It's a splendid sunny spring day here in Yorkshire, and I hope it is as pleasant wherever you are. Here's a picture I took this time last year of our splendid venue - Bolton Castle in Wensleydale.
I've been really busy this month with my other (new) festival - Richmond MayFest - and can only apologise for the late newsletter. While Medieval Music in the Dales is a fairly well-oiled machine after six years, MayFest has been a steep learning curve which has taken me back to 2016 and the first MMitD when we were very much all learning on the job! However, it is - I think - all ready to go this weekend now and I can return my full attention to Medieval Music in the Dales.
The most important thing of course is that the Box Office is about to open to everyone for this year's festival - and also the registration for the Summer School.
The online Box Office can be found here - but please note that it will not open until noon on Sunday May 1. So don't try and use it until then!
As usual with Medieval Music in the Dales, the important thing is to get your Festival Pass.
If you want to attend any of the workshops or 1-2-1 sessions then you must get a Festival Pass for at least the relevant day.
If you want to camp on site, then you must similarly have a Festival Pass.
If you want to enjoy the tavern scene in the evening after the Castle has closed, you must have a Festival Pass. Everyone without a Festival Pass has to leave the Castle grounds when it closes to the public at 5pm
A Festival Pass also means you can attend as many of the daytime concerts and talks as you like with no extra charge.
If you ONLY want to attend an evening concert, you don't need to get a Festival Pass.
If you are a Friend or a registered Performer or Exhibitor at the Festival you get a free Festival Pass anyway, and don't need to buy one through the Box Office.
So generally speaking - first get your Pass!
The Friends of Medieval Music in the Dales have naturally been taking advantage of their early bird booking option for the festival, and this means that a couple of things are already sold out.
Bill Taylor's psaltery workshop is already full UNLESS you have your own psaltery. If that's the case and you want to attend this workshop, drop me a line and I'll sort out a place for you.
Paul Leigh has no more 1-2-1 places available
Harps are popular things too, and my Beginner Harp workshop is approaching full, as is Bill Taylor's availability for 1-2-1 sessions. So if you are interested in harp options, book soon.
But for the most part there is still plenty to choose from and plenty of availability. There are loads of great vocal opportunities this year - workshops with Vivien Ellis, Leah Stuttard, Voice, Amor Ceu, Stef Conner, Eva Moreda... New this year are vielle workshops with the wonderful Juliette Primrose - there is one for complete beginners, and one for those who are more familiar with vielles in particular or bowed strings in general. Another thrilling option is a pipe and tabor workshop with Silke Gwendolyn Schulze - Silke is a simply awesome player and this is a great chance for the many of you who have done beginner pipe & tabor at MMitD to progress a bit further with this uniquely challenging instrument! (I speak as one who has difficulty patting my head and rubbing my tummy at the same time, ha ha...)
Silke is also available for 1-2-1 tuition on a range of instruments. Altogether, there is 1-2-1 tuition available on shawm, bagpipe, recorder, double recorder, harp, hurdy gurdy (I'm delighted to say Steve Tyler will be joining us to offer tuition) and voice (as will Richard de Winter).
From May 1st you can also register for the Medieval Music in the Dales Summer School: Medieval Music-Making. This is going to be such a splendid few days in the company of outstanding musicians - here's a reminder from our February newsletter.
If you would like to attend, please get your registration in as soon as you can. The registration forms are here. Please read the notes on accommodation on this page, and if you need any help working out your best option just drop me a line.
You will note that we are also offering subsidised places - please feel free to pass this information on to anyone whom you think might be interested. These places are for students or unwaged people and a reference will be requested.
Here's a magnificently moody picture of two of our Summer School tutors - Stef Conner and Hanna Marti.
These two will be leading the strand on medieval composition - exploring how one can get into and develop the medieval musical mindset to create new music and interpret original music. I'm determined to sit in on as much of this one as I can, even though I will no doubt be running around administering things left, right and centre.... It does promise to be absolutely fascinating!
The Summer School takes place in The Jonas Centre, a retreat and holiday centre run by a wonderful charity, located just outside Redmire - no more than 30 minutes walk from Bolton Castle over the fields. It's a lovely place to be, and proved perfect for our first ever Summer School last year. Accommodation is in the chalet cabins (left) and sessions mostly in the Granary Barn (right). The middle picture is quite simply the magnificent view towards Penhill, whose distinctive silhouette dominates this stretch of Wensleydale.
That's all for this month everyone. I'm sorry that it is mostly just about the 'in real life' offerings this September - that's just how it is when box offices are due to open I guess! I will have something a little more meatily medieval for you in the next newsletter. With best wishes to you all
Gill Page - Director - Medieval Music in the Dales