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GUEST,George Henderson Secrets of a good singaround? (256* d) RE: Secrets of a good singaround? 21 Apr 10

30 years experience with the Góilín singers club in Dublin shows that the "jump in" method really works. It leads to informal themes, groups of songs from a particular author (eg Cyril Tawney), humorous body counting during long ballads etc. An unwritten rule which is respected by almost everybody attending is that only one song is sung per person at least until everybody who wants to has had a go. A light touch MC chooses 3 people to commence the session in each half giving them the chance to select shy individuals who may never jump in. It actually works very well. Góilín is a forum for unaccompanied Traditional singing in any language.

In our Bray session we are promoting impromptu singing with rather less success but people are slowly coming round to it. We were only 2 years old last Saturday so we have a long way to go to catch up to Góilín. It really is a good system. Once again we have a light touch MC to ensure that it does not get out of hand. We welcome people who wish to accompany themselves under the proviso that they do not accompany anyone else unless requested to do so. And our sessions are not strictly traditional. Anything goes as long as it is acoustic. The MC ensures that people are given an opportunity to sing if they want to despite their reluctance to "jump in".

The "Noble Call" system can work depending on the understanding of people within the session. I have seen this work extremely well at the Inishowen Traditional song seminar in Ballyfiffen each March (next festival is their 22nd). Once again the groups present ensured that the noble call (where one singer nominates the next)works on the principle of one person one song until all have sung.

The jump in is my preferred method of operating but it simply will not work if there are selfish people around who simply want to hear themselves.

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