On Monday I went to a singing workshop with Corrina Hewat. It was fun and felt good. I always like seeing what different kinds of harmonies and arrangements are used by singers. Then, after lunch, I had a lesson with Ailie Robertson. I learned a new tune, which I definitely needed- I hadn’t had a private lesson in a while, and it is good to learn tunes in all kinds of environments. Learning her arrangement right away also challenged me in a good way.
There was an afternoon concert before my course. The variety that I’m seeing in all these concerts has been so educational and eye-opening. I’m very inspired. At my course we learned a tune and talked about different ideas for accompaniment, and exciting harmony. I’ve gotten a lot of new and refreshing ideas. I hadn’t really done much music theory in a while and I forgot how much I enjoy it!
That night there wasn’t a concert or session; there was a meeting and a ceilidh which I skipped in an attempt to pace myself. I’m glad I did, and I got some much needed sleep! It was a cold day with some snow or precipitation of some kind.
On Tuesday I started the morning by practicing. It was a rainy day. Later in the morning, I ran into my friend Terra Burgoyne from Connecticut. She is studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, in Glasgow. We both went to Nic Gareiss’s workshop about percussive dance, which was fun and got me thinking about tunes in a new way!
After that was lunch and later the tea concert, which was an event where we had tables with tea and snacks in the cafe (where we eat meals) while performers played on the stage. At this point in the week I had started applying my new knowledge from my course to the way that I was listening, watching for certain things that we had talked about. It really helped cement what I had been learning!
This was the last day of my course, and we wrapped up with another tune and going over some notes to continue learning at home.
My Aunt Casey and her friend Maria arrived that evening, as they had come for a short vacation with me following the festival. We went to Maeve Gilchrist’s concert, which was very good and intense. I went to the session later, and left early to get some sleep.
On Wednesday I started off the day with a longer workshop with Wendy Stewart, and we did some singing and playing. It was snowing outside during this, and it was very picturesque but slushy, wet, and inconvenient, as everything is in separate buildings at the festival and I had to carry a harp around outside. We learned a new song which was nice, and I got some more arrangement ideas.
That was the day of the From Scratch concert, which had 103 harps, plus some fiddles. It was really incredible to be a part of! I couldn’t really see or hear everything, being in just one corner of this enormous group, but it felt good to be contributing. It was a challenge playing with a conductor while also using music, as it isn’t something I do very often. I am not used to it at all, and I’m glad I got to exercise a different part of my brain. Looking outside at the falling snow every now and then, it was a really nice moment.
Then I had dinner, went to the concert, and afterward I lingered in the concert hall chatting with some new friends. It is a really beautiful space, with wood carvings and a pipe organ at the front. It was sad to leave. I went to the session later and stayed very late. I returned my harp that evening, and was so relieved not to have to carry it through the slush anymore! I was starting to miss my own harp at home.