The first event was a concert for a local village's Autumn Feast. Karen, a singer who lives in the next village, was asked if she could organise some musical entertainment so invited Margaret and myself to put on a short programme featuring mostly voice, clarinet and piano. As well as a few trios I was allowed to put in a harp piece and Karen also produced two pieces by Edmund Rubbra for voice and harp. Rubbra was born in 1901 in Northampton, which is also my home town, and died in 1986. Of the two pieces A Hymn to the Virgin was quite slow and worked on my lever harp as the changes were manageable. Karen was very easy to work with and her voice, which can be extremely powerful, was just right for this setting. Usually it takes a few run-throughs to get used to the other performer/s especially when it is a new combination but neither of us had anything particularly critical to say after the very first play-through. We'll hopefully do more in the future. The concert itself was fun and we had a lovely meal of shepherd's pie and apple crumble all made by the WI. We think it was a success but we'll know for sure next year if we get invited back!
The very next day I was back in Northampton as one of my oldest school friends, Gemma, had asked if I would like to provide some background music for a charity ball that she had organised. I said yes and set about preparing for it. I remembered from the Open Gardens day in June that I would need quite a lot of repertoire so went through all my books finding old tunes and new tunes that I could get to a reasonable standard in time. I had around 30 minutes of music and with breaks this stretches out to 45 minutes or 60 minutes if you slow pieces down and add repeats (there are all sorts of tricks). I played my first set in the bar and after a short break, at the start of the meal. I did feel nervous at first (very unlike me!) but as I settled down I got a bit more adventurous with the pieces I knew, playing a little faster or louder, to see what I could do. I also tried a piece that was still in progress but that didn't go so well so I imporivsed an ending and went back to my normal repertoire. Gemma thanked me with an enormous bunch of flowers and I was allowed to have my dinner! It was another super evening and it was great to see Gemma again. There are some photos but they've not quite made it to me yet. I'll post them when I get them.
Finally, the event I have been looking forward to for over a year... the ACE Foundation Playday with Catrin Finch! This took place in November and attracted around 60 harpists. After arriving and setting up Catrin was introduced and she gave a 30 minute recital.
|Catrin warms up|
|Catrin attempts to squish a mosquito|
(Photo from the ACE Foundation)
We played our rehearsed pieces in the final concert. Rohan had organised the music, harpists and timetable and had done a brilliant job. Trevor and Susannah from the ACE Foundation were on top form as ever (I've mentioned ACE days before) and I came home buzzing with new ideas.
|Final session before the performance|
(Photo from the ACE Foundation)