Welcome to my web site. I'm Colin Hume, best known as a Folk Dance caller and composer. You may find me appearing at Halsway Manor, Folk Camps, Folk Festivals such as Eastbourne, Chippenham, Lichfield, Sidmouth, Broadstairs, Morland, Southam and Whitby, plus Dance Weeks in the States run by the Country Dance and Song Society and the Bay Area Country Dance Society. In my spare time I'm a programmer/developer (I wrote the computer version of The Clarkson Register for Clarkson Research Services) and have built many web sites — see the Programming section for more details.
Walt Tingle died on Friday evening, 11th September. His son Mark tells me that Walt had been slowly going downhill over the last three months; Mark believes he was ready for it and knew it was going to happen.
Walt was one of my formative influences as a caller. He was a very blunt Yorkshireman who knew what he wanted; it was from him, for instance, that I picked up “Face your partner before the music starts”. We also had many discussions on dance interpretation and good and bad ways of teaching and calling a dance; I learnt a lot from him. We didn't always agree, which will come as no surprise to anyone who knew both of us.
I remember one Chippenham Festival announcing Walt as an “American caller”. “I'm not an American caller”, he retorted, “I'm an everything caller”. And so he was — he called Playford, English traditional and occasionally International — but it was his American Squares that I particularly loved, always delivered with a sense of humour and no respect of persons.
I went to a dance week at Halsway Manor which Walt was leading, and at the end he suggested I join his display team “The Jovial Beggars”. I said I didn't really believe in display teams: I thought the dances were there to be danced, not watched. “So do we”, he said, “that's why we dance them”. So I joined the team, rehearsing one Sunday a month in Harlow, Essex, and often going back to Walt and Noreen's house for a wonderful meal afterwards. Rehearsals could be quite argumentative — particularly when Mark was there — but Walt knew he couldn't just order people about and make them do things his way. Eventually he would say, “All right, I've heard all the arguments, now this is how we'll do it”, and people were always happy that their ideas had been heard. I didn't have a Playford costume for some time — Noreen later made one for me — so Walt would lead the “gentry” in their posh gear and I would lead the “rustics” in our smocks, knee breeches, waistcoats etc. It was a really good combination; the gentry would dance a couple of genteel Playford dances and then the rustics would burst on with something loud and energetic. We always had plenty of repartee with the crowd, which I think is really important; so many display teams would process on, dance three very complicated Playford dances and process off again, without any acknowledgement of the audience. We weren't like that — our unspoken motto was “We may not be brilliant dancers, but by God we're Jovial”! And the fact is that the audience — unless they happened to be dancers — would be much more impressed by an 8-couple version of “Cumberland Square Eight” or a Sicilian circle version of “Nottingham Swing” than the complexities of “Fain I Would” or “Lull me beyond thee”.
Noreen died a few years ago, and now Walt is gone too. The Funeral was on Tuesday 29th September at Greenacres Woodland Burials.
There was a short get-together at the end where people who knew him talked about him, followed by finger food at Moot House where Walt was Chairman for many years. Photos of Walt, Noreen and people associated with them were on display, and you can view them here — if you click on the first photo and then use the arrow keys you can see each of them full-screen. You can also Click here to listen to what I said at the funeral.