The Folk Orc came to life in 2009 as a fortnightly session at Coda Music Centre, Christchurch, Dorset. It came about through a conversation between myself and CEO of Coda Music Trust, Phil Hallett. The idea was simple, create an orchestra based around traditional folk music with players of any ability. These initial sessions brought together a small group of amateur musicians to learn a repertoire of traditional folk music and play it as a group, and 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 Coda Folk Orchestra, one of the first times that the session attendees played out. What you see here is the beginnings of what would become known as The Folk Orc Regular Sessions Band.
In those first couple of years the numbers were small but the sense of community was strong. Many of the people who participated in those early sessions are still regularly attending our sessions today.
Another early outing for the Orchestra, this time playing at Blackwater Arboretum in The New Forest with Bob Burke and West-African Kora player Sura Susso.
As the popularity of these original sessions grew, the Folk Orc rapidly expanded to accommodate additional weekly sessions in other areas of Dorset. With a successful regular turnout and as the increasing members continued to evolve their skills as performers, the Folk Orc Regular Sessions Band started to showcase their talents by setting up performances at events and local venues.
The Folk Orc Regular Sessions Band in Wimborne Minster after a performance for Wimborne Minster Folk Festival in 2015 with attendees of both the Christchurch and Swanage Sessions.
The Folk Orc sessions soon began to take on an identity, and still to this day are focused on encouraging people to play music, play music together and play music for no other reason than the enjoyment of doing so. The first big extension to the sessions were the Folk Orc Folk Days that ran twice a year at Coda Music Centre from 2013 - 2016. These were a chance to bring in other local professional musicians to impart their own view of Folk Music.
The Coda Folk Orc Folk Days
The Folk Orc has gone on to run workshops and perform at festivals, organise folk club evenings and much more, but that is all to be told another time.
to be continued…..