I have taken the rash step of writing a jaunty theme song for the Black Nan Band. It isn't for dancing to, but dancers can join in singing it.
As you may know, Black Nan was a teacher running what was then a 'dame school', probably part-time for working children, and is now a private house, the School House on Halifax Road just up from the Red Lion on the right. We don't know much about her, so the song is in the imagined voice of one of her students and celebrates good teaching, imbued with the ethos of the Black Nan Band itself, which hopes to help children feel talented, confident and warmly welcomed. It is designed to be sung and played by children, using only three chords, so I am hoping it will be taken up by our local primary schools. It has sound effects of a clock and a factory whistle, and includes harmonies and the option of some layered acappella parts at the end; it also includes some historical references that are still a part of children's lives; so it is a bit of a folk sampler to introduce children. Anyone that learns it should feel confident to have a crack at most things.
Hope we can try it out next session. All thoughts and ideas welcome, and please let me know if the register of the tune needs changing (it is OK for Georgia, but others may differ). I have played and sung all the parts, but it would be good to replace this with a recording featuring young people.
Update: Thanks to Steve for this snippet about Black nan:
In 1828 the master at Ealees Endowed School (also known as the Pike House School) was Thomas Sladen, son of the parish clerk. He taught forty boys, eleven of which were admitted free under the original foundation. He was succeeded by James Rhodes who was assisted by his daughter Ann. She had previously conducted her own school in the village and was known as “Black Nan” because of her habitual black clothing and her establishment as “Black Nan’s School”. Ann took over as headmistress at the Ealees School when her father died and was followed by Mr. Wainwright. He was probably the last master before the school fell into disrepair and closed in 1881.
(CORRIGAN A: The Village Church, Littleborough, 1974)
Here are the words and a recording (dots to follow at some point)