Mudcat Café message #2117587 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #103732   Message #2117587
Posted By: GUEST, Mikefule
02-Aug-07 - 03:23 PM
Thread Name: Morris segregation
Subject: RE: Morris segregation
Yes, maybe my side is lucky to have so many musicians - but it is the sort of luck you make for yourself.

One lad played melodeon, but took a shine to the pipe and tabor and spent hours and pounds learning - an instrument that is precious little use outside the Morris context.

I played "only" harmonica. It was too quiet for outdoor Morris. So I bought a melodeon and learned to play it. I didn't particularly like the standard 2 row box so I borrowed a 1 row from a friend's wife who plays for her Morris side. I liked it and bought one myself. I developed an idea I'd like to play Anglo. I bought one, and instantly was lent a "how to" book by a member of the side. Encouragement and sharing of knowledge and instruments.

A violinist joined us. He wanted to become a fiddler... he organised some get togethers at his house for the other musicians to practise and to help him to learn the tunes and style.

Another lad has no desire to play music, much preferring to sing, yet he has a box because he knows at any time we might need someone who can knock out a tune for a dance.

Right now we have seven out of fourteen who can play for some of the dances. 50% of a group of ordinary middle aged blokes. If we can, any other side can. In my 24 years with the side, at least three semi-professional musicians have lapsed their membership, but we have always been able to replace them.

It's something to do with the side's ethos. Everyone is allowed to believe he can do it if he wants. Five of us teach the dance, and nine of us sing in pub sessions. The technical quality is variable, but the enthusiasm level is consistent. It comes from believing that the Morris is important.

Does the pubic care? We have had one actively hostile response this year - but even at that pub, most of the other customers came out and watched and cheered. At every other pub this year, in a dreadful wet summer, we have had people come out to watch us, or we have danced inside and received a good welcome. They have laughed at the right bits, cheered at the right bits, and asked us questions afterwards.

Sometimes the "crowd" at a pub has been two people; sometimes it has been thirty or more. At Thaxted a crowd of thousands watched two set piece shows each an hour or so long. Last year we did a weekend in Spain and had the local ex pat population proudly showing us off to their Spanish friends.

Yes, the public cares, if only you give them an opportunity to do so.