Our September Concert
In September we had a local players concert featuring our own players. First to take to his instrument was Bob Seed who manned the drums for the night. Bob accompanied most players starting with Arthur Frankland who played a Finnish Song, this was followed by Danny Boy, Moscow Nights, Hatikvoh and Fields Of Athenry. Next up was John Robinson playing Hello Mary Lou, Blaydon Races, The Minstrel, Calico Printers Clerk and Floral Dance. It was time for Patrick to entertain us. Patrick started with Seven Spanish Angels, and continued with My Old Country Home, Come By The Hills, Galway Bay and to finish he played O Susannah. We then had the first break of the night with all the socialising that normally happens on the breaks. I then took to the stage with Harvey, we played Can’t Help Falling In Love, My Grandfathers Clock, A Lovely Bunch, Of Coconuts, Waiting At The Church, Beer Barrel Polka and Return To Sorrento. John Robinson was next on the stage, accompanied by Ann Parker on the Ukulele. They played Wimoweh, Rivers Of Babylon and Urban Spaceman. Our next player was Colin Ensor who gave us Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone, Conquest Of Paradise, You’ll Never Know, May You Always, Sunshine Of Your Smile, Dancing with Tears In My eyes, Magnolia Wind and Blue Eyes Crying. Sara Daly followed Colin, she played The Broken Pledge, Baby Face, You Brought A New Kind Of Loving, Friday Harbour, Genevieves Waltz, Midnight Waltz, Too Many Tears and Envikens Waltz. The entertainment continued with Harvey playing Return To Me, Daisy, Maggie, Spanish Eyes, Amanda’s Waltz and Mexican Hat Dance. Bernard Bamber was our next player, he gave us When The Saints, Please Release Me, Goodnight Irene, Heart Of My Heart, When I Grow Too Old To Dream and Show Me The Way To Go Home. Ann Parker was our final player with Snow Waltz, Lady of Spain, Isle Of Capri and Bluebell Polka. David Batty
Chester Accordion Club
Chester Accordion Club’s next meeting is on Tuesday 31st October at The Groves Club, Chester Road (A5032), Whitby, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. Telephone Barry Graham on 01978 760065.
The next meeting of the Wyre Club is on Wednesday 25th October 2017 at The North Euston Hotel on the Esplanade at Fleetwood, FY7 6BN. Further details tel. 01253 883681.
Wirral Accordion Club
This club is on every Tuesday at The Place In The Park, 109 Liscard Road, Wallasey CH44 9AE. The night starts at 7pm.
Wayfaring Stranger with Phil Cunningham
Phil Cunningham presents a three part programme called “Wayfaring Stranger” in which Phil examines Scotland’s contribution to American music. The Programme takes its name from an American anthem that began as a 17th century Scottish border ballad, The Dowie Dens of Yarrow. It was carried, first, to Northern Ireland and then gained new words to its melody as the successors of those who moved from one promised land moved on to another one down what’s known as the Wagon Road, the route that travels down the Appalachian Mountains from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. The Herald Scotland goes into more detail interviewing Phil about filming the series, the interview can be read at www.heraldscotland.com/arts_ents/15553553.Phil_Cunningham_on_how_Scots_migrants_created_American_music/
All three episode are now on the BBC IPlayer You can watch them at www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b08lnkqn
The first episode expires on the 29th October with the other episodes expiring sometime after this.
This Wednesday, we have a local players concert. This is your chance to show us what you can play, we love to hear people on stage, hear what they have learnt, and see their progress over the months or years. For players it’s a good experience to play to a supportive audience. The doors open on Wednesday night at 7.30pm for a prompt 8pm start. Please bring along your friends and anyone who might be interested in attending. If you see someone you don’t know then please say hello and make them welcome to the club. If you see someone in the street you don’t know, please bring them along to the club!
See you there…
Cecil Sharp House Accordion Course
This course aims to show the range of techniques through tunes and musical arrangements with the emphasis on the English tradition. Classes will be taught using music therefore the ability to read ‘the dots’ is important. This will leave more time to explore different rhythms and harmonies rather than teaching melodies.
Accordion Level 1 – 2 (Absolute beginners / Beginners) – Knowledge of the piano keyboard is useful but how to master the chords and bellows of this wonderful instrument will become apparent as the course unfolds. Tunes will be taught initially by ear, but simple sight-reading skills will be explained during the course. Expect to be able to play at least two tunes with simple accompaniments (major and minor chords) by the end of the first term. During the second term the course will concentrate on how to enhance tunes using the counter bass rows and by using more complex harmonies. Different styles of accompaniment will also be introduced.
Accordion Level 3-4 (Improvers / Intermediate) – Good music reading skills are advantageous at this level as the tunes are more complex. Exploring different methods to enhance, vary and develop melodies is the central part of this course.
The Courses are taught by Paul Hutchinson and take place on Saturdays at Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent’s Park Road, London, NW1 7AY For Prices and dates visit www.cecilsharphouse.org/csh-learning/saturday-folk-music-workshops
Stagg 32 note Melodica for sale £25. 20 Note Concertina Anglo scholer made in Germany G/D £40. Both instruments are well looked after and in excellent condition. If you are interested in either of these instruments see Harvey at the club.
Liverpool Irish Festival
Held on the 19th & 29th October 2017 the Festival includes performances, participation, entertainment and education in Irish traditions, music, literature, theatre. It reflects the Irish communities ever-growing significance in defining Liverpool as a great European city. The are over 25 venues with over 55 events going on. Event listings, tickets prices and more details can be found on their website www.liverpoolirishfestival.com
Harvey Seager Interview
Over the years we have featured stories of members. This is an interview with Harvey that was in the Lancashire evening post in 2009 –
Harvey Seager was born to entertain. From Sunday afternoons around the piano as a boy with his band-member dad, he grew up to join a cabaret act, learnt a range of musical instruments and become a skilful magician – all of which stood him in a good stead to land the role of ringmaster at Blackpool Tower Circus, where the crowds will roll up for his 30th season next week. peter richardson meets him By all means ask musician Harvey Seager to play you a tune…but you’d better specify which instrument. The 58-year-old pro is proficient on trumpet, posthorn, euphonium, piano and guitar. Oh yes, and he could give George Formby a run for his money on the old banjolele. But while it was reasonably certain that Harvey would one day earn a living on the back of the talent he learned from his father – a Preston man who featured on one of the first electronically produced records – no-one could have predicted he would land a job which has only ever had half a dozen takers in 115 years. He’s the Ringmaster at Blackpool Tower Circus. And when the drums roll next Saturday to herald the start of another season, Harvey Seager will be celebrating 30 years at the world-famous venue: “I just love it,” he says. Mind you, he didn’t love it quite so much on the day he fell, totally unscripted, into thousands of gallons of cascading water as the ring filled up for the traditional water fountain finale: “I had to step into this gondola but suddenly it started rocking. I did the splits and fell in. “I was in a light blue suit and I had to do this closing speech. When I climbed out of the water, half of my suit had turned dark blue and as I walked to where I was supposed to be, I could see all these golden muscle-men trying to hold their macho strongman poses while they were shaking with laughter. “I didn’t find it very funny to be honest, but it actually happened again later on in the season and even I had to laugh.” You sort of knew that Bamber Bridge-born Harvey came from a musical family. His sisters, Charmaine, Estrallita, Zelda and Mignon are all named after musical pieces. Charmaine, for example, was Mantovani’s theme tune although Harvey apparently owes his own monicker to Sir John Martin-Harvey, the British actor and theatre manager. Dad William was steeped in variety theatre, spending much of his career as the principal trumpeter in the orchestra pits of Preston’s Hippodrome and King’s Palace. He was also one half of an instrumental duo called the Masked Strollers who made two records for the Edison Bell Company in 1931: “My dad actually bought a copy of the first one on Preston market and I still have it. I even bought a wind-up gramophone so I could hear it authentically,” says Harvey. Mr Seager senior had a brass band, Preston Excelsior, and Harvey would sit in with them on soprano cornet: “We were all brought up to play. Sunday afternoons were always spent round the piano.” At one stage in his childhood he played with a concert party whose job was to perform with Preston Magic Circle, in between the conjuring acts. He got interested in the tricks he saw being performed, picked up the skills and is now a proficient magician himself. But none of it would influence the early stages of his working life after he left Walton-le-Dale Secondary School and became an apprentice signwriter and then a millworker at Orr’s in Bamber Bridge where he met Shirley, his wife of 36 years. He’d been doing the clubs as part of a cabaret act known as The Kardales and had developed a multi-instrumental solo act combining singing, comedy and magic, which saw him performing in Blackpool’s No 1 Club in 1974. In the audience was Margaret Little, wife of the late comedy actor Tony Melody. She worked at the Tower and wondered whether Harvey fancied joining the Family Funtime show, entertaining youngsters in the ballroom. He did the season, and once he’d honoured all his own bookings, returned in 1979. Cut now to 1992 when the circus found itself with a new producer, the Hungarian Laci Endresz who asked Harvey if he would like a part in the show: “It was a bit difficult fitting both jobs in but I did a full season as a Roman narrator and still managed to entertain the kids in the ballroom as well. I loved it and after that I did a few Christmas shows and that sort of thing.” The invitation to become Ringmaster came in 2000. The job, aside from wearing the traditional uniform of top hat, red tailcoat and black trousers, basically requires a talent for non-stop talking: “It’s my job to introduce the acts, to communicate with the kids in the audience and basically to keep things running. Yes, I do get involved in the acts. With the clowns, for instance, I have to stand there while they ridicule me but actually, among circus folk there’s a lot of respect for the uniform.” At his home in Leyland, Harvey admits to finding it difficult at first. Rehearsals are meticulous in the search for perfection. Once, when an act which was central to the entire production cancelled at the 11th hour, the rest of them stayed up until 6am, re-writing and re-rehearsing a whole new show: “The season started at midday. Amazingly, it went like clockwork,” he recalls It all starts again, on April 4, with a show which has had its customary overhaul: “It’s completely different every year. I can’t say too much about this year’s but there’ll be a mix of modern and traditional.” He thinks the recession might be good for domestic tourist venues such as Blackpool but in any case reckons he will be playing to the usual packed houses of up to 1,500 a time, usually twice a day. Harvey Seager won’t be giving up in a hurry. Music, magic and the circus have provided him with a living for 35 years. His children, Lee and Tracy, grew up thinking it was perfectly normal for their dad to be “The Man in the Big Glasses” entertaining kids. In turn they have four children of their own who can be fairly sure none of their friends has a circus ringmaster for a grandad. At one time, he would spend winters hard at work on the cruise liners. In the 1990s he did eight consecutive years entertaining Swedish and Finnish families with close-up magic routines and playing the piano in the bar. Nowadays he is content to be the star turn at kiddies’ parties and creating paintings as a hobby, knowing that summer will be the usual whirlwind of clowns, jugglers, trapeze artists…and an awful lot of water he’ll be trying his best to avoid.