Outdoor concerts, are there any two words that strike more fear into a harpist’s mind? This weekend has been crazily busy – apparently something has been going on – a national holiday of sorts, something to do with the Royal Family.
Anyway, Friday I had a wedding in North Yorkshire, very questionable weather, under a marquee. Wonderful. Saturday’s wedding was extremely lavish. In a gorgeous hotel near Ripon, not only had they booked me, there was also a string quartet, singing waiters, and a pianist.
Sunday, oh my, Sunday. I was called upon to play for ‘Proms on the Pitch’ at Macclesfield Football Ground. It would have been such an amazing gig had the weather been ok. But as it was, it poured down all day and yes we were under cover but it was exceedingly cold. We went to a lovely Michelin starred pub/restaurant for dinner called Sutton Hall if I remember correctly. Excellent food, shame as usual I couldn’t enjoy a little glass of wine but nevermind. I worried a lot about my harp as very cold weather causes the strings to contract, increasing the chances of cracks in the soundboard – eeek – having said that, it was great fun playing Proms-style classics, 1812 Overture, Entry of the Gladiators, Pomp and Circumstance etc. But what shocked me more than anything was the fact that we had an audience! People had come out in the rain and wind, to sit outside and wave their union jacks for us to celebrate the Jubiliee. I just thought it was absolutely amazing and very heart-warming – even though I was in fact probably a few degrees away from contracting hypothermia. At least the audience could dance to keep themselves warm (they did).
Then Monday rolled around, hurray, third outdoor gig in one weekend – my poor harp. But – who’d have thought it, it was bright sunshine in Liverpool! A very nice man arranged for me to park for free all afternoon – bonus – and I could get from car to stage using only lifts and ramps – amazing. So that was a really nice day – a mixture of Debussy, Vaughan Williams and Stravinsky for Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra’s contribution to ‘Proms in the Park’ – at Chavasse Park – to a large audience, soaking up the sun on deck-chairs and eating ice-cream.
So I ended the weekend feeling very patriotic and as though I’ve made my small contribution to the Jubiliee celebrations, but I was absolutely exhausted. I will admit my harp has been in its covers since Tuesday evening – I need a few days off to refresh my brain!