How we can all support The Arts

We are living through an age of austerity. Spending cuts threaten the funding that major orchestras rely on. Cuts to school budgets mean that music and other arts subjects get side-lined in order to prioritise subjects like maths, science, and english. Yet it has been shown that actually increasing the amount of music in the timetable is hugely beneficial for students and increases their performance in all subjects. Check out what happened at this school in Bradford.

As the cost of living feels like it’s getting higher all the time and wages don’t keep up with inflation, people are feeling the pinch, and possibly not going to concerts or hiring live musicians for their events in an attempt to save money.

So what can we as ordinary citizens do to help support the arts? Here are a few ideas:

 

Attend more concerts

Perhaps this is the most obvious and immediate way we can help. If you live in a big city like London or Manchester, chances are there are free concerts all over the place. Here in Manchester there is a huge choice of free concerts, from organ recitals at St. Ann’s Church in the city centre to lunchtime concerts at Chetham’s and the Royal Northern College of Music. If jazz is more your thing, find your local jazz club, look on the website and find something you fancy.

Have a think about where you live, is there a local orchestra that perhaps does a few concerts each season? Could you perhaps consider attending one?

Of course, there’s more to the arts than just music. Many art galleries now allow you to look around for free, and theatres will probably have cheap matinee tickets on offer.

You could even set yourself a challenge of seeing something creative once or twice a month. Try to go for things outside what you would normally go to. Avid Handel fan? Go to a Gospel Choir concert. More of a jazzer? Go and see a Mahler symphony. Only ever seen Andrew Lloyd-Webber shows in the theatre? Try some Gilbert & Sullivan. You might find a new passion. At the very least, you’ll have more to talk about the following day than who got kicked off X-factor or what time your cat stayed out until. Going to see new things broadens the mind and you know that you are doing your bit to support hard-working, creative people.

 

Hire live musicians for your event

This may seem obvious, but having a live musician playing during your wedding/social function is far, far superior than having someone press ‘play’ on a cd player. It adds so much to the atmosphere that someone is there, playing just for you. Plus, you are supporting that person in a very real way. So please, hire musicians, pay them a decent fee, and perhaps give them snacks at your event? Maybe even talk to them at your event and thank them for playing for you? These things make such a difference – trust me.

While we’re on this topic, please, never, EVER, ask a professional musician to play for free (or worse, purely for the ‘exposure’). It’s insulting and completely undermines the fact that we have trained for years to play to a professional standard, and we deserve to be remunerated as such. For more details see the MU page http://www.worknotplay.co.uk/

 

Get invovled in the creative process

The internet really is an amazing place. Most of us are familiar with crowdfunding, where anyone can donate towards a creative project to help it get off the ground, and in turn they receive a reward and a glimpse into behind the scenes of the project itself.

As well as crowdfunding, there is a website called Patreon where you can support creatives on an ongoing basis – rather than for one big project as you do with crowdfunding. You can either donate monthly or per piece of content released (with a monthly cap so you don’t donate any more than you want to). Donations are generally much smaller (say $1-5 dollars) and patrons have access to a ‘patron-only feed’ of news and behind-the-scenes updates of the creative process.

My Patreon page is geared around making videos of harp pieces, both on and off the exam syllabus. Rewards include having your request played, recorded and uploaded, early access to videos and blog posts, and credits at the end of my videos.

 

Encourage your kids to get creative

Whether it’s playing a musical instrument, taking them to a dance class, or encouraging them to perform in the school play, encouraging kids to get involved with the arts will do wonders for their confidence and academic achievement (assuming of course that they don’t actively hate it – don’t force anyone here – keyword is encourage). Many musical organisations now place a lot of focus on outreach work, bringing music into the community and enabling people to get involved who normally wouldn’t be able to. See what’s going on in your local area, and if you are a musician and have the opportunity to get involved, do it.

Encouraging kids to learn an instrument may lead to them finding their passion in life, or at the very least, might improve their grades and give them an interest in music that they otherwise would not have had. Regular practise also encourages self-discipline and gives them time away from their phones, which we could probably all do with.

If there is not much music going on in your area, it might be time to…

 

Get vocal!

If you think your child’s school needs more music provision, tell them. If your local music service is desperately in need of investment, how about writing to your local MP to let them know how important this is to you? Would you love to go to more orchestral concerts but find that you can’t afford the ticket price? Write to them.

Musicians: see if you can join some sort of trade union (I’m in the MU but have heard lots of good things about ISM too). Get involved in the decision-making process and have your voice heard.

People aren’t psychic, and if they don’t realise there’s a problem, nothing will change.

If we value the arts in our society, we must look after them and invest in them. It makes all of our lives richer.

 

 

I really hope this has given you some ideas of ways we can support the arts and have our lives enriched in the process. I’m aware that this has been a bit of a long post! Thank you for reading and well done if you’re still here. A big thank you as well to those of you who contributed ideas via facebook and twitter. If I’ve missed anything, please do speak up in the comments. Let’s start a conversation.

Chat soon,

Ax

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Six days to go…

This time next week, I’ll be in the Scottish Borders with CLOUDS Harp Quartet, preparing for the first gig of our Summer Tour 2017.

We have launched a kickstarter to ask for your support towards our travel costs, and there are just six days left.

If we don’t reach our target, we get nothing.

The reason we are asking for support is that we absolutely love the music that Esther Swift writes for us, and we want to bring it to as many people as possible. Over the course of the tour we will be driving 1,500 miles each. That’s 6,000 miles of fuel we need to cover. In real terms, that’s £2,700 we need to make just to cover mileage.

We are literally driving the length and breadth of the country to play for as many people as we can. Just keep your fingers crossed that our cars can survive!

Thing is, we can’t really afford to do this if we don’t make any money from it. Of course we are passionate about the music but we need to support ourselves too during increasingly uncertain times.

This is the biggest tour we’ve undertaken since the quartet formed in 2008 and we are SO EXCITED to get out there and release this new music to you. Even if you can’t support us via kickstarter, please have a look at the concert dates and come along if you can.

Our kickstarter page can be found here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cloudshq/clouds-harp-quartet-summer-tour-2017

As ever, thanks for reading, we’ll hopefully see you very soon!

A x

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What I’m Practising: November 2016

Here we are in the best month of the year (birthday month) and I think it’s high time for another ‘What I’m Practising’.

I feel very spoilt this month as I have plenty of lovely things to be getting on with, yet it’s not so much that I’m feeling overwhelmed – a good balance.

I’m currently working on some solo repertoire for a gig in Halifax on the 9th of November. Solo gigs are the perfect opportunity to polish up old favourites and maybe challenge yourself to learn something new too. As I’m very keen to have enough music to fill the required time I’ve actually ended up with too many pieces and have had to cut one thing out of my programme. Sorry Grandjany – your fantasie will be getting an airing soon, but not next week. The pieces that made the cut are Watching the Wheat by John Thomas (apologies for the ancient video but check out my tan! Thanks Italy), Bach-Grandjany Etude 12 and Debussy’s Clair de Lune.

The 9th will be one of those wonderful gigs where dinner is provided, and I get to bring along a guest for harp-help and moral support too. It’s highly likely I’ll be posting all about it on Instagram so follow me there for updates.

Next up, an orchestral gig in Todmorden on Saturday, 12th November (also known as the day after my birthday). The rep is Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique – one of my absolute favourite orchestral parts. Have a listen to the second movement (the harpy one), conducted here by Leonard Bernstein.

So those are the main players in my practice at the moment. Good times! Other gigs looming are mainly background music and weddings – so that’s nicely under control too.

Thanks for reading and have a lovely November all!

x

 

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Orchestral Etiquette: how to get conductors to like you

You think being excellent at your instrument automatically makes you an asset to your orchestra?

Well… not necessarily.

I started playing with orchestras as a child, going away for week-long orchestral courses for IAPS and NSSO. These early experiences of playing in an orchestra are absolutely fantastic and get you into some great habits. As a young harpist, I was lucky to receive guidance from many amazing harpists – all of whom I still know and respect today (Honor, Gabriella, Eira, Rachel, Georgina and Anita to name just a few).

The following is a list of some of the things I’ve learned about playing in orchestras, if you are new to orchestral playing, following these tips will certainly help you make a good impression. 

If some of these seem stupidly obvious, please forgive me, it’s my attempt at being thorough. Please know that this isn’t me being ‘holier than thou’ – believe me I’ve often fallen short of these standards. But I believe this is what we should all strive for.

Being on time is not good enough

First thing’s first. If a rehearsal starts at 10am, turning up at 10am means you are late and inconveniencing the conductor. I’d recommend if you have a large instrument (harp or percussion), aim to arrive AN HOUR before the starting time of the rehearsal. Everyone else, half an hour. 

Hear me out here.

Arriving sufficiently early means you have time to find somewhere to park, unload, sort any potential disasters, find where you are going, settle in and tune before wind and brass start warming up, and maybe even grab a coffee too. By the time 10am rolls around, you’re relaxed, warmed up, caffeinated, and good to go. Plus, with traffic and the (very real) possibility of getting lost, we often arrive later than we expect – so this plan at least gives a good margin for error

No chatting, NO PHONES, no reading, unless the orchestra is rehearsing a movement you’re not in.

I get it, you’re not playing for a hundred bars and you need the gossip from last night. Maybe just send a quick text to see what’s going on. 

No.

Conductors see everything and being on your phone in a rehearsal is unprofessional and rude. Just don’t do it. If you’re not playing for a whole movement that’s perhaps different but in general, keep in off, in your bag, away from you so there’s no temptation. Personally, during movements I’m not in a prefer a good book or a crossword/sudoku.

Whispering and chatting to your deskie while the conductor is talking is also a no-no, it’s obvious and distracting to others.

Tune quickly and quietly, when it’s your turn, and stop playing when you are in tune.

Oh, the joys of getting an orchestra in tune. Harpists, sit back and hope that you tuned to the same A that the oboist is now playing – personally I prefer 440 Hz but different orchestras might do things differently (441 or in some places even 442 *shudder*). Everyone else, tune when directed to do so, but please do it as quietly as you can (so as to be considerate to the players around you who are also tuning) and stop playing as soon as you are in tune – to make it easier for those still tuning.

Practise the music beforehand

I hope this one is obvious, particularly for harpists. If you can get your hands on the music in advance, do it! What helps me a lot is finding the score online (try imslp.org) and then listening to it on spotify. Notice any tricky or solo passages and work on those. Mark up your part as necessary. The better you know the music, the better prepared you are on the day. Preparation is key and no one wants to get caught out.

Be prepared

Have a specific bag that you bring with you to rehearsals, or keep these bits in your instrument case. A couple of 2B pencils (darker lead and easier to rub out), a wire stand in case there aren’t any at the venue, and a folding light just in case the light is poor for the concert. 

Depending on your instrument of course you will need other bits and pieces, for me, I take my gig bag, the contents of which I list here.

Having these bits with you just puts your mind at ease that you won’t be caught out. It’s embarrassing to not have a pencil when you need to mark important instructions (cuts, repeats etc.)

Always, always, count.

So you’re not playing for a hundred bars, cry me a river and just make sure you count. All the time. SO many times I’ve been counting for what feels like hundreds of bars only for the conductor to stop just before I come in. Classic. But it’s still useful. You learn and can note down any important cues and get so much more of a feel for the music this way – and ultimately – that will add to your confidence when it comes to the performance. You’ll know exactly where to come in – and the conductor will love you.

Never rely on getting a cue from the conductor.

I say this with love, I really do. Conductors have so much to think about I don’t know how they do what they do. They won’t always be able to bring you in for your entry. This is why you need to count 100% of the time. Still WATCH the conductor at all times, but don’t be afraid to come in if they don’t give you a cue.

Harpists and other lone instruments: if you are not sure about your entry, come in anyway, if it’s wrong, it can be addressed, if it’s right, great work! Have the confidence to just come in, even if you’re not completely sure where you are. This comes with time and experience.

After a concert, sit when the leader sits, leave only when the leader leaves.

All this bowing, clapping, and standing after a concert has finished can seem silly, I mean, some of us actually have homes to go to, homes that are really far away. If in doubt, do what the leader does, when they sit, you sit, when they have left the stage, you can leave the stage.

Just don’t actually bow, you’ll feel ridiculous and you’ll be the only one. Smile at the audience and stand up straight, act like you are proud of what just happened.

Long Black is more professional that All Black.

Ladies, when it comes to concert clothes, let’s keep it decent. You don’t want the audience thinking you must be going clubbing right after the concert. This is less of an issue in winter, when church concerts make you want to put at least ten layers on as well as a hot water bottle and mittens.

But seriously, smart, professional, and long is best in my opinion. No miniskirts. ESPECIALLY if you straddle your instrument (I’m looking at you, cellists and harpists).

I used to love flouncing around in a black ball-gown at every orchestral gig I did. Nowadays I prefer smart black trousers, a black plain top and a black cardigan for smaller concerts and I keep the dresses for the bigger concerts halls and solo gigs.

So there you have it! Just a few tips to help make a good impression on your colleagues at orchestral gigs. Thanks for reading and I hope you find them useful.

Do you have any others that I’ve missed? Leave them in the comments below. 

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January 2016 Gigs

Only a couple of gigs to report on this month. Both background gigs. The first was at Bolton’s Museum and Art Gallery – a drinks reception for KBL Solicitors. It got a write up online that you can read here.

http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/business/14221652.Bolton_law_firm_celebrates_30th_birthday/

I have to say I was looked after so well in Bolton, I was given a plate of delicious canapés and everyone always made sure I had a soft drink of some sort. That makes such a difference. I often have to travel to somewhere totally unfamiliar, greet people I’ve never met or spoken to before so little things like food and somewhere to change my clothes really make a huge difference.

The next gig was down at Alton Towers Conference Centre. This was an unusual event. Firstly, I’ve never been to Alton Towers before. Yep. Never. I had no idea that it’s actually in the middle of nowhere! It was already dark when I arrived and I hadn’t seen another car for several miles (the same happened on the way home, quite spooky really). Oh, and the building seemed deserted when I arrived, walking down empty corridors in a strange building after driving down empty roads in the dark for ages is so weird!

Anyway, I did eventually find where the dinner was taking place and wow, it looked pretty cool:

Enchanted Forest dinner, Alton Towers.

The whole evening had an Enchanted Forest theme, and I wish I could have taken pictures of the guests – a lot of effort went into the costumes! Everyone was there, chimney-sweeps, Snow White, Aladdin, Captain Hook, it was crazy!

DSC00370harp in the enchanted forest. Alton Towers.

So that’s pretty much it when it comes to gigs this month. Luckily I had loads of work in December, and because of the way I now organise myself financially I’ve been able to keep paying myself each week as usual. Looking back on previous January blog posts, it’s interesting to see how things have levelled themselves out now. No panicking if a gig doesn’t pay for a while, not too much stress if there’s a quiet time with not many gigs, hey, they’re pouring in now! I guess that, after freelancing for over four years now, I’m learning that it’s all going to be ok. There is work out there. There are jobs out there. There are opportunities out there. And I intend to grasp all of the above with both hands.

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New ways to keep in touch…

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Hey!

So I’ve been pretty nervous about doing this, but I’ve taken the plunge and uploaded my first vlog to YouTube:

Check it out and let me know what you think. While you’re there make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel, I’m planning on posting lots of videos of pieces I love, wedding music ideas, and vlogging what it’s like to be a harpist on the road.

If you’re more of a tweeter or an instagrammer then you can always follow me on those platforms too @harpistangelina

Happy Friday everyone!

x

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The Summer so far…

It’s been a busy summer so far. I can’t remember when my last free weekend was  – which is very good news for a harpist. Since getting back from Denmark I’ve had at least one gig every single week. Usually weddings.

I’ve also received some lovely feedback from the happy couples and their families to let me know they appreciate my playing – I love getting reviews like this! You can check them out on my lastminutemusicians.com profile here.

I’ve realised that there are benefits to arriving at wedding gigs early: Sunbathing.

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I’ve had the opportunity to go and play in my old stomping ground – the RNCM and its new concert hall – my harp looks so small from up at the back:

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I also had a concert alongside the choir that I sing with – the choir of St. Ann’s Church in Manchester city centre. This was of course followed by the usual trip to the pub, where some of us stayed out way too late – I won’t mention names at this point:

Choir concert

As well as the frequent gigs, I’ve managed to find some time here and there to chill. Marten’s birthday was lovely, we went for a long walk around the Edale Valley – it was so nice to see some green and get some fresh air!

Edale DSC00213

There are lots of changes happening at the moment, lots of new ideas in the pipeline. I will keep you updated of course! But in the meantime, you can always subscribe to get my posts in your inbox – I recently changed website hosts, so if you are used to getting emails from me you may have to re-subscribe – sorry about that!

You can also follow me on twitter and instagram @harpistangelina for updates on my adventures. Send me a message and say hi! I love hearing from you.

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Getting up to date…

As the title would suggest, this post will hopefully bring my blog up to date with the various gigs I’ve been doing since Valentine’s Day.

Almost immediately after V-day, I drove up to Edinburgh with fellow CLOUDS member Elfair Dyer to rehearse for a few days with Esther Swift (for more information about CLOUDS click here).

We are currently learning a new trio piece for the International Harp Festival in Caernarfon, North Wales, in April. The piece is a new commission given to Esther especially for the festival. As usual, none of it is written down so we have to actually see each other to learn the music.

I am so excited about the new piece! The theme is mythology so there is a spooky story to go alongside the piece. We get to use loop pedals! The whole piece is quite dark in nature so it’s a world away from what is normally expected of a harp trio (clue: we won’t be wearing ball gowns). The sound is much edgier and more challenging.

I’m happy to say we can now play through the whole thing! We have more rehearsals coming up soon to polish everything off (and to make sure we actually know what we are doing). So fingers crossed the performance will be a success!

A few days after getting back from Scotland I had a very last minute gig. Background music for a Wake. This type of gig isn’t easy (it’s easier than a funeral service though), but the list of songs they requested were very fitting and, actually, I’m going to keep using that playlist for other background gigs too.

The very same evening I gave a talk at the Women’s Institute in Mellor, just to the south of Manchester. It’s slightly in the middle of nowhere, hurray for unlit, snakey roads with only enough room for one car.

I was a little nervous about this talk… I didn’t know if I could fill the allotted time but luckily, with playing, I was fine, plus the ladies asked lots of questions and genuinely seemed interested in the harp and the different types of work that constitute the life of a freelance musician.

The next gig I had was the following weekend, playing for a wedding reception in Sheffield. My Sheffield gigs are notorious for being stressful, I always get lost, but this one was ok. Not perfect but I found somewhere to park eventually.

The reception was in one of the University buildings.

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There was a lot of champagne flowing:

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And, check out the interesting table plan…

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Anyway, this seemed to be a wedding of people who win at life. Everyone was beautiful and gracious (getting louder towards the end… I blame the champagne) but generally a very classy affair.

Last Thursday lunchtime I went to watch the RNCM Harp Ensemble’s lunchtime concert at the Manchester School of Art – a lovely space for a concert like this…

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The photo doesn’t do it justice, trust me it looked lovely. I’ve been out of college for nearly three full years now (can’t believe it) and it’s still a little strange to see a harp ensemble concert that I’m not involved in. I mean it was refreshing in a way – the harp department had been setting up since before 9am! I remember back to my time in college and just loving the feeling of being part of such an amazing team.

Finally, we come to the gig I supposedly had last Friday, now I can’t say too much about this as I’m currently obtaining legal advice from the Musicians Union. But just to warn you, when it’s all sorted out there will be much ranting!

So that brings us just about up to date. I hope you all are enjoying the spring-like weather as much as I am! If you have any feedback please do leave me a comment.

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Harps of a feather, pluck together.

Well it’s been a while since I’ve been able to post. I’ve been busy gallivanting around Great Britain on (mostly) harp related bits and bobs. There is a lot to report since my last update.

This post is becoming mammoth so I’m going to have to split it up into smaller sections…

Firstly, I got my photos back from my solo shoot with Julie Harris. I will be getting more from this shoot soon but I wanted to share the first two with you:

credit: Julie Harris
credit: Julie Harris
credit: Julie Harris
credit: Julie Harris

What other news is there… oh yes! My last blog post ‘How to make your grass greener’ has been featured on The Media Directory – don’t believe me? Check it out at http://www.themediadirectory.com/news?shownews=399

In terms of playing, a lot has been going on as well. A few Saturdays ago I had the pleasure of visiting my home city of York to play Sibelius’ First Symphony with York Guildhall Orchestra under Simon Wright. For once, there were two harps in the orchestra! Principle Harp was played by Georgina Wells – I’ve known Georgie since she tutored at a youth orchestra I used to attend so it is a real treat to play in orchestra with her. We had a great time:

The experience of playing in an orchestra is so different when you are not alone in your section. I am so used to being the only harpist that playing second harp actually brought a few challenges that I don’t usually experience. As well as watching the conductor, the music and, if I’m lucky, my hands – I also need to watch Georgina for important entries to make sure we play exactly together. I do not have enough eyes for this task!

Having said that, beefing up the harp section is so much fun – on my own, pretty much everything has to be at least mezzo forte to come across to an audience. With two harps, you can bring the music to life so much more. Even in piano passages, you can be confident that the harps will be heard. It’s great!

But away from the concert platform, having someone else in the section brings a social aspect to the day too. We chat about how we want to play certain sections, which chords to spread and which to leave straight, we help each other unpack and move harps. It becomes a team game. Harpists are often only in one or two pieces in a concert, so this means a large proportion of the day is spent alone. Now, I’m not about to start complaining about that, I happen to like my own company, thank you very much. But it makes a wonderful change to be part of a section – maybe go for a meal together in the break and share stories of bizarre gigs we’ve done, things we’d like to do etc.

So all in all, this was a lovely day, I’m playing in York again in early April and I’m looking forward to it already – or I will be, once I’ve learnt the notes.

Valentine’s Day. What’s the big deal? Restaurants are packed and more expensive than usual, everyone seems to feel this pressure to do something. I’m secretly glad I usually have a gig on this day. My boyfriend and I went for dinner the previous Tuesday to celebrate an anniversary. He proved the theory that the most exciting gifts come in little packages…

But anyway, I’m going off-topic. For Valentine’s Day I was booked to provide background music at The Florentine restaurant in Sheffield. I did not enjoy the drive there. I opted for Woodhead Pass as it’s a little less snakey than Snake Pass. However, once I got to Sheffield, my satnav took me up Hagg Hill. A word of advice – avoid this hill! I attempted it in second gear and immediately stalled. In the dark. A car behind me also turned onto the hill and followed me as I crawled up to the top, where I had to turn right.

The restaurant seemed really lovely. I was given a divine meal of beef with parsley risotto and goats cheese bonbons, and the staff were very friendly and helpful with the harp. I played for a couple of hours then drove back to Manchester. It is so interesting watching couples having dinner on Valentine’s Day. I saw at least one couple arguing. One woman was despairing because her man was so drunk. One couple brought two young loud toddlers to the restaurant (why??) and many couples were turned away because they hadn’t booked a table (rookie mistake on Valentine’s Day).

Personally I prefer to stay away from the expensive meals out on February 14th and cook something really nice with someone special, maybe get a nice bottle of wine, and just spend some time together… Cash definitely does not need to be splashed in order to incite romance.

But that’s just my opinion.

Well that’s it for this post but more will be coming soon! I’m not even close to being up to date with gig reports… As always, watch this space.

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London!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon snoozing on the train down to London Euston.  I had a background gig in the Royal Courts of Justice with the lovely, talented, Esther Swift.  We form half of the harp quartet Clouds, I’m sure I’ll be writing lots more about us in the upcoming months but only two of us were available on this occasion so we were the Clouds duo.

Before smartphones, I have no idea how I found my way around London.  I love going to visit and see the sights – I always have to visit the Natural History Museum, that’s the geeky part of me – but I had no idea where to find the Royal Courts of Justice.  Google maps, what a life saver.  Also being able to google ‘nearest tube to courts of justice’ proved very handy.  All of which resulted in me arriving one and a half hours earlier than I needed to.  Luckily there was a nice looking cafe right opposite so I sat in the window and took some photos:

This was after the first attempt, a car drove past me at the wrong moment and it just looks like a nice photo of London cab:

Anyway, Esther arrives and we decide to make our way into the building, past the security checks and then we had to wait for the harps to be delivered.

A note here, thank you so much to Holywell Music for allowing us to hire a couple of lovely harps for the evening.  I’ve driven to gigs in London before with my harp – so not worth it – I had a run in with a traffic warden who made me cry (I was in a designated loading bay!)  And just finding parking that’s accessible with harp is so difficult.  London-based harpists… I salute you!

So hiring harps meant we could get the train down – very cheap – and I could have a drink after the gig!  Amazing!

We were provided with exceptional canapés, which looked so good I had to take a picture:

I’d like to add that that’s apple juice, not whisky.

We were playing on a balcony overlooking the Great Hall, the view was fantastic:

The whole hall was packed for the event, luckily we were mic’d up so apparently we could actually be heard.  It really did look fantastic.  I gave my card and demo CD to a man who organises weddings in Rhodes… what an amazing gig that would be!

Finding a stair-free way to get the harps onto the balcony was interesting, everyone was telling us different things and I don’t think anybody really knew if there was a way.  But we found one, unfortunately we found it after taking a harp up a lot of stairs, only to have to bring it back down – it would be comical if it wasn’t so annoying!

A big thank you as well to Ben Lloyd-Evans at Sternberg Clarke for sorting it all out for us.  We had a great time!

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