References and recommendations
Some of the nice things people have said about our work with children and Dave's dance calling!
Working with children:
This year the Autumn Conference was delivered by Dave Hunt of Sunshine Arts. The morning was
very creative with groups making banners and bottle birds and the afternoon was taken up with
singing and dancing, all of which gave us lots of ideas to take back to our groups.
Dave was an inspiration to us all and a wonderful teacher and entertainer.
PATA (Preschool and Toddler Association) newsletter
"Thank you for a lot of fun!"
from all the children at Woolaston Primary School,
Who would have thought that those “old fashioned dances” would prove to be so much fun for our
teenaged boys and girls! The moment Dave and Maggie started dancing and playing live music, all
the youngsters forgot their preconceptions and joined in with the first dance… and the second…and
the third… and before they knew it, they’d had an excellent fitness workout!! What struck me more
than anything, was the huge grin on everybody’s face, staff and students alike. Thank you very
much for making our Christmas Party unforgettable".
Rubicon School, Shropshire
"Dave Hunt has worked with Knowle CE Primary School for many years.
He has led workshops in dance, drama, music and creative craft. These
have been very well planned and ably led.
Dave has also assisted on several occasions in presenting work to parents and
Governors. He has an excellent relationship with children and staff. His work
has been inspirational and instrumental in pupils achieving high standards in
all they have done."
C.R.Lees Deputy Head Teacher
Knowle C. of E. Primary School Warks.
‘"Dr.Sunshine’ engaged the audience of excited 5-7 year
olds as soon as he set foot in the room. The children sang, moved and
laughed their way through one hour of live fun. Dave has a wonderful
rapport with his young audience and the performance was pitched at
exactly the right level. Our session with ‘Dr. Sunshine’ just
flew by - as one reception child remarked afterwards…. “ Oh..that
was good!”…. and all the staff heartily agreed."
Carole Nicholas, Deputy Head Teacher
Springfield Primary School, Shrewsbury Shrops.
"Just a quick note to thank you for being our Artist
in Residence for a week! The children were very excited at the thought
of a Space week and of working alongside a 'real' artist.
We were really pleased with all aspects of the event. Every class in the
school thoroughly enjoyed their half day workshop with you. They all loved
the things they made with you from robots, to aliens to banners and bamboozlums!
As a school we were keen to promote 3D Art work and every child has now more
experience of working in this way.
The Space show which you put together for parents on
the Friday afternoon was a wonderful culmination to a busy week. We
have had many positive comments from parents who enjoyed seeing the
whole school take part in a 'space spectacular', displaying the wide
range of colourful things that they had made. The huge space ship made
with Year 6 classes certainly stole the show and made a dramatic centrepiece
for the production. We were delighted that the local newspaper covered
the event and published a two page article of photographs of Art work
and interviews with children. Thank you once again, with out you none
of this would have been possible!"
Mrs J Mell, Art Coordinator,
Grange Lane Junior School, Scunthorpe N.Lincs
"Dave worked in our school with 90 6yr to 7yr olds. Adults and children
alike found working with Dave was inspirational. He quickly makes
relationships with young children and enables them to learn song and
dance. Dave makes learning fun, the children are motivated and take
part with enthusiasm.
Working with Dave is a pleasure. He has good control of the children and has
a relaxed and easy manner."
Mrs. S. Boggon Deputy Head Teacher
Charlton Kings School, Cheltenham Glos.
"Foley Infants School enjoyed a fun , entertaining and informative afternoon
with Dave Hunt…a master at holding children’s attention whilst
teaching them his craft of Morris dancing."
G. Wainwright, Class Teacher,
Foley Infants School, Kinver, Staffs.
"Dave Hunt inspired the children to sing, dance and play instruments
far above their expected level.
His boundless enthusiasm and energy kept us all going when we started
to flag and resulted in an
excellent 'Mum & Tuk'. The children loved working with him, one comment
was 'what a great bloke!'I
hope that we shall be able to invite him back to continue the good work."
Temple Guiting School, Gloucestershire.
Fantastic! You have definitely achieved hero status - that was wonderful.
Thank you from all the
children, you've brought a whole new dimension to them, and one that
is more fun than anything
they had already. Good work done. Thank you from me for 4 days that were
better than anything I would have dreamt up. I had a great time
too.! Lots of people in passing have said how terrific it all
was. I particularly want to say thanks for doing twice as much work as
one person ever should, de
finitely a hero. When my new place is big enough I'll have a music workshop
next! best wishes for
everything that you do."
Kate Farminer, Arts co-ordinator
Tuffley Primary School, Gloucester.
"Dave made his first foray into the world of Doncaster's
libraries during summer 2003,
introducing kids to the art of making 'Bamboozalums', followed in
most places by an
energetic session of parachute games. It's difficult to say who enjoyed
themselves more -
the kids, the parents or the library staff! The libraries were most
definitely not the nice
quiet places many people still think they should be....they were something
important - places of fun and laughter, where kids wanted to be!!
(I wonder how long it
took the parents to bring the kids back down to earth afterwards?!)
My one regret is that I never got round to enticing Dave to Doncaster
sooner. Never mind,
I'm sure he will very soon be a regular visitor during the summer
holidays, one whom
library staff keep badgering me to rebook! (not that I'll need much
Area Librarian: Children & Young People
Doncaster Library & Information Services
"Dave led a super day of dance as part of our Arts week. He immediately captures the complete
attention of the children and uses a lovely sense of humour to establish a fantastic rapport with
It was a pleasure to see children of all abilities completely focused on dancing and gaining so
much from the day."
Special Needs Co-ordinator and Dance Club organiser,
Spennells First School
"Dear Dave and Maggie,
I guess by now you'll have done battle with the M6 and arrived home for a well earned
rest. I wanted to say thank you to you both for the last week.
As I sit here and reflect I still can't quite believe that you only started on Tuesday
lunchtime and by Friday had 90 children costumed, with props, songs, dances and dramas learned and were ready to perform for Friday evening. I was staggered and I have never
seen anyone achieve what you two did before. What really made it special was the joy
with which you achieved it. You shared so much with my precious children and they so
clearly loved you to bits. There could not have been a better start to the year for our little
school and in contrast to so much received wisdom on schooling, those children will remember Dr Sunshine for the rest of their lives - long after Literacy lessons are a dim
While we were watching you on Friday, a prospective parent came to look round the
school as one of a number. She made her decision on the spot and two children start with
us on Monday morning. She said any school who do what we were doing is going to be
right for her children.
For me it was such a pleasure to have you in the school and to walk round the classrooms
as the children worked so happily singing as they learned.
Thank you both for everything. If you are ever working or visiting nearby, please call in
and visit us. If you ever want to work up here again, just pick up the phone, we'd love to
have you back again. if you ever need a name of a satisfied customer please feel free to
use me in any way that helps."
With warmest regards,
Head teacher, Staveley Primary School , Cumbria
"Dave Hunt is a caller with all the advantages. He has a huge
experience, a confident and
pleasant way with an audience of any size or ability, and he's always
very popular with the dancers.
From a band's perspective, we've always found him a pleasure to work
with - helpful when we
wanted dances to go with favourite tunes, absolutely reliable and
good fun to share a stage with. I'd
add also that he's been a strong positive influence on the English
ceilidh scene since for as long as
I've known him. Dave's a good egg. Book him."
"Dave Hunt has been our preferred caller for 20 years or so.
Why, because he understands the
relationship between the music and the dance. Sounds simple but not
all do. Add to that the fact
he's great to have around and you know you're in for a good evening,
sunshine for all."
Jo Freya about 'The Old Swan Band''
"Dave and Herbal Remedy go way back. Fiona and I have been working
with Dave since 1982 in
various iterations of Herbal Remedy, in various parts of the country
and for all kinds of dances.
Notable moments include our honeymoon in 1985 at Sidmouth, which we
spent coaching about fifty
kids to perform a barn dance tune on the arena for Dave's afternoon
kids show. More recently when
we were asked to play a barn dance for a unicycle club meeting, and
then for two national
conventions, who else to ask but Dave to call for them? His sheer
inventiveness of adapting dances
on the fly for a mixed audience of single-wheelers and foot-dancers
was wonderful to behold. Yes, and we've got the photos to prove it.!!
From a band's viewpoint, Dave is great to work with. From the dancers'
viewpoint he's great fun and
calls some superb dances for people of all ages.
Our first choice, especially for something unusual, or if there are
kids involved. We work with a
great number of different callers and its rare to find one with the
same intuitive feel for an audience
and what they are capable of."
Ron Hawkins 'Herbal Remedy''
"One of our favourite callers to work with, Dave is always good fun,
has some great dances, very
professional, and a great laugh - a veritable BIG ray of sunshine!"
Roger Grimes….'Grand Union'
"From late night festival ceilidhs where dance addicts enjoy improvising
around some of Dave's
much-loved dance compositions to weddings where someone vaguely remembers
White Sergeant from schooldays, Dave can cope with it all magnificently.
His good-natured banter and wide repertoire includes and encourages
all ages and all abilities of
Dave has composed a good number of dances in the traditional idiom
which have been absorbed
and taken to the ceilidh-goer's heart. Maybe Dave will find time
in his busy schedule to publish
them one day. In the meantime, you'll just have to go to one
of his ceilidhs to experience them! "
Katie Howson, 'Old Hat''
"One of the most experienced and popular dance callers in the
business, Dave is one of the few who
can call brilliantly for children and hardened folkie alike. The Woodpecker
Band has worked with
him over the last 15 years or so at all sorts of gigs and we’ve
ALWAYS had a great time. With his
infectious good humour and total dedication, there’s no situation
he can’t handle; he’s done it all!
Dave is a one-man folk industry and a great guy to boot; in fact,
as we say round here, he‘s a "good
'The Woodpecker Band''
"I discovered Dave Hunt (and Dr. Sunshine) at about the same time
that I discovered the melodeon.
He encouraged me to learn new tunes and still does today. He showed
me how to play for dancers
and still does today. He was the top caller at my early attempts to
organise festivals and still is
today. He entertained my children and will entertain their children
tomorrow. He gave value for
money and still does today. He made me laugh and still does today.
What a good egg!"
Meantime Music, Welshpool, Wales.
"Working with Dave or Doctor Sunshine, depending on the audience,
is always a pleasure. You've
only got to look at the guy to know that you're in safe hands, he's
been around, he's seen it all,
nothing is going to cause him an iota of concern. It doesn't matter
whether the dancers are 9 or 90
he'll have a repertoire of dances to suit and you know, that's exactly
what happens. But the nicest
thing for us is that he doesn't resort to modern gimmicks to keep
people happy he uses really really
old ones and people just love it. That's what tradition is all about."
Dave Ingledew, 'Burlesdon Village Band'
"Dave is the gaffer of English Ceilidh; knowing not only his onions,
but his shallots, leeks,
carrots - he is a tradition in his own right. His vast experience
as a caller means that he is as
comfortable calling for PTA beginners as he is for the dance fiends
at the Sidmouth Late Night
Extra. Stomp and Stocai know that whatever the event of occasion,
Mr Hunt will see us right."
Sheena Masson, 'Stomp' and 'Stocai'
"I'd say Dave is presently calling better than at any time during
his long and varied career. He has
that relaxed, massively reassuring confidence that comes of experience
and the gift of doing the
obvious no one else has thought of, particularly in his writing of
dances many of which have entered
into the standard repertoire. His humour and sense of fun shine through
in his calls, robustly correcting errant dancers but never humiliating.
From PTA to LNE one of the top men for the job."
Andrew Sharpe, 'Steamchicken''
"We've worked with Dave throughout the history of the band. Indeed,
he was the caller for our first
We've played festivals, dance clubs, weddings, birthday parties and
shared many a strange
What all these gigs have in common is they were fun, which is the
keynote of Dave's calling.
He has an ability to put any audience at its ease, and his enthusiasm
is infectious both on stage
and off. And it's amazing when we work with other callers just how
many of his dances keep
cropping up!! Let's hope there's lots more in the pipeline!!"
'All Blacked Up''
"One of my favourite callers of all the bands I have been involved
with over nearly thirty years (Christ -
nearly thirty years!!). You always look forward to a Dave Hunt dance
- the dancers will have a good
time and so will the band. Reliable, expert, funny and good company."
Dan Quinn,'Flowers and Frolics',
'Gas Mark V', 'Used Notes', 'The Dan Quinntet''
"Dave Hunt is one of the great callers on the ceilidh scene
today. He gives a band total confidence
that the evening will be a success as he has the ability to vary
his calling to deal with the total
beginners or regular ceilidh goes or anywhere in between. Being
a musician and performer himself
he is able to relate to what the band is trying to achieve.
On top of that he is a "sound chap" as we say in Shropshire"
Stu Altman,'This Way Up''
"Bouncy English caller who understands lumpy English dance music.!
Fun, friendly and full of sunshine.
Makes the most of the band's stepping repertoire and is never afraid
to teach the basics - originator
of the 'Potato Crisps' method of ranting. Never knowingly under danced.
Emphasis on punters having fun.
No side to this diamond geezer.
"What can we say about the irrepressible Dave H that hasn't
'he makes excellent Kedgeree for breakfast'
'he collects strange and wonderful 78's'
'he'll leave a morris tour at tea-time, travel from one side
of the country
to the other to call a dance, and return in time
to cook breakfast'
'he's great when kids are around - he entertains them leaving
the rest of
us to be able to drink in peace'
'oh yes - and he's a damn fine dance caller'
Version 2 (Alison's attempt)
"A fine caller who has the knack of putting everyone at ease and
the dances to any group from beginners to vastly experienced - from
organiser's point of view you can always guarantee a satisfied audience
Peter Bearon and Alison Whittaker - late
organisers of the Wiggince Ceilidhs
"Dave is a very old friend of ours….we don’t mean he’s very old - he’s our age for goodness sake. Well some of us anyway.
For those of you who don’t know, Dave comes from Shropshire and is much in demand throughout the festival season as a caller, MC. street entertainer, Morris teacher/musician, children’s entertainer, workshop leader, session musician and all-round good chap to have a beer with.
For many years now Dave has been involved with folk music and dance based education projects with schoolchildren all over the country - something that took him out to the Caribbean as well ! How, we ask ourselves, he ever manages to find time to do the mundane things in life we shall never know. Thankfully he does and it’s always a pleasure to be working with him again."
"Just to say how much we enjoyed working with you on Saturday - it was a long-standing ambition
of the band to do a ceilidh with you, something that we have now successfully achieved. Looking
forward to the next one!"
"Just a quick email thanks for the brilliant dance you led on Saturday in Bath (with Old Swan Band).
I was so busy enjoying myself that I forgot to come and say hello to you. Shame that your hip is
not back up to scratch, but it didn't seem to slow you down much! "
IanG ~(Mike Mandolin - Living Tradition