This was 2015

Saturday 7th February: Pwllheli Sailing Club

Sunday 22nd February: Bishops Castle Arts Festival
2.30pm – Workshop, The Cadet Hall, Bishops Castle
8.00pm – Concert, Bishops Castle Town Hall

Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th April: Annual Shanty Festival, The National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port

Monday 4th May: Green Man Festival, The Sun Inn, Clun 

Sunday 17th May: Purslow Garden Party

Saturday 23rd – Monday 25th May: Fishguard Folk Festival
Sat 23rd – 12.00 noon, The Yacht Club, Lower Town and 8.00pm, The Ship Inn
Sun 24th – 11.00 am, Workshop, TS Skirmisher

Sunday 5th July: ‘Making Waves in Welshpool’ Canal Festival

Saturday 15th August: Llanymynech Folk Weekend
12.30 – 2.00, Singaround session
2.00 – 4.00, Workshop

Saturday 5th September: Newtown Food Festival

Saturday 10th October: Felindre Village Hall, Swansea – Workshop and Concert with Eclectics and Humbrella

Saturday 14th November: Shropshire Hills Mini Music Festival, Craven Arms
Morning, Workshop
Evening, Gala Concert

Wednesday 16th December: Llantrisant Folk Club Christmas Party


This was 2014:

Wednesday 5th March: Marton WI

Saturday 22nd March: Minsterley Eisteddfod

Saturday 5th April: The Big Busk, Shrewsbury

Saturday 12th April: Knighton Community Market

Friday 18th – Sunday 20th April: Fourth Annual Shanty Festival, Ellesmere Port

Thursday 24th April: The Sun Inn, Clun

Saturday 26th April: Private Party, Clun

Friday 2nd May – Saturday 3rd May: Musicathon, Bishops Castle

Sunday 4th May: Upton Folk Festival

Monday 5th May: Green Man Festival, Clun

Saturday 10th May: Folk Down The Track, Llandrindod Wells

Sunday 11th May: World War One Commemoration Event, Millennium Green, Ludlow

Friday 23rd – Monday 26th May: Fishguard Folk Festival

Saturday 14th June: Private Party, Clun

Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd June: Alcester Folk Festival

Friday 27th – Sunday 29th June: Carhampton Folk Festival

Friday 18th – Sunday 21st July: Festival At The Edge, Much Wenlock

Thursday 24th July: The Sun Inn, Clun

Thursday 31st July: Clun Carnival – The Sun Inn, Clun

Thursday 28th August: The Sun Inn, Clun

Sunday 7th September: Newtown Food Festival

Saturday 13th September: Knighton Community Market

Sunday 14th September: Ratlinghope Church

Thursday 25th September: The Sun Inn, Clun

Thursday 23rd October: The Sun Inn, Clun

Saturday 15th November: Music For Hegongo, Workshop & Concert, Michaelchurch

Thursday 27th November: The Sun Inn, Clun

Thursday 18th December: The Sun Inn, Clun

This is how 2013 turned out for us:

Thursday 24th January: The Sun Inn, Clun

Thursday 31st January: Balladeers & Chancers, The Dukes, Presteigne

Thursday 14th February: Welshpool Music Society

Thursday 28th February: The Sun Inn, Clun

Saturday 23rd March: Minsterley Eisteddfod

Sunday 24th March: Genevieve Tudor’s Sunday Folk Show, 6.00pm, Radio Shropshire, Hereford & Worcester and Stoke & Staffs

Wednesday 27th March: Llantrisant Folk Club

Thursday 28th March: The Sun Inn, Clun

Friday 29th March: Valley Folk Club, Pontardawe

Saturday 30th March: Third Annual Shanty Festival, Ellesmere Port

Thursday 25th April: The Sun Inn, Clun

Sunday 5th May: The Green Man Festival, Clun

Friday 10th May: Tredegar House Folk Festival

Thursday 23rd May: The Sun Inn, Clun

Friday 24th – Monday 27th May: Fishguard Folk Festival

Thursday 27th June: The Sun Inn, Clun

Wednesday 3rd July: Harmony Workshop, Ludlow

Saturday 13th July: Folk on the Lawn, Tintern

Thursday 18th July: Folk Down The Track, The Castle, Knucklas

Sunday 21st July: St Etheldreda’s Church, Hyssington

Thursday 25th July: The Sun Inn, Clun

Thursday 1st August: Clun Carnival, The Sun Inn, Clun

Saturday 17th August: Llanymynech Festival – Lunchtime Singaround, The Cross Keys

Sunday 18th August: Llanymynech Festival – West Gallery Service, St Agatha’s, 11.00am

Thursday 22nd August: The Sun Inn, Clun

Sunday 8th September: Newtown Festival

Wednesday 11th September: TLC, Montgomery

Thursday 26th September: The Sun Inn, Clun

Saturday 28th September: Minsterley Eisteddfod Support Event

Sunday 29th September: Genevieve Tudor’s Sunday Folk Show, 6.00pm, Radio Shropshire, Hereford & Worcester and Stoke & Staffs

Saturday 19th October: Chapel Lawn (postponed)

Thursday 24th October: The Sun Inn, Clun

Saturday 26th October: Ashville Lodge, Wallasey

Sunday 27th October: Wallasey Folk Club

Thursday 28th November: Hyssington Village Hall

Friday 29th October – Sunday 31st November: Foxes Manor, Bourton-on-the-Water

Tuesday 3rd December: Winter Songs, Long Mynd Visitor Centre, Carding Mill Valley, Church Stretton

Wednesday 4th December: Montgomery Jazz Club, The Dragon Hotel

Friday 6th December: Rocksprings Centre, Ludlow (private party)

Saturday 7th December: Workshop & Concert, St Agatha’s Llanymynech

Saturday 14th December: Workshop, Long Mynd Visitor Centre, Carding Mill Valley, Church Stretton

Thursday 18th December: The Sun Inn, Clun


The Rapsquillion Awards were inaugurated in December 2012 with the aim of recognising the talents and achievements of Rapsquillion members and supporters. The winners for 2012, with their citations, are below. All the wnners would like to thank the adjudicating panel for their perception, perspicacity and passion without which this auspicious occasion would have plummeted to the pavement.

Throughout 2012, David has proven beyond any question that he is truly deserving of this award. From his varied dietary needs to his wearing of yellow goggles, and from his blowing up the wrong hole of his harmonica to the fitting of his pacemaker, Flatline Dave has been attention-seeking at every turn. The zenith of his endeavours was reached when, as part of a group walk along a benign riverside track, he contrived to launch himself from the track into waist-deep mud, on the way grasping at brambles in order to become caked in blood as well as slime. The adjudicators recognise the effort that this, and his other ‘moments’ have taken, and also know a case of Munchhausen Syndrome when they see one.

“Is it OK if I miss practice next Monday, I live in Milan”.
The Rapsquillion HR team treated Sue’s request with understanding and compassion – attendance at practice would mean a round journey of some 1,942 miles (we checked) and she may have been too tired to play a full part in proceedings.
However, the next, feeble in the opinion of the adjudicators, reason for non-attendance really took the ship’s biscuit. “I’m living on a boat in Alicante” may well impress the glitterati who make up the bulk of Rapsquillion’s audiences, it may be a round journey of 2,882 miles, (we checked again) but when the rest of one’s time is spent lolling in a marina on the business end of a gin and tonic are we really expected to believe that practice is once again, justifiably off the agenda? Off course not. It is an EXCUSE, the best we’ve ever heard.

The standout occasion in this category occurred on 1st September, in St George’s, Clun. At the start of a lively rendition of ‘We Call Ourselves Rapsquillion’, the first section of the first verse was completed without fault. However, as a protest against the almost overwhelming workload foisted on them by their so-called ‘Musical Director’, the rest of the band decided to take industrial action for the duration of the repeat of the second section. All eyes were on Keith to see how he would cope with this wildcat action. He, of course, continued manfully, completing the whole piece without hesitation, repetition or deviation despite the giggles of his erstwhile opponents. For this dedication to the ‘bonnie lass’ and ‘greeny grass’ (whatever that means), the award of Soloist Of The Year, 2012 can go to no other.

Although this is the first time the ‘Foot In Mouth’ award has been, errm, awarded, this honour is seen by the adjudicators as a recognition of a lifetime of achievement. The outstanding performance in 2012, despite not being part of a Rapsquillion outing, was witnessed and verified by the awarding committee and is thoroughly deserving of this award.
The moment in question occurred in a coffee shop often frequented by members of Rapsquillion. The recipient decided that, as an accompaniment to her coffee she would have a piece of traditional Welsh tea-bread. The person waiting on the table confirmed Jac’s order as a piece of “bara bridd”. However, an unfortunate speech impediment meant a curious pronunciation. Jac was fascinated by this and responded “Oh, is that how you say it – can you just say that again please….?” For her fortitude in turning victory into defeat this award can only go to Jac Wills.

There is a crucial moment in a Rapsquillion performance. The line ‘Drop your nickel in my pot, Joe’ can provide a fulcrum for success or failure of the whole ‘Java Jive’ experience. Over the years the phrase has been subject to much bastardisation at the hands of, in particular, Jac and Keith, usually resulting in rolling of the eyes by Liz. In addition there have been a number of attempts at recreating the sound of said nickel hitting said pot, in the main by Trevor and, in the main, unsuccessful. These, frankly useless, efforts have including use of a paper cup, a full pint glass and feedback from Dave’s pacemaker. None, however, reached the standard achieved on one particularly boozy evening at The Glen, when an actual nickel was dropped in an actual pot (whether or not it was Joe’s remains a mystery and irrelevance). For his achievement of authenticity of sound, perfection of timing and embracing of a crucial musical moment, this award can go to no other than Mr Neil Cotton.

Although others have tried, no one has met the standard of uncontrollable mirth set by the winner. Who can forget the faces of the soprano section, red with the strain of holding in giggles, when considering ‘the yellowed underwear’ of the Hills of Shiloh, or the senior bass collapsing during a test rendition of the words ‘Crooch-ma-Cree’? Neither of these incidents approach the occasions when Jenny has had to retire from a conversation with tears rolling down her face and, although she has battled on during performances, this citation is in honour of a late effort during Rapsquillion’s stay in Dorset (yes , we’d recommend it to anyone), which resulted in colleagues being overcome to the point of hyperventilation. Trevor had thought it may be a good idea to explore Jenny’s reaction to the sound of a biscuit being crunched during her second solo in ‘Shores of Old Blighty’. The mere thought of it had him almost cracking and Jenny’s reaction when confronted not only with the sound but also Trevor eyeballing her with a frightening intensity, could not have been more satisfying as she was completely unable to continue with this thought-provoking and evocative song. Unfortunately, neither could anyone else. In fact one was forced to sing from outside the room, an action which resulted in even more leg-wetting action from Jenny. Time will tell whether this beautiful piece will ever be performed again.

EASY OF THE YEAR – Kay Smillie
We all make resolutions, whether on January 1st or at other times throughout the year. Resolutions are usually made with some idea of betterment; to enhance the feel-good factor, to be healthier, to set an example to one’s peers. Most of us fail to keep them. Sometimes it’s a matter of weeks, more often days. This award is being made in recognition of the recipient’s ability to renege on a resolution within minutes of it being made. She has shown continued resolve coupled with the steely determination not to achieve. Almost every week of 2012, Kay Smillie has expressed the intention to ’only drink at weekends’. There is absolutely no evidence that this commitment has lasted any longer than a few minutes at a time. Despite the use of twisted logic – “Monday is part of the weekend”, “Tuesday is Holby so shall we have a little drink while we’re relaxing?”, “Trev’s not working on Thursday so Wednesday is part of the weekend’”, and “I’m not working on Friday so Thursday is part of the weekend” – there is no finer successor to the great Groucho Marx, who declared that he could ‘resist anything except temptation’.

STROP OF THE YEAR – Trevor Hedges
‘Strop’ is not a word that one would normally associate with Rapsquillion. The band is renowned for its generosity of spirit, it’s ‘hail fellow, well met’ approach; members’ tolerance of one another under extreme provocation is something which has been commented on by many watchers. However, there was one occasion in 2012 which was the exception necessary for proof of the rule. After all, with no dark one would not recognise the light. With no sour what meaning would ‘sweet’ have? Without The Joker, would Batman have needed to exist? On the long, tedious, late-night journey back from Newport Folk Club, under the onslaught of helpful hints and tips from the sopranos, (who, fuelled with red wine and emboldened by esprit-de-corps, had plotted to explore their chauffeur’s limits) the driver’s tolerance finally cracked. Bonhomie was despatched from the window as he enquired whether his travelling companions intended to keep up the banter for the whole journey, and whether they really would prefer to hitch-hike home. The only clues to his mental state were the volume and pitch of his voice and the slight flecks of spittle hitting the steering wheel. There was silence, from that point on, for around 30 seconds, as the shocked ladies came to terms with the outburst and then, as one, decided not to ignore it. They giggled for the next twenty miles. For breaking at the first sign of provocation, for rising so beautifully to the perfectly cast bait and for vowing never to be alone in a car with the miscreants again, this award must go to Mr Trevor Hedges.

There are others in the band to whom one may expect this award to be made. There have been, throughout 2012, a number of occasions where the vernacular has overtaken propriety. Even, in some instances, on stage during performances the rogue element, has, in order to add what he (sorry, they,) consider to be colour to proceedings resorted to words that would not be used at the dinner table (although having said that, the Rapsquillion dinner table is no place for parents, maiden aunts or the faint-hearted, although plumbers would probably be able to play a full part in the conversation). However, the adjudicators decided to bestow this honour in recognition of the fact that surprise can add to the effect of the vocabulary of the gutter. The occasional oath, when passing the lips of Liz Woodcock, becomes all the more expressive. As we recall the phrases “it’s b****y p*****g down again” and “what a load of b******s”, imbued with Liz’s chief librarian inflection, it proves to us that we may be able to take the girl out of Stourbridge but we can never take Stourbridge out of the girl.