Tom Napper & Tom Bliss

TOM NAPPER and TOM BLISS were Guests at the Everyman in September 2006.  They worked with Pupils and performed at schools on two days during their visit, being COMBS Middle School and BOXFORD County Primary School.  The workshops were tailored to suit the ages and abilities of the Children involved.

Boxford Country Primary School

Today, 29th September, we were delighted to welcome the very talented Tom Bliss and Tom Napper into our school (Boxford Primary School) where they shared their enthusiasm and passion  for Folk music with our children. They carried out two excellent workshop sessions - the first for our Year Three children and the second with the Year four class.  The workshop sessions were followed by a superb afternoon session for the whole school, during which the children from the morning workshops were able to perform the songs and music which they had been practicing.

The enthusiasm and energy shown by the two Toms was infectious and they quickly developed an excellent rapport with their young audience. They introduced their musical performances by sharing the wonderful background stories to their songs and by giving the children interesting facts about the musical instruments they were using, most of them new to the children.

Tom Napper & Tom Bliss The children were fascinated to learn that Tom Bliss writes many of his own songs and were keen to listen to the stories behind them. They were also surprised to learn that many well  known songs, such as 'What shall we do with a drunken sailor,' are in fact folk songs. The children were encouraged to join in with repeated choruses and did so with great enthusiasm, clapping, tapping and dancing in their seats.

In the workshop sessions the children all had the opportunity to play an instrument, either percussion or tuned, to accompany the singing. Some children were taught a riff and were thrilled to accompany the two Toms in their afternoon performance. It was wonderful to see the children completely absorbed as they concentrated on their tasks in the music making session.  They listened attentively to the stories but were bursting with questions and comments which Tom and Tom answered patiently, allowing the children to feel that their comments were valued and welcome.

The two Toms delivered a superb performance, as singers, entertainers and musicians. For many of the children this was probably their first experience of 'live music' and their enjoyment and excitement was clear for all to see. By the end of the day Tom Bliss and Tom Napper had not only helped to develop an enthusiasm and love of music in the children, but had also gained a new group of young fans!  Tom Napper & Tom Bliss They took the time to talk informally to the children at the end of the performance, showing them their musical instruments and signing autographs.

It was a brilliant day, enjoyed by all, staff and children alike. Many thanks to Tom Bliss and Tom Napper, and also to Mary Dickinson of The Everyman Folk Club and Suffolk Folk for arranging such an excellent musical experience for us.

Sheena Gibbens, Boxford County Primary School  29.09.09