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Sunday April 3rd 2005

Tutors' Showcase Concert

I had given a mandolin workshop during the day in Edinburgh. All the workshop leaders were asked to give a concert at night, and my musical partner, Sam Gifford, joined us for a meal and a sound-check at 5pm. It was a pleasant meal, just the three duos - me and Sam, Amy Geddes and Sandy Wright, Sarah Allen and Brian Finnegan plus two organisers from the ALP Scots Music Group. All vegetarian, which pleased me! The sound check was tedious as usual, and by 7.30 when the concert started we were raring to go. Sam and I were on first, mandolin and guitar. The sound was good, and overall we were good too, although nerves led me to making some noticable errors. The response was encouaging from the audience, and although we cut our set slightly short, I was generally happy. As we came off Sarah and Brian came up to the stage and gave us the thumbs-up - that was gratifying.

The Flook pair were rather wonderful; They worked extremely well together and Brian is simply a great player. He didn't rely on pyrotechnics - which he could easily have done, but interspersed slow pieces played with sensitivity and mastery. A treat for me. After a break Amy and Sandy did their set, Scottish fiddle with guitar accompaniment. I've loved hearing Amy play for years, and tonight she was on top form, displaying her ease in the genre. Her own compositions sat easily with the best of Scots traditional tunes, and she even managed to add a jazzy touch to the sublime Corgraff Castle by James Scott Skinner.

At the end of their set, Amy called us all back on stage with her, and we played a medley. I must say I was alittle nervous at sharing the stage with such giants, but they let me start off. I kicked into The Barrowburn Reel, Amy took it up after me with Da Bonny Isle of Whalsay, then Brian and Sarah played an Irish reel before we all joined in with Cooley's Reel. I could barely keep up by this stage, as it's a tune I usually play on the whistle, but I was enjoying myself so much I didn't care that much.

When it was over I was wrung out, but happy. It was a highlight for me, and I'm so glad I did it. I personally could have been better, but I wasn't going to let these thoughts cloud a successful evening.