opening new doors to the arts

We like to make a bit of a noise here at Blaize which is why teamed up with Music at the Heart of Teesdale (M@HoT). Together we persuaded a group of young people to form a youth folk group known as ‘Cream Tees.’ And what a talented bunch they turned out to be…….

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Music at the heart of Teesdale

The one thing we LOVE to do here at Blaize is keep busy with different projects and make A LOT OF NOISE!

That’s why we roped a group of talented young people from Teesdale into a folk music project run by Music at the Heart of Tessdale (M@Hot).

We helped set up an orchestra called ‘Cream Tees’ a thriving folk band for young people, aged 11 -18.

This talented bunch made it their mission to create some incredible music inspired by their local landscape.

The project aims to offer budding musicians a remarkable opportunity to gain real experience in performing for the public and learning how to play in sync with a group.

Helping us were students and graduates from Newcastle University who are trying to further their Continual Professional Development (CPD). With our help these students can build on their CV and work experience by helping to write and deliver workshops and make new work.

So we are really helping two groups at once – the young people involved in the folk music programme and the students and graduates who assist us.

Find out more about CPD here


Alex Cumming is a final, 4th year student from Newcastle University’s Folk degree course. He frequently leads the Cream Tees ‘Jammin’ sessions.

He said: “It has been an honour to work with all involved with Cream Tees over the last year, both the music and dancing side of the project.

“ It’s going to be another exciting year, and as long as you can put up with me again I feel we are gonna make some really cool sounds and dances!”


For 2014, our Cream Tees musicians wanted to produce a new piece of music, inspired both by the landscape and the folk music traditions of Teesdale.

Working with tutors Sophy Ball and Ian Stephenson over a series of workshops, our young musicians produced a fantastic arrangement for our midsummer residential in June.

Sophy and Ian are no strangers to Music at the Heart of Teesdale. Both are very well-respected folk musicians and teachers and are much in demand, so we are very lucky indeed to be working on this exciting new project with such fine musicians.

Ian won the BBC Young Folk Award in 1999. The 31 year old guitarist (in fact he plays lots of instruments!) has been slowly rising to prominence in the folk scene recording albums with the Kathryn Tickell Band, Baltic Crossing and dozens more. He has toured all over the UK with new celtic supergroup KAN and released his debut album ‘Line Up’ in 2010.

Sophy started playing the violin aged just five, inspired by both her parents who play folk music. She first became known as part of ‘The Pack’ and later joined the instrumental band ‘422’.

She has played with artists such as Alistair Anderson, Pete Cooper, David Oliver and fills in with various ceilidh bands around the North East.

Sophy teaches both Fiddle and Band arrangement workshops, one of her regular bands ‘Gigue Fish’ was chosen to perform in the 98 Youth Prom in London.

She also works with the Bottle Bank Band made up of four fiddles playing primarily Northumbrian music with Stewart Hardy, David Jones and Hinny Pawsey.

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