A Suffolk pioneer in safeguarding East Anglia’s unique folk music heritage has recently announced her retirement from conducting the business of one of the region’s top musical charities. Katie Howson set up the Stowmarket-based East Anglian Traditional Music Trust (EATMT) together with musician and archivist husband, John, after the couple spent years recording and playing alongside ‘endangered’ traditional East Anglian singers, dancers and musicians.
Since the Trust’s foundation in 2000 and with Katie at the helm as General Manager, a wide range of community and education projects, a much-loved local calendar of events and activities at a national level have seen wider, younger and even international audiences honouring, enjoying and participating in East Anglia’s traditional music offering, both within the region and beyond.
“We set out to keep the candle burning, but have really fanned the flames,” explains Katie, who admits to being amazed at how the Trust’s range of activities has expanded over the years. “It’s been a dream in many ways and there’s still so much to be done, but I feel it’s time for me to move on. I’m looking forward to doing more of what I set out to do – playing more music and finding some new avenues to explore.”
Chair of EATMT’s Board, Miriam Stead, praises Katie and John for their vision and commitment as they also announce their retirement as Non-executive Directors. “It was so appropriate that their dedication and excellence were formally recognised a few years ago by national organisation, the English Folk Dance & Song Society. Those prestigious Gold Badge Awards say it all - their legacy to date is invaluable and we - and East Anglia - cannot thank them enough. The East Anglian Traditional Music Trust has a promising future ahead. The Board identifies the news of these departures later in the year as an important opportunity for a period of in depth evaluation and consultation. We’re very keen to hear the ideas and experiences of people involved in our activities at all levels and currently anticipate appointing an Interim Operations Manager over the coming months.”