Summer 2012

I have had a week off the harp!

Yes, it’s still in its covers after the long drive up from Somerset last Saturday.  I was there for the Amadeus Orchestra’s annual week of ‘Beer and Music’ – meaning daily rehearsals and nightly free beer.  It’s taken me a while to recover.

We were all staying at Perrott Hill School – a boarding and day school for children from 3 – 13 years old.  It has to be the most impressive setting for a school that I have seen – fully equipped with tennis courts, astro-turf football pitch, cricket pitch, outdoor swimming pool and extensive grounds.

I think we were all hoping for the sun to come out, and it did a little bit, unfortunately most of the sun was on the final day while we were all packing and being kicked out by eager cleaners.  But the overcast weather didn’t stop the occasional dip in the swimming pool – I think I managed about 30 minutes before fears of hypothermia forced me to get out.

The road to the school is about one and a half miles of single track road, with convenient overgrown hedges to obstruct vision.  I got used to it by the end of the week but I wouldn’t like the thought of driving down there on a school run… I felt lucky to get back to Manchester with both wing-mirrors intact.

Speaking of my car – what a saviour – on the way down we managed to fit me + passenger, harp, tuba, both our luggage for the week, bedding, and other miscellaneous stuff such as music, stands etc in the car.  It felt a bit like playing tetris, trying to get everything in with no gaps (and no view through the back window).

Although the space in my car is amazing, bear in mind that it is Summer, and the drive from Manchester to Somerset takes about four hours.  My car has no radio and no air-con, enough said.

We did two concerts, on in Exeter Cathedral, and the other in Wells Cathedral.  Good audiences for both, actually.  It was a great week, met some lovely people – lots of good memories to take away.  It was like the best bits of doing a youth orchestra course (being taken care of, meeting new friends and hanging out, being fed) combined with the fact that you are now a grown-up (drinking, the ability to drive to the shops if you need anything, and lots of freedom).

Now that I’ve been back for a week, and the poor harp hasn’t seen the light of day, I feel refreshed and ready to start some new repertoire and get some new ideas for the next few steps in my career.  Do I want to audition for postgrad in London?  Do I want to study abroad for a year or two?  My YouTube channel could do with a few more videos, that’s all to come in the near future as well.  I could even organise a recital for a worthy cause – a chance to do something for charity while also gaining experience and contacts for the future.

So there are lots of ideas in the pipeline, I’ve got lots of thinking to do!

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3 thoughts on “Summer 2012

  1. Oh, how I would love to hear harp played in Wells Cathedral!!!! The acoustics there are so incredible, at least for the audience. This sounds like a great week to schedule my next trip to England.
    Would have loved to watch you fitting a harp and a tuba in your car….perhaps it is really a TARDIS and bigger on the inside than the outside?

    1. Haha! It’s pretty big on the outside too but I’m always amazed at how much space there is in there. Last year on tour I had two full sized pedal harps in my car – granted I had lots of padding but still…

      Playing in Wells is a challenge because everything just kind of blurs together and you can’t really hear what’s going on very accurately. Watching the conductor is more important than trusting your ears in there.

      1. The cathedral space is so huge and resonant, I bet it is hard to hear. The recital hall where I play is like that. The first time I played a recorder concert there I was totally disoriented because nothing sounded “right.” Every concert our conductor reminds us to “Watch me, count, and DO NOT trust your ears.”

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