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The Folk Orc Festival Workshop Band shortly after rocking the Long Barn at Purbeck Valley Folk Festival

The Folk Orc

The Folk Orc is here to create an antidote. Folk music is about community, sharing experiences and telling stories. We want to bring folk music back to being about everyday people playing music together and creating a community free from the confines of any social hierarchy. There is a place for you in The Folk Orc no matter what you play or what level you play at.

The Folk Orc came to life in 2009 as a fortnightly session at Coda Music Centre, Christchurch – run by Chris Hopgood, a professional, multi-instrumentalist with more than 20 years experience in both his career as an instrumental teacher and as a performer. These sessions brought together a small group of amateur musicians to learn a repertoire of traditional folk music and play it as a group. This is where the community spirit of the Folk Orc was born, along with an ethos that encourages people to explore their musical identity, within a social network of like-minded individuals.

The Folk Orc sessions are open to everyone, no matter what age or ability you are, all we ask is that you play an acoustic instrument and learn the Folk Orc mantra of ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ We run regular sessions at Coda Music Centre every Thursday evening during term time where we learn a selection of traditional songs and tunes arranged in our own way, making them easy to play along with, sing and have a good time doing it.


The aim of The Folk Orc is to get more people playing music, and this is what our Festival Workshops are here to do. With our crew of tutors in our trusty 8 metre bell tent 'Big Beastie', we introduce people to playing music. Some of the people we have come into our tent have never played an instrument before, they may be young or old, it doesn't matter to us, we can get them playing and joining in. We are also there for people who already play an instrument and either want to try something different, pick up a few tips or get some experience playing with other like minded musicians whilst learning some traditional folk songs.


Chris Hopgood

I started playing guitar at the age of 12, I was in my first band within a year and by the time I was 15 I had several regular students, who were mostly friends of the family and wanted to learn guitar. At 16 I went off to study music at college and whilst there I was asked to run an Adult Education guitar course, every Saturday morning. I was aware that as much as this was a demonstration of the colleges confidence in my abilities, it was also because none of the adult lecturers wanted to get up earlier than necessary on the weekend. This Adult Ed course is where I got the bug for teaching, and since then I have run many more courses, not only on guitar but also mandolin, songwriting and improvisation, to name a few. I have presented several workshops designed to get people playing music together and continued to teach privately, as well as in schools, all the while working as a professional musician, in several very active bands covering a wide range of genres including Jazz, Blues, Punk, Country, Folk and Reggae. So, when asked whether I am a performer or a teacher first, it is very hard for me to answer - I do both and have done since that Adult Education course, on a Saturday morning, whilst I was in college.

If you are interested in 1-to-1 lessons (online or face to face) on Guitar, Mandolin, Bass, Banjo or Ukulele then you can get in touch with Coda Music Centre on 01425 276 161, email or visit the website through the link below.

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