New folk band captivates congregations

A new folk band has been captivating congregations across the Synod with its distinctive musical style and innovative approach to worship.

The Folkus Gallery Band was formed in late 2017 - invoking the “church gallery band” folk tradition in which, prior to the wide availability of the organ, music was provided by groups performing from the gallery. Initially, its intention was simply to breathe new life into some of the traditional folk carols, and perform these for both church and secular audiences in the lead-up to Christmas.

However, what began as a rather simple project quickly developed into something altogether different. As people turned up and “plugged in”, it became clear there was a connection between audience and the band – as well as an appetite for the band to continue to find ways of using traditional folk music to create new expressions of worship. A spark had been lit.

Folkus embraces a wide range of musical styles from novel takes on contemporary worship tunes to traditional Gaelic song. Using fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass, bouzouki and various percussion instruments, the band explores both contemporary and traditional music while also bringing new compositions to the table.

Keith Hulse, a band member, is keen to emphasise that Folkus brings not only music but a message. He said: “The Gallery Band is a small unit of people looking to explore spirituality in worship in a creative and nonthreatening way, allowing song and word to carry God’s message of love for all people to all people. Music has the ability to convey a message in a unique way enabling both word and emotion to ‘fly like an eagle’. In the context of worship music can be an invaluable tool allowing all to participate to whatever degree they feel able.”

Another band member, Steve Fowle, emphasised the inclusive nature of folk music. He explained: “As a music lover I’ve always thought that folk was the ‘people’s music’ to be enjoyed by everybody and for every occasion.  This was encapsulated by discovering the village carol tradition in which the local pub or “gallery” band would  accompany celebratory Christmas songs that were passed down through the generations. To my mind its very inclusive are very much the forerunner of the formalised hymn structures we recognise today, and captures the sheer celebratory joy and emotion that music  can bring to any event.

“As a band we hope to show how traditional interpretations can enhance the songs we  know while also introducing new music to audiences, both within worship and beyond. And just as importantly, we’re having fun doing it!”

The Folkus Gallery Band will be visiting St John's on Sunday 29th April at 6.30pm, bringing reflections on God's love. For further information on the band, please contact Keith at keith.hulse@icloud.com

ADDRESS

St John's United Reformed Church

Wilderspool Causeway

Warrington

WA4 6QE

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