The band with the very long name!

Stoke Gabriel and the wider AONB

From : Steve Banks

The South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 50th Anniversary Celebration Community Band (otherwise known as “the band with the very long name”) formed in March 2011. This AONB community project brought in Steve Banks, founder of Blue Jewel, a South Devon based contemporary folk and acoustic group. 

During a one day workshop facilitated by members of Blue Jewel, participants wrote, co-wrote and arranged songs and tunes inspired by the beauty and history of the AONB. The ‘band with the longest name’ gave its first performance at the Flavel Arts Centre, Dartmouth on 18th March 2011 as part of the AONB's 50th anniversary Golden Showcase evening.

The band is made up of local children, enthusiastic adult amateurs, and members of Blue Jewel, and directed by Steve.  (We hope to perform again in the future.  If you are interested in joining the band, please contact Steve,  You need to be grade 2 or above, able to read music, and age 10 or above).

Beauty to Treasure

In July 2011, we recorded the songs and tunes at Hirondelle Studios in Stoke Gabriel, under the collective title “Beauty to Treasure“.  Listen to the tracks we recorded using the Audio Clips player, right. The words of the three songs are below.

1. Rushing Waters. Words: Tabitha Whates. Music: Tabitha Whates, Mike Vickery & Steve Banks

2. Greenway Rag. Tabitha Whates.

3. Evening Grace. Words: poem by Graham Searle (“the Muse of Devon”). Music: Bill Trezise and Steve Banks.

4. Falling Leaves. Matilda Whates.

5. Soar Mill Cove. Libby, Ella and Heather Greenberg, and Steve Banks.

6. Slate of Hand. Words and Music: Valerie Belsey, arr. Steve Banks

7. Devon Broom Dance / Heel & Toe Polka.  Trad. Devon dance tunes.


Rushing Waters

by Tabitha Whates (song version of a poem)

Sometimes  (just sometimes) in the fresh morning air

I stop by the rushing waters.

When, oh when, will my dream come true?
When, oh when, will my dream come true?

I pluck a sweet dream from deep in my heart
And toss it in the clear flowing river.
When, oh when, will my dream come true?
When, oh when, will my dream come true?

I toss that sweet dream into the clear flowing river,
And let it be guided through meadows, valleys,
Fields and mountains, ‘till it reaches a distant shore.

Then, only then, will my dream come true.

Then, only then, will my dream come true.


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Audio Clips

The Evening Grace

by Graham Searle

For my friend Father David Arnott – a poem that evokes the peace I find as the sun sets…

Give me the grace of evening at the end of a working day;
Walking the fresh turned furrow, may the sweet life here ever stay…
When the lark rises into the sunset and the music flows luscious and free;
For the song of the earth is precious and thus is the farm-hand’s plea
That the peace of a Devon gloaming may be for our children to know.
In the care of an ancient landscape, may passion and freedom flow;

In the name of the oldest honour a promise is quietly made
That the hideous march of progress may wither and tumble and fade.
For the pylons are ever striding and the rivers are stained with greed;
The soil is laden with venom, for profit has been decreed.

The chimneys pour out their odours; the oil rides the old, old seas;
The forests grow ever smaller with the felling of noble trees.
So here with the crows’ sharp calling, here in this treasured place,
May an old man fulfil his calling and be granted the longed-for grace.

 © Copyright Graham Searle  


Slate of hand

by Valerie Belsey

Come fishermen, farmers, helliers all
Waiting in line for the slate to fall.
Come fishermen, farmers, helliers  all
Waiting for the fall.

At Beesands laboured many hands
They hacked blue slate all from the land.
Fine standards, randoms, peggies and queens
No finer slate was seen.

In time the quarry was sold off
Helliers no more their caps did doff.
No need for slates from Beesands now
The helliers went back to the plough.

Come fishermen, farmers walkers all
At Sunnydale don’t slip
You’ll land where ghostly helliers sit
Waiting for the fall.


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