What an eventful session this has been!
It started out well in September with a friendly, enjoyable day in Bamburgh as guests of the Northumbrian Branch. We played good music, tucked in to a wonderful pot luck lunch and even enjoyed a beach walk in beautiful sunshine. A perfect day.
In October our Open Platform featured delightful performances from some very young players, from brave adult beginners making debut appearances as well as exciting and beautiful music from more experienced performers. We also had the rare chance to hear the music of the guzheng, the Chinese horizontal harp, in the hands of Sarah Bonham Wang.
November saw members travel to Milngavie to join the Glasgow Branch in an afternoon of delightful music arranged and led by Eleanor Hetherington and Rebecca Hill – and delicious tea and cake in excellent company.
Next came the Day to Play and rehearsals in preparation for our annual “Harps of Gold” Christmas concert in the Queen’s Hall. Our chosen charity was Parkinson’s UK Scotland and, to our delight, their Singing4Fun group joined us in a truly inspiring performance. 61 harps onstage were joined by musicians from George Watson’s College directed by Rosemary McKerchar to make a joyful start to Christmas celebrations.
The “Burns Bash,” celebrating the birthday of our national bard, took place on January 25th -the actual day –with Margaret Collin as our tutor. Her choice of music delighted everyone and her teaching was wonderfully paced for all. The Burns Supper followed in gourmet style, thanks to our wonderful catering team!
In February and early March na Clarsairean, the Branch Orchestra was rehearsing with soloist Rhona Smith of Drake Music, Scotland in preparation for a performance of the new Suite, “Shapes and Shadows,” at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival.
Then came the global pandemic.
Despite having to cancel all planned activities, we were able to share and enjoy Virtual EIHF and we continue to meet to share new music at our regular Zoom sessions led by various teachers. Our aim now is to support as best we can all who perform, teach and love clarsach music.
We thank the members of our wonderfully supportive committee for all their work in organising events and looking to the future, and all those members who undertake a myriad of other tasks to ensure the smooth running of our events.
Isobel Mieras and Helen Forster