Sunshine Arts
About Us
Barn Dances
Contact Us
Craft Workshops
Dance Calling
Dr Sunshine
Folk Drama
Traditional Dance
  Sunshine Arts Home

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,
Lydney, Gloucestershire.

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".

An Croenen
Deputy Head
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."

Iain Rushin   Headteacher,
Temple Guiting School, Gloucestershire.

"Dear Dave,
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 much more 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 badgering!)"

Christine Fitt
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 them. It was a pleasure to see children of all abilities completely focused on  dancing and gaining so much from the day."

Ruth Howell
Special Needs Co-ordinator and Dance Club organiser,
Spennells First School Kidderminster

"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 memory.
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,

Mike Prince
Head teacher, Staveley Primary School , Cumbria

Dance Calling:

"Dave Hunt is a caller with all the advantages. He has a huge wealth  of 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."

Gavin Atkin,'Florida'

"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 The Dashing 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 dancer.
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 old boy"!!"

'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!"

Rees Wesson
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 gig!! We've played festivals, dance clubs, weddings, birthday parties and shared many a strange experience. 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. Enjoy!"

'The Bismarcks''

"What can we say about the irrepressible Dave H that hasn't been said
    '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 can explain
the dances to any group from beginners to vastly experienced - from an
organiser's point of view you can always guarantee a satisfied audience when
he's calling."

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."

Peeping Tom

"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

Anything wrong with this site? If so please mail the webmaster