FOOTNOTES Ceilidh and Barn Dance Agency

Sue's Bands

Sue plays in three different bands for barn dance and ceilidh dances.

The first of which has been in existence for over forty years. It is led by her father, John Stapledon, and is called The West Kirby Country Dance Band.

The second is a much newer band. It is led by Sue and is a group of ten plus musicians called The Lowlands Fiddle Band.

The third band is a very recent setup. It is a keyboard / fiddle - piano accordion duo called Schottische.

The West Kirby Country Dance Band

West Kirby Country Band The West Kirby Country Dance Band has been playing English country dance music for over forty years. Their line up has considerably changed during this time. The leader is John Stapledon.

Two mouth organs, a ukulele and a washboard were the original line up for the band. Now they have a very different selection of instruments.

John plays English concertina, Sue plays keyboard and occasionally fiddle, and there is a third member who usually joins us on piano accordion. This is either Tom from North Wales or Kevin who is known as Mitch or is sometimes referred to as 'Little Kevin', who often travels all the way from Norwich. As well as being an excellent dance musician, Kevin also plays classical accordion. He plays regularly in a classical accordion group. Mitch was in fact our first regular accordionist and with us as a teenager for many years. West Kirby Country Band He then got transferred to Manchester with his work, then moved to the Isle of Man, later to settle in Norwich. With his family connection on the Wirral, this means that he is still fortunately able to join us from time to time.

We've known Tom a very long time. He is a first class accordionist and has played in his own bands over the years. I first worked with Tom at the Burton Manor summer schools in the late 1970's. He is a very versatile musician and can play many different styles from English/Scottish/Irish through to classical. As well as an accordionist, Tom also plays flute and piano.

Based in the North West, we play regularly for barn dances through to Playford Balls - the last one being the Cheltenham Costume Ball - and club dances. We have played for most of the major folk festivals round the country including Broadstairs, Chippenham, Bromyard and Eastbourne to name but a few.

The band has a very popular reputation through the many recordings they have made in the 'Not Quite' series. 'Not Quite Playford' was the first one which included dances that were popular at the time, and this has been our policy throughout the series.

You can view and buy our cassettes, CDs and books from the Music Shop. Or if you prefer, you can contact Sue either by phone, email or snail mail for more information about these items.

The Lowlands Fiddle Band

Lowlands Fiddle Band Although we recently disbanded, The Lowlands Fiddle Band was a group of ten plus musicians who got together once a week to play traditional Irish music.

We were based at the Lowlands Community Centre in West Derby, Liverpool and met on a Wednesday night for a couple of hours.

The band was actually an adult night school class but we also went out as a band and played many gigs. We had been going for over eight years.

Although we were a fiddle band, we also encompassed a variety of instruments - e.g. a couple of guitars, bodhran, mandolin, banjo, concertina and piano. The remainder were fiddle players. The class had seen many changes over the years but this was our final line up.

The class grew out of the adult learning night school which in the early days was run by Eamon Coyne and Sean MacNamara of Liverpool Ceili Band fame. When Sean retired, Sue took over the teaching, but after a while that class folded for various reasons and we started meeting at Lowlands.

This proved to be a very successful move and we had gone from strength to strength as more people got to hear about us.

Lowlands Fiddle Band Our members came from Liverpool, Cheshire, The Wirral and as far away as North Wales.

Some of the gigs we have played at include a charity night held at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool, a Titanic theme night and another was playing for a charity night at the residence of the Duke of Westminster. In fact, this was our very first performance.

Other gigs we have played at include two evenings for the Irish guards, one in Liverpool and the other for the St Helens branch, all of which proved to be a success. We have played at other various gigs before and since.

When we played for gigs, we did not play just background music, we also played for ceili dancing. We could also include songs as we had at least two singers in the band. The band provided lively, foot tapping jigs 'n' reels to encourage you up on the dance floor!

One of our other main projects was to produce a recording of traditional Irish music. This was to raise money for the Linda McCartney Cancer Centre in Liverpool. These are available from the Music Shop and you can either contact Sue or Alice about this album. All proceeds go the the Linda McCartney charity.

Schottische

Sue Stapledon Sue and Les met a couple of years ago 'by chance' playing as 'stand ins' in another band.

They found they musically 'clicked' and now get together to play ceilidh / barn dance music.

In this dynamic duo, Sue plays fiddle or keyboard and Les plays piano accordion and is also a singer.

Their style is mainly Scottish or Irish music.

SchottischeAs well as being a fine accordionist, Les is also a very talented artist and has his own art business. You can go to Les' website via FOOTNOTES links page.

Although they have only been working together for a short while, Sue and Les have a wealth of experience playing for dances in their various other bands.

Together they play very lively, exciting dance music.


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