Northumbrian Branch Report 2020

Our year started in September at Bamburgh with our annual meeting with the Edinburgh Branch. We had 25 players this year and we had a very enjoyable day sharing and playing some lovely music. We had a delicious pooled lunch and a walk on Bamburgh’s beautiful beach before our afternoon session.

We were very saddened to hear of the death of Jean Thompson in December. Jean had a very active musical life and  was a member of a harp trio along with Betty Matthews and Judith Anderson. She also had accompanied her husband Basil who had been a piper. She had been a founder member of the Northern Sinfonia Chorus and had also conducted many choirs. Jean had been a long term member of the Clarsach Society and she will be sadly missed.

I would like to welcome Di Jevons as our new Treasurer – she took over from Claire Steel last September.

Our meetings on the first Saturday of each month are popular and had been well attended until they had to stop due to the pandemic. Our usual third Monday had also been well attended.

Our Saturday morning meeting in December was very popular – we played Christmas music with a break for coffee and mince pies. Our Christmas lunch at Fratelli’s took place in January.

We held our annual Beginner’s day in January followed by the Children’s Workshop in February. There were 6 children  –  3 of Janet Bennett’s pupils and 3 of Judith Anderson’s – and it was a very enjoyable and successful day.

The play away group started off in November playing for the  Newton Bywell WI. In December we played for the residents of Lowgate Residential Home followed by North Sunderland WI in February. Unfortunately we had to cancel any further dates. 

It has been a challenging time over the last 6 months. So many activities have had to be cancelled and so many people being isolated. The virtual Harp Festival was a lifeline to many of us and I would like to thank all those who were involved in putting this together at such short notice. It was a tremendous achievement. 

Many of us have had our technology skills greatly advanced! A very steep learning curve! Giving and receiving online lessons has proved “interesting” , but on the whole very successful .

Finally I would like to thank the committee for their work and support through these challenging times.