In July our Assistant Administrator, YeYe Xu took off her RPS hat to lead Nevis Ensemble, Scotland’s first and only street orchestra, on its landmark inaugural tour of over 70 performances.
On a rainy day at the foot of Britain’s highest mountain, 40 orchestral musicians alighted a bus and began to question their sanity. ‘Who wants a black bin liner for their instrument case?’ a cellist called out, who’d one tied round the waist of his own. Sealed in anoraks and walking books, we walked across the parking lot, slowly; sleepily. (Some of us had been up since 7am making sandwiches.) Ben Nevis took no notice of us under her silvery white blanket; born of mother Earth; an eternal monument luring in explorers from around the world.
Continue reading “Nevis Ensemble – an orchestra reaching new heights”
Just over a year ago Svend McEwan-Brown, Director of the East Neuk Festival, was on a high when, together with Emma Dunton from 14-18 Now he stepped up to receive the RPS Music Award for Audiences and Engagement for the wonderfully imaginative and far reaching Memorial Ground Project commissioned to celebrate The Centenary of the Battle of the Somme.
But in planning his next festival he came up against a challenge far harder than any posed in previous years. In September 2017 he suffered a major stroke. On the eve of the 2018 festival he writes so movingly about how the magic of a Mozart String Trio brought him back to the world and determined to finish the planning for his festival with the tools he had to hand – a hospital bed, an iPhone and the use of one hand.
Tois to Svend and everyone in East Neuk for a fabulous festival this year – and please do read and share his beautiful piece on how music can make such an unexpected difference in people’s lives.
You might also want to download K568 – just in case…
Monday 4 September 2017 was a sunny, homey kind of a day; I did a little work, baked teacakes, gardened, watched some telly. Around 4.30, my left arm suddenly fell heavy and stiff. I could not lift my left foot from the ground. I knew enough to suspect that I was suffering a stroke. Weirdly, the symptoms abated enough for Roy, my husband, to drive me to A&E and for me to walk in under my own steam. A couple of hours later, things looked not so bad – perhaps it was just a scare. We were joking and persuading the medics not to keep me in overnight when the really serious stroke struck. “It’s happening now” I slurred, and saw the junior doctor’s face switch from jolly banter to urgent concern. Then he ran for support.
‘Stroke’ is such a tender word. The experience is oddly painless – things just suddenly stop working. I’ve never actually known anyone who suffered a stroke, never thought about them, and knowing so little made things all the scarier. Should I be saying goodbye to Roy as best I could? If I survived, what might I lose? Mobility, speech, or other bodily and brain functions? There was no telling how bad it might get.
Read the complete blog
East Neuk is a coastal area of Fife, Scotland and the Festival runs from 27 June – 1 July