All Things Harp!
2018 On the Road!
The beginning of a year can be a quiet time for musicians, but as always in the life of a freelance harpist, nothing is predictable. I’ve had a very busy start to 2018 with orchestral concerts in Kendal, Leeds, Sheffield, Hanley and numerous rehearsals and concerts at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester: from Bach to Bacharach!
We get to know these concert venues well and are experts in the best way to get the harp inside. Finding where to park, so that you don’t get caught up in the queues at the end, becomes an art form! I would certainly recommend a good Sat-Nav. Years ago, I would rely on maps, only to find that the streets had changed to a one-way system, or there were unexpected road delays and I had to find a new route. Now I have a TomTom Go 5100 which has regular traffic reports, and had redirected me on many occasions so that I arrive in plenty of time. It is worth investing in for sure! Top tip No 1!
All these venues are regular haunts by now, so we know the good places to eat, or where to grab a much needed coffee. We don’t get meals provided, so it is a case of using the 2 hour break before the concert to eat, change, tune and warm-up as efficiently as possible.
Facilities in halls vary a great deal. The dressing room can be a Council Chamber or a leisure centre changing room. There is definitely a winter wardrobe of wrist warmers, long sleeved outfits, and extra black layers for the cathedral concerts. A recent purchase was a beautiful black velour scarf; lots of black clothes and accessories to be found in charity shops! Top tip No 2!
Life on the road means that the car is well stocked up for every eventuality from a snow shovel to a warm blanket; from a flask of hot water to plenty of packets of liquorice torpedoes .... my current favourite sweet treats! Top tip No 3!
I am lucky that my husband drives me on long distances, mainly so that I can have some rest. It gives me a chance to catch up on emails, which is an essential part of running my business. My teaching still continues around these concerts. A morning Rehearsal can be followed by 5 hours teaching, and vice versa. It’s the balancing act of teaching and performing. You have to juggle both teaching days and performances, and accept the long days of starting and finishing in the dark.
More light is appearing and a definite feel of Spring approaching. I will be back on the road again soon, with orchestral concerts in Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Warwick, Nottingham, Sheffield and even Perth........Scotland! I’d better stock up on those liquorice torpedoes!