What Melrose Quartet said…..

We asked our new Patrons, Melrose Quartet, a few questions, and here’s what they said…..


What was your first reaction when you were asked to become patrons of Whitby Folk Week?

Jess – delighted and excited!

Richard – surprised and privileged.

James – honoured!

Nancy – grateful and inspired for the future.

What does Whitby Folk Week mean to you?

Jess: Very special festival. One of a kind. It’s like coming home, especially for those of us who used to live there!

Richard: It’s rare these days to walk round a festival and see so many people with instruments. I love that people come to Folk Week to do folk music and not just sit absorbing it.

James & Nancy: Whitby is where we met, 21 years ago this week. It will always be the most romantic English town for us because of that!

In one word (each!) how would you describe Whitby Folk Week to someone who had never been?

Jess – unique

Richard – inclusive

James – love

Nancy – coast

You appeared, very successfully, as Melrose Quartet and Quintet last year, but in how many other guises have you appeared, and how many times?

Jess & Richard : as duo, with our kid’s nursery rhyme show, as Hekety, as Pecsaetan, as Crucible Trio, and as the Arrowsmith Family in the Family Fortunes Quiz in 2013 when Jess was sporting a very large bump…

James: Nancy & I have played as Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, Scalene (with Sandra Kerr), and Nancy Kerr & The Sweet Visitor Band.

Nancy: and Bagpuss too! Also with Sisters Unlimited, Alistair Anderson, Eliza Carthy, Kings of Calicutt and the Chipolatas (more than 25 yrs ago) … and possibly others I’ve forgotten!

Jess: Er, and we forgot to say how many times? No idea!! Too many to count….

Jess & Richard, as founding members of Pecsaetan, how important is dance to you?

Hugely. Feels like such an important continuation of tradition as well as being good exercise and all round good fun – especially all the socialising that goes with it!

What’s been your favourite Whitby memory, as a group or individually?

Jess: So many. Parades through the streets, crowds of people filling the town and spilling out of the pubs, being a teenager and going to every remotely relevant workshop all week and then dancing every dance at the ceilidhs every night (ok so I am not that fit anymore!). And playing (and singing) for a Spa full of dancers and watching the whole dance floor moving as one – magic!

Richard: At one of my first visits to Whitby Folk Week, there was a marvellous ceilidh with Peeping Tom and Florida as the combined band and Hugh Ripon and Eddie Upton calling.

James: First Melrose Quartet ceilidh at Whitby!

Nancy: I think if I remember rightly I saw Barry Dransfield play at the Rugby club once which blew me away. And when I lived in Whitby I loved the excitement as people began arriving for Folk Week.


Watch out for more on Troubaday!