Vaughan Williams’ Folk – Youth Mentorship Programme and Showcases

EATMT have been delighted to work with musicians Finn Collinson and Emma Beach (members of the Finn Collinson Band as well as young leaders for FolkEast’s Youth Moot) who were musical mentors working with 9 young musicians (aged 16-25 years) between November 2022 and September 2023.

The work over these 8 months culminated in two Showcase Concerts – one at FolkEast on Friday 18th August and the final one at Traditional Music Day on Saturday 2nd September 2023. We have been overwhelmed by the quality and skill on show whilst creating this musical showcase using folk music and song collected across East Anglian by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

The Musicians

On 1st September 2022 we launched a search for singers and musicians from any musical genre aged between 16 and 25 years of age.

Priority was given to those either living in East Anglia or having grown up in East Anglia, but people from outside the Region were able to apply, providing that they were able to attend workshops and events, which will primarily be based in Suffolk.

Applications closed on 31st October, and following a meeting with Finn Collinson, Emma Beach, FolkEast Director and Mentor Becky Marshall-Potter, Project manager Alex Bartholomew and Project Co-ordinator Nicky Stockman the following young musicians were selected and invited to join the project:

Lauren Peck, Cambridgeshire – saxophone and recorders
Leila Hooton, Norfolk – flute and vocals
Peter McAuley, Norfolk – guitar, songwriter and vocals
Anna Treutler, Norfolk – fiddle, guitar and vocals
Oliver Thompson, Suffolk – whistle, tune writer
Sarah Stock, Suffolk – guitar & vocals
Heather Moss, Suffolk – flute
Elye Cuthbertson, London – melodeon
Abbey Thomas, Cornwall/Leeds – banjo, guitar, vocals

Meet our young musicians here…

This group of musicians worked as a creative team as well as individually, giving the musicians the opportunity to learn something valuable which they will be able to take away and add to their own practice as well as give an opportunity to share practice, knowledge or findings during the process. The musicians’ musicality/ skill on their individual instruments and/or voice has ensured they have been able to access the project and create a high quality end performance over the Summer of 2023.

Showcase Musicians with Mentors Finn Collinson & Emma Beach and guest tutor Kate Griffin
February 2023, Stowmarket
Credit N Stockman

The first in person Mentor Session took place at the beginning of February in Stowmarket. Musicians prepared their own arrangements of Bushes and Briars and worked on several other song tunes collected by Vaughan Williams during the day. They were joined by Kate Griffin for a workshop on re-working and re-imagining traditional songs and were also joined by Jake Lee Savage who recorded each musician talking about their musical journeys as well as some of the music shared on the day. He has created a podcast from these recordings which can be heard HERE. For a report on the day see HERE.

July Workshop weekend with Mentors Finn Collinson, Emma Beach and Guest Tutor Stu Hanna

From March to July, mentors Finn and Emma worked regularly with the musicians online – sometimes individually and sometimes in groups. When they met again in July they did so for a whole weekend – again using Stowmarket Community Centre. Even on the first day of this weekend, we could all sense there was something very special about the music that was being arranged and shared. Guest Tutor Stu Hanna arrived on Sunday to add the final bits of advice, suggestions and guidance and everyone left at the end of the weekend having worked extremely hard but also having developed a wonderful cohesive friendship group which is reflected in their final performances.

You can hear a second podcast HERE featuring these young musicians as part of Jake Lee-Savage’s Communities Podcast which was recorded during their weekend workshops in July.

Showcase dates

Two Showcase Performances took place at

FolkEast Festival, Glemham, Suffolk. Friday 17th August 2023, 13.50pm on the Moot Hall Stage in front of a HUGE audience of approximately 600 festival goers

and also at

East Anglian Traditional Music Day, Stowmarket, 2nd September 2023
13:00,at the John Peel Centre, 13.00pm with guest musician Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne.

These performances were filmed and recorded for viewing/listening to. Head to the main page of this project: HERE and click on the relevant links to podcasts, audio and film.

Back to the Vaughan Williams’ Folk main page