American Morris Newsletter  

American Morris Newsletter

Volume 26, Number 1
May, 2006

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 AMN, Vol. 26, No. 1

Letters, We've Got Letters!

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From: Steve Corrsin
This is about Revels and the Morris. My experience is from NYC, where I danced in quite a few Revels, mostly with the Greenwich Morris Men in the 1980s. A less praiseworthy feature was the Revels' consistent refusal to acknowledge the creativity of individual Morris dancers. One year, we performed "Froggy's First Jump" (by Paul Handford of Thames Valley); another year, a dance by Gary Undercuffler. Both times, I was assured by the people running the show that these individuals would be acknowledged in the program. I insisted on this, and found that... nope. Their names were removed. By the NYC Revels people? The Cambridge leadership? (NYC was very much under Cambridge's control.)

I never got a reason. Is this because it would go counter to the Revels' ideology to acknowledge modern individual creativity? Or is it because the Revels can be quite aggressive about trade marking their product?

I frankly believe that the less pleasant aspects of the American Morris revival need to be recognized. This is one. Since I also believe in open arguments I'd be glad if you print this. Hey, maybe I'll finally get an answer, after almost 20 years.
Ed. Note: What to say, but agreed! All aspects must be discussed and recognized. More to come (hopefully) on this subject.
From: Dick Bagwell

When do you and your accomplices get time to work for a living? The latest issue is a triumph of content; how wonderful to nail down the current Morris scene, and the antecedents, for all time. (Until Western Civilization collapses, of course, which may well be.)

I was very taken by "The Morris Dancers" sheet music. Software that will convert hard copy to editable notation has been on my mind for some time, and I appreciate the nudge in that direction. I must say, there are uncorrected errors in the current version in MIDI. I thought I detected a clam in bar 16, and sure enough going back to your sources, the chord should be A-C-F, not G-C-F, a truly villainous sound. I note from the website of the scanning program that it's supposed to notice musical incongruities (if that was the word they used), but it certainly missed this one. I have a feeling there are more mistakes here, and when I get a little spare time I'll work through it and send you a corrected MIDI version.

But again--bravo!
Ed. Note: Dick Bagwell and I will revisit this tune and the concept of digitizing sheet music at a later issue.

From: Phil Watson

As someone who has danced the Morris in and around the Cambridge UK area for the past thirty odd years I have been fortunate enough to have been on the receiving end of a number of fine upstanding citizens of the USA and Canada in the many and varied teams I have danced with. Many were taught by me, some taught me. And one day I'm going to get my own back.
The cartoon of the evolution of the American Morris dancer brought back to me the fine technique and upright posture shown by most of the dancers who saw fit to dance near me. I'm being serious. My compliments to everyone associated with your journal and with Morris in the Americas. Should anyone have memories of me that they would wish to forget I am. 
Phil Watson, Open Morris Treasurer for past 17 years and dancer with Staploe Hundred Morris Men (defunct) Fenstanton Morris ( I left) Granta Morris (defunct) Morris in the Maze (defunct) Cromwell Morris (defunct) and currently Scragenz Morris and the Infamous Bunnies from Hell Morris (believed to be the only side whose kit is fuchsia pink)
 AMN, Vol. 26, No. 1, May, 2006  ISSN: 1074-2689