Sunday, April 20, 2008

Loch Norman Highland Games

Sunday, harp events at the Loch Norman Highland Games, Huntersville, North Carolina.

First off, the church service / Kirkin o the Tartans. I arrived via the harp gate, and told the crowing rooster it wasn't *that* early. The prior day, I mistook the ruins for the graveyard (an honest mistake!) and had to ask for directions when I realized there was no one *at* the ruins. I found out I had to trek quite a ways across the gamefield. But I made it in time to play several tunes for a prelude - a little under twenty minutes. (On time - I have only been late for a gig once in my life.) As always, the marching-in of the tartans is enjoyable to see, and the sun flowed brilliantly over the scene.

Secondly, the harp workshop. I taught my arrangement of the tune Shingly Beach, a lovely tune - my version is constructed so the ornamentation does not require any change in fingering (one of the most difficult aspects of ornamenting a piece). It turned out that I had a group more advanced than I expected, so I got the entire tune taught (as opposed to just the A part, which I had planned after a "test run" of the workshop) and it still ran a bit short ... so I shared another arrangement technique I like to use occasionally. Everyone seemed to enjoy the tune and seemed comfortable with the speed and content, so I count this a success. It also gave me a better feel for what I want to do with workshops in the future.

Thirdly, the competition - or, as it turns out, the lack of it. We had one competitor advance-registered and another who signed up on the day. The former didn't arrive, and the harp coordinator and I discussed and decided that it would be best not to hold a competition under such circumstances. Instead, we gave the loyal audience an impromptu performance - she and I played several tunes, our sole competitor played her set, and another harper performed a trio of tunes. I closed with a taste of other music styles - enter my old "Andrew Lloyd McWebber" joke, and "All I Ask of You," which never fails to surprise people ... in a good way.

All in a good day, not at all the day I expected, but I'm satisfied ... and for all the good moments, ready to go home.

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