Harrogate revisited…

I have wondered whether or not to write about this gig, because the whole day was just pretty stressful and I try to keep negativity out of this blog.  But as this whole thing is about being honest about what the music business is like, I’ve decided to include it.

Let’s start with the good:

  • My parents came to watch the concert – it’s always so lovely to see them and to have some supporters in the audience, someone to play for.
  • The playing itself was lovely, it’s music I enjoy playing – particularly the Agnus Dei from Howard Goodall’s Requiem, that’s a really nice part to play.
  • There was wine in the interval.

Ok that’s done, onto the rest of the day:

  • Harrogate, despite being a small town, seems really difficult to find your way around – due to all the one-way systems that my sat-nav is too old to know.
  • Once I’d found the church I had to unload, up a few steps but no big deal.  The next task was to find a car park.
  • Found one!  Full.
  • Found another one!  The machine gave me a ticket before letting me in and I dropped it on the floor!  So embarrassing, I had to actually stop the traffic after parking to go and pick it up from where I’d dropped it.

Once I’d found my way back to the church (thank you smartphone GPS) I just turn around to put my bags down and turn back around to find a man I’ve never seen before grab my harp and say ‘ooh it’s pretty heavy isn’t it!’  Cue a rather annoyed ‘excuse me I’ll do that!’ from myself and he wanders off smiling to himself – infuriating!

The conductor – a lecturer from Leeds Uni, asked me to go to the other side of the podium once I’d got settled down – I wish he could’ve introduced himself to me and asked me to set up there when I’d first arrived.  I’m pretty sure he had no idea of my name until I gave him my business card after the concert.  Being referred to as ‘harp’ all day is a bit depressing.  There are some more things I could say but I will leave it there.

The second half of the concert was a performance of Carmina Burana by what was frankly a gigantic choir including a school choir – I’m sure several of whom didn’t sing a single note.  I watched from the front row with my parents.

Oh, and one more thing, music geeks will relate to how annoying this is.  The audience applauded after every movement.  I’m sure it added at least 20 minutes to the overall running time of the concert.  I found the perpetrator who started the applause and glared at her several times to no avail.  My mum and I couldn’t stop ourselves giggling due to the fact that my dad had brought a score along so he could sort of ‘read along’ with the concert – and he sniggered to himself every time something went wrong – in the front row.  Amazing.

So after the concert all the was left to do was get paid (yay!) and drive home through what was probably the worst fog I’ve ever seen.  Ever.  So as you can imagine I was very relieved to arrive home to a nice glass of sherry and a catch up with the parents.

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2 Comments

  1. Oh, you have to write all the freaky and annoying stuff also – how else will you retrieve all these memories in 20 years when you write your “My Adventures as a Free-lance Harpist” book. And it serves as a warning to others who might be following in your footsteps. How else would they know what the life of a free-lance harpist is really like?!? My teacher talks about the whole issue of being ignored and dismissed by conductors. There must be something about harps that causes conductors to be unbelievably rude. Glad you survived this round of ‘adventures”.

    1. Thank you 🙂 What I’m experiencing more and more is that the playing – the music – is the easy bit. It’s all the bits in between that are the challenge on the majority of gigs I’m doing.

      Thanks for reading 🙂

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