Dumfries and Galloway Branch Report 2020

We had great dreams for 2020 and Wendy had put together a lovely programme which we planned to perform in Dumfries as part of the Arts Festival and at Gatehouse of Fleet as part of the Big Lit Festival. Until lockdown we had maintained our regular monthly meetings, though some had to be cancelled because of storms & flooding. 

The shared meeting with Harps North West, Harps Across the Border, in September 2019 was again a very enjoyable event, led by Mary Dunsford and we were hoping to have another in September 2020, but it is looking likely that it will be another Zoom event. The small surplus after this workshop was donated to the Dumfries and Galloway Youth Orchestra. A group of older members meet regularly and have played at care homes and support groups, and individuals have entertained residents who have enjoyed the soothing sounds of the clarsach and even sang or hummed along with some of the tunes. Harpists also joined in the Thursday evening clapping for the NHS, playing tunes such as Somewhere over the Rainbow and Scotland the Brave! In the lead-up to Christmas we played in the atrium of the Dumfries and Galloway Infirmary and one member played background music at Threave House, a NTS property at Castle Douglas, which caught the interest of members of the public, some of whom tried out playing the harp! 

In lockdown some of us took part in the virtual EIHF, attending workshops and concerts, and enjoying Wendy’s workshop on Ca’ the Yowes. Wendy also contributed to the very enjoyable NE Branch’s Virtual Tea Concert and Wendy organised us to make a film of What we did in Lockdown – the highlight for me was Pauline playing her “pedal” harp (on her bike!)

We haven’t had any virtual playing sessions as a group, as one of our member’s broadband connection is unreliable, ans some others aren’t confident in using Zoom. But we’re hoping that restrictions may soon be eased a bit more so we can meet in some sort of “live” group. Thanks as ever to Wendy Stewart, our Convenor, for great tunes, inspiration and encouragement, and endless patience.

Lyn Walby

Branch Secretary