Black Dyke Band in Sheffield

The easiest part of yesterday was the rehearsal and the concert.  I was lucky enough to be playing with the Black Dyke Band in Sheffield City Hall.

I say that was the easy bit because I had learnt the music (Philip Whilby’s ‘A Bronte Mass’) and it was fine – actually it was more than fine it was lovely.  I’ve never played with a Brass Band before and they are loud compared to little old me on harp.  I was eventually placed right at the front of the stage so the audience had a chance to hear me (prima dona moment).

There was a teeny weeny panic just before the concert, my stand and music went missing.  I was amazed that someone would have moved a stand with my name and my music on it!  But, the matter was resolved, the stand was found on the other side of the stage, and I found my music, ummm, in my bag *sorry*.

Another nice bit of the day was going for dinner in between the afternoon rehearsal and evening concert.  I figure I’m in an unfamiliar city and a meal is on expenses so why not have something nice?  AskItalian was my venue of choice and the meal was amazing.  Goats cheese and fresh bread for starter and then pasta with chicken, mushroom and white wine sauce – no desserts as I’m being a good girl at the moment.

So there, that’s the nice part of the day covered.  Now for the nightmare.

Driving + unfamiliar one-way system + Saturday night revellers + useless satnav = Lots of tears + about an hour spent driving in circles

I had to get my harp to the loading bay at the city hall, which is impossible to find as it’s all pedestrianised and you can only get at it by going a really long, convoluted way round.  I eventually found it before the rehearsal, only to be told I couldn’t have a parking permit and would have to find my own parking.  Gee thanks.  I found it unfair that other instruments who had to load and unload i.e. percussion seemed to be allowed to stay the whole day but apparently harpists can manage.  Grr…

Perhaps it’s due to my lack of geography skills/sense of direction but when I went to pick my car up after I’d finished playing, I couldn’t find the concert hall again.  Simon was very sweet and got the train from Newcastle down to Sheffield to keep me company on the drive back to Manchester (awww) and if he hadn’t been there directing me, calming me down and thinking of new routes to find the *expletive deleted* loading bay, I would probably still be there now, crying and driving round in circles trying to get to my harp.  I have no idea what it cost me in petrol and wrinkles that I didn’t have before, but I feel it’s unfair that I should have to go through that and it spoilt the otherwise great experience of playing with an amazing band.

I jokingly said that next time I want a parking permit, and the reply came ‘ha, wouldn’t we all’.

I think my need might be greater than most?

Anyway, enough ranting.  Apart from the car troubles it was a great day, playing good music with a lovely conductor (thank you Darius Battiwalla) and a great ensemble, I hope I get the chance to play with them again soon.

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3 Comments

  1. What will it take for ordinary humans to understand the trials of unloading and loading a harp, particularly a pedal harp, and getting it to and from the performance stage?!? Glad you survived, and that doing the concert itself was a good.

    1. Thank you. Yes it was a good gig! The band are amazing. The car situation was unfortunate but it is the experience of the concert that will stick in my memory (hopefully!)

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