Sirocco Winds in Ullapool -Variations

All five of us had a fantastic time and for me personally, it was fantastic to be back playing with Sirocco Winds after being away for 2 years.

The chamber music course, Variations, which is held every year is fantastic. It was great to meet so many enthusiastic musicians all working in different musical groupings. Our quintet was made to feel very welcome and comfortable throughout the week. We would like to say a huge thanks to all organisers and tutors, especially to Maxi Martín (clarinet) and Juliette Bausor (flute), who work with us extensively during the week.

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Trio in Aberdeen

After a busy day on Monday it was lovely to see a lighter schedule on Tuesday with only a public recital at the very sociable time of 2 o’clock at Cults Parish Church. We had a relaxed morning with breakfast in the dome and then Amanda took us across for a rehearsal in the venue. There we were met by David who shepherded us into a community hall complete with wooden fort at the back, which we initially thought was where we were performing, until he took us down a small corridor and into the church itself.  We were playing under a wooden arch in front of a beautiful stain glass window and after getting properly centred thanks to Amanda’s OCD we were all set!

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AIYF Tour Day One: "Are you the Cat's Pyjamas?"

We woke up bright and early for our first morning in Aberdeen, excited to begin our first day of performances as part of the Aberdeen International Youth Festival. First stop was to head down for breakfast in the dome and as per usual as soon as we glimpsed the buffet our eyes became too big for our stomachs and we filled our plates high. Thomas managed to clear his plate with ease (as has become expected of him!) whilst we were also battling with the prospect of how to eat our yoghurts with the microscopic spoons that were the only things available. Anyway, trivial breakfast matters over and we headed back to warm up in our rooms before packing ourselves into Amanda's car. If you missed the last blog, Amanda is basically our new best friend and organiser-supremo!

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Trio Trip to Aberdeen

We were very excited to arrive in Aberdeen for our first Sirocco Winds Trio tour and felt like VIPs as we were ferried around by the wonderful Amanda (@AMacLeod3) for dinner and to our accommodation. As none of us had been to Old Aberdeen before we decided to go off in search of a bit of culture stumbling across a quaint local pub with possibly the largest selection of Scottish whiskeys we had ever seen crammed behind the bar. Despite the fantastic selection one member of our group (not mentioning any names...) boldly walked up to the bar and asked for a bottle of fluorescent blue 'WKD' to which the bar man responded quite seriously (and quite rightly!) 'I have just lost all respect for you'. 

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French Waitresses in the Scottish Borders

It’s always nice to travel somewhere new when a concert opportunity arises and luckily through Live Music Now Scotland this is quite a common occurrence. We all packed into our hired sporty Fiat 500 and set off towards the borders with ‘car tunes’ playing away. We were treated to highlights including Will Smith’s rapping and some old school NSYNC (“is that the one with Justin Timberlake?”). The journey ran quite smoothly until we hit a spot of bother when we lost all traces of phone signal and GPS deep in the Scottish Borders. We missed a crucial turning but our instincts told us we had gone wrong and actually we ended up being quite early anyway.

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