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Sunday June 10th 2005

East Kilbride Classes End of Year Concert

Once again, my colleague Barbara Pomerenke-Steel arranged a showcase concert for the classes which run under the banner of the Lanarkshire Guitar and Mandolin Association (visit their website). Once again I was full of admiration for the way Barbara had organised the event. She had obviously thought about it a lot, and had put together a programme involving her children's and adult's classes, as well as my Tuesday morning mandolin class and mixed instrument group. We were at a new venue; previously the East Kilbride Arts Centre could accommodate us, but now we needed a larger venue. The Murray Owen Centre filled the bill, and was just right.

One constant factor in these occasions is nerves, and part of my job is to try to relax the students as much as possible. I know they're going to be great, but it's not so easy convincing them!

My beginner/improver mandolin group went on and played an arrangement of the old Scots song Leezie Lindsay, and of course they were just fine. Having some experience in these things now, I know to balance simplicity with effect, and I think it went down well. Some time later it was the turn of my mixed instrument group. We had mandolins, a fiddle, a guitar, a flute and a whistle, and played two sets: first a slow air, The Shearin's No for You which most people know better as Kelvingrove. Then two reels called Island Dance and The Peat Fire Flame. This went down very well, although I suspect that it was because all the other classes were mandolin-based, and ours made a bit of a change.

Barbara's classes were all as impressive as ever, and it was especially good to hear the children's groups performing so well and with such evident pleasure. The hall was filled with many proud parents. Most impressive was the finishing act, Barbara's Mandolin and Guitar Youth Orchestra. It's fairly small at the moment with about ten members, but Barbara has done a good job with them, and I predict they'll grow to become rather wonderful. Seeing all Barbara's children's classes has inspired me to think of a children's mandolin class in Crieff.

Before heading home I had the pleasure of having a bite to eat with Barbara and her husband Ian, doing our usual - talking about mandolin, future projects, past successes, and so on. A nice end to another great day.