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Guildhall Speaks

14 APRIL 2020

Today is still quite chilly but beautifully sunny. I am now back to my solo stints in the Annexe with the elderlies, and it was another terrible night with Jean, being woken every 30/40 minutes! It was also quite an eventful day with Jean, who managed at one point to drench herself in cold tea and to choke on some apple (the girls did not realise that apple is not ideal for somebody prone to aspirational pneumonia!). In between crisis I had a massive watering session and then returned to my potato beds. I had got to do this job later than planned but it was going quite well, when Aideen came outside to find me. Guildhall had finally made contact with their students to let them know what was happening with their degrees. Aideen is at the end of a four year, very intensive degree in ‘Classical Harp’ and was keeping reasonably calm and carrying on with her normal practice schedule (5/6 hours per day). Her final recital, 45 minutes of virtuosic music from memory was due at the beginning of June for which she has been preparing since September. The options she has been offered during these present difficult circumstances were to record a 20/30 minute recital to submit at the end of June or to give a possibly live recital of 20/30 minutes in September. She has spent the last month memorising a piece which now will be redundant, and also chamber music pieces that she has also prepared that now will not be used. She is faced with cutting half to a third of her recital programme, and is quite devastated that this will be the end of her time at Guildhall, which has been the most challenging time of her life. I give up on potato beds and concentrate on my ‘shell-shocked’ daughter. The rollercoaster of coronavirus continues, so many unforeseen consequences of varying magnitude from grieving families to a bemused generation of young people with no GCSE’s, A Levels and disrupted degrees. We spent hours discussing her options and trying to work out how to cut her programme assisted by the soothing properties of a gin and tonic! Just before darkness falls, Meave gives me a list of vegetables to retrieve from the garden… leeks, kale, spinach, rosemary, chives and butternut squash. At least this wretched virus means we eat more of our vegetables!




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