Transpennine Branch Report 2020

A challenging but enjoyable year for TPH – a year of two halves!

We have monthly core groups; one in the Leeds/Keighley area and one in Old Malton, near York.  Old Malton, led by Annie Jones, has a strong base of 12 members and enjoys a varied repertoire; the West Yorkshire (Riddlesden) group has averaged a core of 16 players at its regular sessions.

We are so lucky to have two brilliant tutors, Lucy Nolan, who leads the Riddlesden group, and Tamsin Dearnley, who has been holding regular zoom sessions from Toulouse with the Old Malton group.  All our sessions are great fun.  They reflect the diversity of the harp and we are gradually extending our concert repertoire.  

Lucy went to Old Malton to lead a much appreciated session with them too.   In February, we welcomed Tamsin Dearnley back to do a workshop with each group, again great fun, and that led to the zoom sessions.

As a result of our ‘Try the Harp’ session we introduced 5 new members to the harp; our harp hire is very healthy, with all harps out on hire. 

Transpennine Harps’ membership hails substantially from Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, as well as from Lancashire and Greater Manchester.  Although our numbers overall are down this year, we hope to turn this around by extending our online reach as well as our physical meetings.  We do seem to have more coming along to both the physical and online meetings. 

The latter part of the year has of course provided new challenges to us all, not least improving our IT technical skills!  Importantly, we are not aware of anyone succumbing to the virus.  We have had online committee meetings, and have started online play togethers.  Inspired by the Edinburgh International Harp Festival and the HNW JaNEWary Challenge, we were delighted to have an online workshop led by Mary Dunsford.  We now have YouTube tutorials which we are available to our members.  Everyone enjoyed the experience even though it was different not to be together for large parts of the day.

TPH is a vibrant group of players from beginners/improvers to more advanced.  We share our passion for our harp, not just by playing together, but also by making friends at our sessions over coffee and home baked cakes!  And even online, we have some good chats and share our harp experiences.  Thanks to the committee and all who contribute so much to creating a very special group.