Charity Walk

On October 1st, Shrewsbury Morris are walking 40K in aid of the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity – part of our 40th anniversary celebrations. Quite a few hardy souls are walking the whole 40K, with the rest of the team walking stretches of 30, 20 and 10 or manning the refreshment stations along the way!

We would love you to support us – you can donate here on our Just Giving page

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Shrewsbury Morris Start 2016 Year Oop North!

So, 2016 is our 40th Anniversary year and we’re looking forward to a twelve months packed with fun and lots of dancing.

We’ll be performing in and around Shrewsbury as always, as well as in Quatt, Whitchurch, Cardington, Bishop’s Castle, NT Dudmaston and Leicestershire.

We also have a few fun things in store such is “40 dances in 40 local locations” and a big birthday party in Shrewsbury Square on Sat 2nd July.

But we started our activities as always with our annual walking weekend, this time in Yorkshire. Kindly arranged as always by Sue and Steve Mulcock we all decanted North at the end of March and invaded the sleepy but lovely village of Malham for a weekend. We always stay in YHA accommodation and this was
very good as usual. The team combines socialising, music and some team “togetherness” with a bracing, challenging but fun walk on the Saturday of the weekend.

Ray had come up with another excellent walk which stretched the fitness of some of us but provided great views of the wonderful Yorkshire countryside. Most people (and children) managed the first half (from Malham to Settle) and we had a lovely team lunch in a super pub in Settle. The second half was undertaken by a few hardy souls and we returned to Malham via a different but equally superb route.

The Sat evening was a mixture of a fabulous team curry cooked as always by Steve followed by a great music and song session.

It is the last time that Sue and Steve will organise this kind of weekend, having decided to hand the baton on to someone else after nearly 20 years of organisation, negotiating with the YHA and attempting to keep everyone happy (not easy). They’ve done a magnificent team job for Shrewsbury Morris and we thank them very much for their efforts.

Our first dance outs are 2nd April for The Big Busk and 9th April in Bishops Castle for a gathering of local sides – needless to say we are really looking forward to getting the new season underway!! Come and see us :))) We’ll be posting from those events shortly.

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Shrewsbury Morris Bid for Festive No. 1

In a bold festive move, in no way influenced by any Christmas Spirit, we have ventured onto Soundcloud!

We would love you to listen to our Ceilidh band playing I Saw Three Ships from our traditional Christmas Ceilidh on December 5th. This wonderful event pulls crowds in from miles around, with people coming back year after year and also featuring the famous running raffle…

We always have a theme for for the ceilidh, this year’s was Magic. Most of the side and a fair amount of the audience turn up in fancy dress – this year we had Gandalf, Maleficent and Freddie Mercury (well, it is a kind of magic…)

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On the track, you can hear the dancers having a great time to the accomplished calling of Bev Langton.

We also always do a ‘spot’ in the interval. This year, we surprised the audience with a christmas medley from the Shrewsbury Morris Spoonchestra!

Shrewsbury Morris – 2015 dance season continues, and we’re recruiting!!!!

Since we last blogged a great deal has happened in Shrewsbury Morris World so by way of an update……..since the end of May we’ve danced at Chester Folk Festival (scene of the great rainbow neckerchief tussle), received, used and handed over the Shrewsbury Festivals Baton and organised and held an amazing, highly popular free music and dance event in town called Beat and Bells.

This saw Pateley Longsword Morris, us (naturally), the awesomely thunderous Kayobi Taiko and the stupendous Zulu Tradition who wowed the crowds that gathered in Shrewsbury Square on a sunny June day….a day to live long in the memory!

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Prior to the event we had also raised enough money through a Crowdfunding project (we believe we’re the first Morris side ever to achieve this) to allow Zulu Tradition to visit six local schools in the week leading up to Beat and Bells and impart their own particular brand of education, fun, song and dance to completely captivated children of all ages. The photos of young beaming faces joining joyfully in all the activities were proof enough that the idea was a complete success.
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The sunshine and heat of Sat June 6th was replaced by the cold and rain of Sat June 13th when we went to dance in Wellington for the annual Summer Fayre. This delightful event is a bit of a favourite of ours and we were really looking forward to it. Sadly the rain curtailed our dance programme but both our teams put in a stoic spot before the heavens really opened and the whole event was moved indoors. Our cloggers did manage a dance inside a packed school room which went down very well with the crafters there!

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Two weeks later we were back dancing at Holly Farm Nurseries near Prees for their open day. We weaved in and out of the vintage cars, plants and flowerpots to put on a pretty good display and the team all seemed to have great fun on another rainy day….but we danced under a lovely canopy so that was alright then!
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July started with a social event…an unwedding….as two of our super team members, Cathy and John got unmarried at a very lovely unwedding reception…..a fab day where the team could enjoy being together and saying well done to the happy newly unweds! Needless to say there was a Lasses dance in there which Cathy had to join in with and an appearance by a secretive and previously unknown “boy” band who we believe will slip just as quickly back to well deserved obscurity.

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The village of Llanrhaedr Ym Mochnant kindly invited us to process and dance at their very popular carnival on 11th July and a week later we found ourselves in Buxton as guests of the very hyphenated but extremely well organised and kind Chapel-en-le-Frith Morrismen who were celebrating a birthday by hosting 16 Morris sides from around the country for a Day of Dance. The weather was brilliant, the dance venues spectacular, the organisation impeccable and it was really nice to meet and dance with friends old and new.
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Just before we broke up for our traditional August mini-break, local torn paper collage artist Lyn Evans came to give us a preview of her latest commission which is a beautiful collage of Shrewsbury Square. Known to only a few of us at the time she had very kindly included Shrewsbury Morris in her picture. Not just included but centre stage too! We are extremely grateful to her for “immortalising” us in such a beautiful way and for being so generous as to give each team member some gifts of cards and vouchers to buy full size prints. A great way to end the first part of our dance season.

Although August is a quiet month dance-wise for us, many of the team have been and are currently very busy helping and working at other folk festivals, principally Sidmouth and Towersey where a great deal of hard work and organisation is helping those two festivals enormously.

Whilst they’re doing that the rest of us move on to our own folk festival in Shrewsbury where we’ll be dancing on Sat 29th Aug at the following places:

Festival Site Garden Stage – 9:45-10:30

St Mary’s Church – 11:15-12:00

St Alkmond’s Church – 12:15-13:00

Procession through town – 13:13-14:00

Shrewsbury Square – 14:45-15:30

St Alkmond’s Church – 15:45-16:30

We are looking forward to it immensely.

Finally, practice resumes on Thursday 3rd September at Sundorne School, Shrewsbury from 8pm……..and we’re recruiting, especially men! So, if you’re even vaguely fit, like fun, feel like having a go at this wonderful thing that we all love and don’t mind committing some of your free time then why not just come to one of our practices, meet the team and see what you think? We’ll teach you everything so no previous dance experience is necessary.

You never know…….we could change your life for you…..:)))))

Beat and Bells

The rhythms of the world will be sounding in Shrewsbury this summer, when prizewinning local morris side, Shrewsbury Morris (that’s us!), host an exciting range of dancers and drummers from across the globe for a day of ‘Beat & Bells’.

Zulu Tradition will be coming all the way from KwaZulu Natal in South Africa to headline the event. This young group of Zulu singers and dancers will bring a heady mix of African harmonies and high-energy, athletic dance, all traditionally costumed and with exciting drum-rhythms. They have performed at Buckingham Palace and the British Museum for Mandela Day and are in demand for events around the world.

They will be joined by Kayobi Taiko, experts in the dynamic and ancient art of Japanese taiko drumming. Kayobi have performed in festivals around the country over the last few years, making a truly awesome sound.

Pateley Longsword are a stunning group of longsword morris folk dancers from Yorkshire. They are renowned for giving audiences tradition with attitude, bringing a real vitality and freshness to their dancing. Many of their dances feature longswords, as their name suggests, bringing a thrilling flash of steel to their daring performances.

The line up is completed by performances from Shrewsbury Bull and Pump Morris, Shrewsbury Cloggers and The Shrewsbury Lasses who, between them, bring an exceptional range of traditional dances from around Britain, as well as many newer dances they have choreographed themselves and taught around the country. A familiar sight around Shropshire, they have been performing for nearly 40 years and Shrewsbury Morris expect to carry on proudly dancing in Shrewsbury for plenty more years too.

This is the third annual free day of music and dance Shrewsbury Morris has organized for the town and this promises to be as lively and colourful as our previous events.

‘Beat & Bells’ is in The Square in Shrewsbury on 6 June from 10 until 4pm, and in the evening why not come along to our Summer Ceilidh, held jointly with Squeezing Shropshire – all the details are here!

An Exciting Time to be a Shrewsbury Morris Dancer

We don’t often blow our own trumpet (well…..not very often anyway) but right now is a very exciting time to be a member of Shrewsbury Morris. If Ray and Bev are reading this then of course it’s always an exciting time to be a member of Shrewsbury Morris! :))

So far 2014 has been a very good year. We’ve danced in great locations around Shropshire, visited the Lake District for The Morris Federation Day of Dance, enjoyed our traditional walking weekend, had lovely articles written about us in the local press, won several social media awards, danced in a pantomime, taught new members, increased the size of our team, hosted a major Drum, Music and Dance event in our own town, danced for charity, danced AND worked simultaneously at two major UK folk festivals, been sponsored for the first time, judged competitions, supported local business, hosted two Open Evenings and been invited to dance for Parliament…….and I haven’t even mentioned Christmas yet…..it’s coming though!!

Our most recent dance out at beautiful National Trust Dudmaston, for their Orchard Day was a great success, attended by a lot of team members which was great because everyone could get a chance to dance but, over three 45 minute dance spots, so could people get a chance to rest between dances (the advantage of having a big “squad” to use Premier League parlance :))

We were watched at each spot by a very enthusiastic and appreciative crowd and, as usual attracted some very lovely comments. Halfway through the afternoon we were asked to judge the produce competition, during which we were interviewed by our friends at BBC Radio Shropshire. With our “GBBO” heads on (yeah right!) we judged apple pies, chutney, apple cake, sponges and also decorated apples (well it WAS Orchard Day!) What a Morris Dancer knows about cake judging you could write down on the back of a very small postage stamp but it was done, we got out safely, it was a lot of fun and it got us a massive shout out on local radio so…..result!

So, to the present moment. As I type, the team has just finished hosting what we think were two very successful Open Evenings attended by some 16 new people overall. We hope, and think that a good proportion of them will come back and join us as most of them seemed to enjoy the events and the hospitality. If you’re reading this, and think it’s too late…it isn’t. Just give us a call and ask to come along to one of our practices on a Thursday night from 8pm at Sundorne School, Shrewsbury. We’d love to see you.

We are back at practice now with a vengeance as we are looking forward to (hopefully) dancing for Parliament on Monday December 8th. This follows a very kind invitation from our local MP Daniel Kawczynski who is keen to host us there. The team is very excited about this chance to represent Shropshire Morris Dancing and looking forward to it immensely. Details are still being finalised but we’ll publish further news about this wonderful opportunity on here, our FB page and our twitter account.

Just prior to that however, we have a busy weekend because on Sat Dec 6th we are holding our annual Christmas Ceilidh at Sundorne School, Shrewsbury from 8pm. As always, there is a fancy dress theme and this year it’s Frost and Fire, so plenty of dressing up opportunities, although it’s not compulsory!

This is always a really fun event, there is a terrific band (Pump Action), some great calling from Bev Langton and is always well attended so book early. There’s currently an Early Bird offer of only £6.00 per ticket which represents tremendous value we think, so call the number on the poster attached and book early for a great fun evening. But be quick because the Early Bird offer ends on 31st October.

So there you are, we’re approaching 2015 at breakneck pace, are excitedly expecting our new dancers, are planning another big event to host next year in Shrewsbury, we’re constantly raising our profile in many different ways, are looking forward to new sponsorship from local business and working towards 2016 when we will celebrate our 40th birthday :)))))

So you see, it really is an exciting time to be a Shrewsbury Morris Dancer!! Call us, it could be you enjoying the bright future with us! Beware, you might need shades though :)))

Marketing & Heritage…ing

It’s a busy period for us at the moment and it’s not over yet as we have dancing visits to come at Prees WI on Thursday 9th October and at NT Dudmaston for their Orchard Day on 12th October.

However, back up the days a little and Saturday 20th September saw something of a double header for us as we danced for Shifnal Farmer’s Market in the morning and then went on to dance at the Ironbridge Heritage Day Festival in the afternoon.

The Shrewsbury Morris bandwagon rolled into lovely Shifnal at 9.30 on a dull but warm Saturday morning and we did what we do best on arriving early at a dance venue….we got coffee!….and breakfast 🙂

We received our usual warm and friendly welcome from the Farmer’s Market staff (most of whom we know from Twitter anyway) and had a quick explore of the varied stalls (more Twitter buddies) on display as the rest of the team arrived.

Once we were all in place we began the first of our two 45 min dance spots and enjoyed a really good morning of energetic and fun dancing with a fair old crowd watching us and being very appreciative (not all Twitter friends…oh OK, some were!)

Just as we finished our second dance spot and were taking a break a lovely lady (@lajina on twitter) turned up with free, warm, just cooked bhajis – perfect timing! Whenever you present a Morris side with free food they never fail to disappoint with their appetites and this was no exception as the bhajis quickly disappeared as though they were going out of fashion!

Unexpected lunch devoured, we said our goodbyes to our market friends, mounted up and made our way to beautiful Ironbridge, where we had been offered free parking at The Station car park, not an area of the town that too many of us were familiar with but which looks extremely interesting and well worth a further visit. But this was dance business so we crossed the Ironbridge itself and amused ourselves for an hour amongst the many stalls and activities going on, before starting our first set right outside the Tontine Hotel in front of the Ironbridge – a great place to dance!

A very large crowd gathered to watch us and they were extremely lively and appreciative which always energises us a little more. The same happened at our second spot in The Square 45 minutes later which was marvellous for us. We even had some children joining in and had to pose for photos with them afterwards, which of course we were more than pleased to do, even though we are very shy and retiring (*coughs*…*splutters*)

All afternoon (in fact all day) our dancers and musicians were brilliant and I think we entertained lots of people on a pretty spectacular Heritage Festival Day. The feedback given to us by some of the spectators was really lovely and most kind which is always great to hear.

A tired but very happy Shrewsbury Morris made our way home with the applause and encouraging cheers still ringing in our collective ears….

…..and at least it didn’t rain :)))