CLOUDS in Scotland with David Douglas

Last Thursday the lovely Elfair Dyer and I set off from Manchester to go to Peebles in the Scottish Borders. After the compulsory stop at Tebay services on the M6 (best services ever?) we arrived late afternoon and began rehearsing for our concerts the following Friday and Saturday. Oh, and when I say ‘rehearsing’ what I actually mean is ‘learning the music’.

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Waiting for us was Esther Swift. We usually play as a quartet but on this occasion Rebecca Mills was somewhere around Italy, entertaining the guests as resident harpist on board the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship.

The first gig of the weekend was at the Old Parish Church in Peebles, we were collaborating with the tenor David Douglas to play some Scottish folk songs together. We know David from our days at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, he was so lovely to work with! We definitely want to do more projects like this together. Esther and David also did a few songs just the two of them, and we played a few CLOUDS Harp Quartet pieces – Clouds (our first piece) and Twa Sisters (recently premiered at the Wales International Harp Festival last April) – both composed by Esther.

That evening, after the concert, we decided to go for a cheeky cocktail (or three) in Peebles:

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I can’t tell you how lovely it is to hang out with these ladies, we work so hard together on the quartet but we are such good pals too. It was also the last time the three of us would be together for a while as Elfair is going away for a whole year soon – Elfy, what am I going to do without you??

The following day, feeling a little groggy, we made the two hour drive over to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Ayr. This part of Scotland is so beautiful – especially at this time of year when all the leaves are changing colour. We performed for an absolutely lovely audience – one of whom even gave us extra money on the way out, saying she felt the concert was worth much more than the ticket price! What a sweetie pie.

I loved the staging in the Museum too:

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It was really light and airy in there, don’t you think the harps look amazing?

After the gig it was time to pack up, say goodbye and head back down to Manchester – stopping for a burger in Tebay of course.

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