolkâ€™ sessions as part of the Harbour Inn Crowd (a group of musicians and singers known for playing in the Harbour Inn Pub in Southwold). The addition of my stepdancing to the sessions was the perfect setting to showcase the traditional dance to anyone who had not encountered it before. Sidmouth Folk festival also has a brilliant stepdancing scene in its own right- â€˜Stepping sessionsâ€™ lead by Jo and Simon Harmer allow dancers to free-style the night away. These sessions were great opportunities for me to meet up with fellow dancers all dancing a range of styles, and with such a large number of dancers in one place it is something that I can only aspire to bring into Suffolk.
Later on in the Folk week I contributed on to a panel discussion that was held to discuss â€œThe role of competitions in stepdancing traditionsâ€. As the only Suffolk stepper and young person contributing, I talked about the need to keep traditions alive by involving the younger generation. I also voiced my opinion that role of competitions in Suffolk is simply to promote the tradition- although we may be losing the original spontaneity it is all we can do to help its survival.
While in Devon I got the chance to learn more about the traditional Dartmoor style of stepdancing. I was invited to a workshop run by Lisa Sture and Jenny Read to learn about the style and the history behind it, as Dartmoor stepdancing is very tied to a ridged format of steps and repetition that has been imbedded in the tradition. I also tripped to: the Oakhampton show to take part in the first Oakhampton Stepdancing competition; and Dartmoor Folk Festival for their famous stepdancing competitions.
Through both the panel discussion and my education on Dartmoor stepdancing I learnt that there are many other regional dance traditions that all have their own unique history while all sharing similarities with Suffolk stepdancing.
With so few people practising the tradition it is easy to be isolated and not know about the existence of other regional styles. That is why it is brilliant that Folk festivals such as Sidmouth are able to act as a meeting hub for stepdancers from across the UK, and it is also why I am so grateful for receiving the Ruddock bursary allowing me to attend and take so much away from the festival this year“.
Finn was a natural born facilitator when the bursary recipients met up for the first time in July for the Maypole workshops. His easy going and friendly attitude with the other Scratch band members was a joy to behold! He was very much in demand at FolkEast running workshops and performing in concerts but Finn still popped over to say hello. In September Finn launched his album, “Call to Mind” and went on tour to release the album. The Bursary was used for his gigs at the Portland Arms in Cambridge and at St Peter’s in Ipswich. www.finncollinson.com
Megan started University in Newcastle upon Tyne in October 2019 to study. The bursary for her was used to get her to auditions and interviews earlier on in the year for her University applications. She got involved with running the Maypole workshop, singing at the Suffolk Show, helping with the EATMT stall and providing music at FolkEast. On return from her first term at University, we are delighted to report that Megan has instigated a Song Archive for the Trust which is currently being developed and ready to get on the road in the early Summer. Watch this space for the Music Box Archive.
Thanks to the Ruddock Bursary, I was able to travel easily to both Leeds and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne when I had my university auditions, as well as stay overnight close to the campuses. This gave me a chance to relax, prepare and enjoy looking round two lovely cities, both of which Iâ€™d never visited before. I think that being able to go in feeling calm and confident helped enormously – I received two unconditional offers, giving me a tough (but nice!) decision. I really liked both of the degree courses, as well as all the students and staff I met. Ultimately, I decided to accept Newcastleâ€™s offer, and I left for there in September to start the BA in Folk and Traditional Music. I’ve taken plenty of Suffolk tunes and songs with me!
Thank you so much to everyone at the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust for helping me to begin this exciting new chapter of my life!“
Dante Parker Hall
Dante had a thoroughly enjoyable time in the Summer Holidays attending the Burwell Bash which is run for a week in Cambridgeshire. He joined us in July as a part of the Maypole scratch band and we were really disappointed that illness prevented him from joining his fellow bursary friends at Cider and Song in Stowmarket in October. We were delighted to have him on board and look forward to hearing about his musical future. The Burwell Bash has several youtube clips that features clips from the whole Summer school and includes Dante in. Here’s one for starters. Check out their website and be aware that the 2020 Summer School was launched in February and lots of their workshops are selling fast….
Samuel bought a new banjo with his bursary money – initially it was intended to go towards a new banjo but he couldn’t believe his luck when he stumbled across an excellent instrument which had been under estimated. Samuel was interviewed on Radio Suffolk, played and sung at the Suffolk Show for us, joined the Maypole scratch band, helped at the EATMT stall at FolkEast and took part in the Museum of East Anglian Life’s Cider and Song in October. He’s been busy song writing for the latter part of this year as well as preparing for his final year of A level studies.
Lauren was the youngest of our individual recipients. A multi-instrumentalist, Lauren joined us in July with the Maypole workshops as part of the scratch band. As a recorder player she was delighted to have met Finn and they shared their connections with Aldeburgh Young Musicians (AYM) which Finn was previously a member of and Lauren currently a member of.
Lauren performed with AYM at FolkEast this summer and inspired by a workshop with Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne also this summer, she and two AYM friends – Rachel and Vera – offered to join the Trust at Cider and Song in October. They spent the early autumn working on a few tunes and on 18th and 19th October, Copperfield came to the stage for the first time ever. They went down a storm and worked their socks off for the whole event which spanned the Friday night, all day Saturday and into the evening.
I am really grateful for the support from The Ruddock Bursary this year. The award has enabled me to attend the Stapleford Granary Folk Group where I have received tuition from Stu Hanna (of Folk group Megson) and we have then performed ahead of some of the folk concerts by musicians such as Leveret and Assynt. The money also enabled me to add to my collection of recorders by getting a tenor.
The highlight of the year was definitely performing as â€˜Copperfieldâ€™ with two Aldeburgh Young Musician friends, Rachel and Vera, at the Cider & Song Festival in October 2019. We had a brilliant weekend performing and also enjoyed joining in with some of the other activities. I also enjoyed playing with the Maypole Dancing scratch band at Wesley Middle School.
I have also had a busy year with Aldeburgh Young Musicians and with my music generally â€“ I really enjoyed a course where, working with folk musicians Greg Russell, Laura-Beth Salter and Cohen Braithwaite-Kilkoyne, we explored and reimagined Peter Bellamyâ€™s Maritime Folk Song Suite and then performed it at FolkEast 2019.
Lauren also features on the AYM website which you can see here.
Westley Middle School
Westley Middle School has a very long history of providing excellent music, dance and sporting opportunities within the state education system and the Trust was delighted to have the school apply for this opportunity. The year 5’s behaved impeccably – listening well to instructions and working together as a team. When there weren’t enough ribbons for dancing, they would sit out and dance the jig dolls along with the band. They were a credit to the school and we give thanks in particular to Head of Music Fran Hart and Head of PE Alice Bloomfield for their enthusiasm and flexibility.