The band is run (in a manner of speaking) by Roger Swaine, who plays the piano-accordion. He's the Musical Director for English Miscellany. No formal musical qualifications (unless you count grade 3 piano, taken as a child), but he's been playing this music for about thirty years now, so something must have rubbed off. He's also been a dancer for many years, having taken up Scottish Country Dancing while at college, after which he went out dancing several times a week for a number of years. So he has a pretty good idea of what makes a good dance-tune! He chooses and arranges the music for the band.
We don't have a fixed line-up, as good musicians will be busy. Instead, the members of the band are drawn from a small squad of highly talented musicians, including:
- Rachel Burden. A professional musican, Rachel plays violin and recorder in the band. She is also a fine oboe player. She enjoys the music!
- Stewart Walker. Stewart trained as a classical violinist, earning a distinction at Grade 8. He got into folk fiddle initially via a friend, and then by going to fiddle workshops. He maintains his classical roots by playing with the Herts Philharmonic Orchestra.
- Barbara Manning. A graduate musician, Barbara plays violin in the band. Widely considered to be the best Scottish fiddler in the county.
- Katherine Chandler. As a child, Katherine played the violin for Young Miscellany (a local children's folk dance group). She then went to several Summer Schools organised by "Folkworks" in Durham, which gave her a great grounding in traditional music.
- Wendy Frost. A graduate musician, Wendy plays flute and recorder in the band, but also plays a variety of other woodwind instruments, expecially Early Music ones.
- Peter Farrell. Another music graduate. He plays recorder in the band, but is also a prize-winning pianist, and teaches piano. Enjoys playing jazz.
- Katherine Freeman. Yet another music graduate. Katherine was a Highland dancer as a child, so has a good feeling for dance music.
- Linda Duckworth. Linda plays flute (and sometimes recorder) in the band, and also plays in the Hertfordshire Early Dance band.
- Susan Bell. Susan used to be a morris dancer, but then became a musician. She plays a variety of recorders, and is often out playing with local morris-dance sides.
- Derek Guyatt. Derek is a member of English Miscellany, where he plays melodeon for the Cotswold Morris side. In the band he plays bass guitar. He also plays recorder, guitar, mandolin, lute etc. He leads his own Barn Dance band called "Sixes and Sevens", and also often plays with another local band called Jump the Vortex.
- Olly Dowlen. Plays double bass in the band. He also plays in a number of other bands in the area, such as "Waxies Dargle" (Irish), "Folk in Hell" (Irish), "Northern Frisk" (ceilidh) and "Parisian Swing" (French/Jazz), plus with Blues/Soul singer Graham Robbins.
- Carolyn Causton. Plays Bass guitar with the band. A fine guitarist and singer, she was for years a member and leading light with "Shave the Monkey", a local folk band, and is a regular performer at the Hitchin Folk Club.
All the musicians listed above enjoy each others' company, and always have a good time at our gigs, which makes for a good atmosphere during the event.
The band works with a number of fine local callers, including:-
- Jan Guyatt
- Adrian Besant
- Adrian Burrows
- Alan Simpson
- Wendy Harrup
- Keith Harrup (Wendy's dad!)
- Deborah McLachlan
- Barbara Burton