The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) is delighted to be awarding its prestigious Gold Badge to Marilyn Tucker and Paul Wilson, founders of Wren Music.
Wren Music runs 16 choirs, orchestras and youth groups around Devon, providing opportunities to make music within communities. Their work encompasses people of all ages and backgrounds, including SEN and disabled adults and children.
“What we’ve tried to do is to move the experience of music away from passive to active, so people aren’t just listening to music, they’re singing or playing music. We don’t have auditions for our choirs and orchestras; music is for everyone.”
Beside their work with Wren, the award recognises Marilyn and Paul’s work as active performers and song collectors. Their efforts have contributed significantly to the life of traditional music in the South West, notably their work with the Baring-Gould collection.
Marilyn and Paul performing at Ewan MacColl's 70th birthday concert at the Royal Festival Hall in 1985
Peggy Seeger has known Paul and Marilyn for approaching 40 years. Their work, she says, is unmatched anywhere else in the UK.
“As far as I know, there’s no-one else like them, doing what they’re doing in the community, to the extent that they’re doing it.
“Community is so important and folk music was formed as a community tradition. It has disappeared under the weight of movement away from rural communities and also under the weight of popular music. Paul and Marilyn have re-established it from grassroots up. They’ve used music to create community and they’ve used community to create music.”
Marilyn and Paul will receive their Gold Badge at a special event at the Cygnet Theatre in Exeter on 22 July 2016.