Now the Neverendum is over, the right choice made (in my opinion) I can put my focus and my writing energies elsewhere.
One event I didn’t get round to describing was a community project called ‘Coming Home.’ It was initiated by people from the new University of the Highlands and Islands which has, because of the terrain it serves, a ridiculous number of campuses across the most northern parts of Scotland. As far as I could gather this project was part of the ‘Music in the Community’ course, but I could be wrong about that. Certainly there was plenty of music involved. The writing group, and other local groups, were invited to join in the creation of a multi-media piece to arise out of the work and inspirational input from the members of these groups. All very vague, and it didn’t immediately find takers. The people who did roll along to the early meetings reported back that they were putting together a .... er ... um... thingy. Eventually, after a bit of persuasion, I went along to see what it was all about.
They had already put in the ground-work with brain-storming sessions. They’d chosen a beautiful poem written by one of our group to open with, a violinist had composed music to follow it, and our script-writer had scripted some dialogue. Happily I had a poem I wrote ages ago called ‘Small Town’ which is a pastiche of a day in the life of the High Street (above which I lived for long enough to feel I was justified in calling myself a part of it.) ‘Quite Early One Morning ’ it isn’t but it did help pull the disparate pieces together and I was very proud to be able to read it in two parts, day and night, for the performances. (First time I have ever had a mike in front of me.) With the help of musical twiddly bits between pieces everyone’s work eventually slotted in seamlessly. We performed it twice with a visual background of film of nearbye beaches, dance, and a comedy sketch set in the weekly Coffee Morning which has become something of an institution in the Town Hall. The same folk turn up, week after week regardless of the cause that is raising money by selling them low-priced coffee and cake and setting up stalls of bric-a-bra home bakes, books, etc. Men and women alike settle in for a good moan and a blether.
Most importantly, there was lots of music. The piece opened, was punctuated by and ended with live music from fiddles, guitar and keyboard.
We did it twice, once in the Tolbooth under the severe, glowering, portraits of town worthies in the Civic Chamber (perhaps not what it’s called but justice was once meted out there and sentences passed. Now the Town Council meets to wrangle over the use of Common Good land and so forth.)
Two days later we took it to Inverness, Eden Court where we performed in the Bishop’s Palace. An alarming number of men in suits were amongst the audience. Not so many suits worn in this part of the world so they are noticeable. The men inside the suits turned out to be the President and notables from the university, and an official from the whisky company who sponsored the project. It went well, was well received and by the end of that run-through I was feeling quite teary.
At both events there was a reception with wine afterwards, so for two weeks I downed rather a lot of chilled white. Good quality too. We had the whisky company to thank for that. Very nice.