The branch has again enjoyed another busy year, that is until lock down happened!
We always have a full schedule of monthly workshops led by the ever-patient Ingrid Henderson. These generally take place near Oban but as our membership is still continuing to increase in the south of the region, we quite often hold additional workshops in Mid-Argyll as well.
Isobel Mieras also paid the branch a visit in July and under her careful tutelage, we came away with a range of lovely pieces which we use for local performances.
We had a great time at our weekend residential in August with a Harry Potter themed venue in a local castle no less. Everyone gets into the spirit of the weekend and prizes are awarded for the best dressed harp and sometimes harper!
In September, we held a rather unusual workshop based on Russian melodies which Pru Williams had put together with her teacher Monica Turoni. Pru gave us some really interesting background to the pieces and explained the context of the translations. We were also able to purchase the music book which has proved an unusual addition to our repertoire.
In November, we once again played in the global orchestra #iPlay4Peace. We had an ensemble of ten members taking part. We performed a haunting fiddle tune called ‘Winning the Peace’ composed by Paul Anderson.
This year we also played two sets in the Taynuilt Ceilidh. It takes a lot of persuasion to get our members onto the stage, but they played beautifully and the hard work running up to it was very worthwhile.
Some of our members also took part in a ‘Coffee and Clàrsach’ session in Tarbert. We expected a few members of the community to support us but were overwhelmed with the response and we were kept playing for over two hours!
This year the branch was delighted to support one of our members, Lindy Veitch, who was asked to give a talk and demonstration on the clàrsach at the Dunollie Castle Clan Gathering in Oban. We played a varied set and had considerable participation with the ‘Come and try’ session afterwards.
We have continued to have some workshop sessions online and our thanks go to Ingrid for this. I’d also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge all the hard work our tutors do. The preparation always goes unseen but is very much appreciated by all of us.
I know some of our members have really missed the social contact and time with their harping friends. Here’s to a full programme of events next year!