Last week I talked about the wonderful exhibitions that Laura Thomas has curated as part of the Warp & Weft series of exhibitions and symposium that she has put on in Camarthenshire – at the Oriel Myrrdin Gallery in Camarthen, and also at the National Wool Museum in Drefach-Felindre, just a few miles away. Well, today I am able to show you a few photos, (thanks Laura) of the exhibition at the Oriel Myrrdin Gallery. These are gallery shots rather than individual pieces, because if I show you one person’s work, I need to show them all!! And we just don’t have room for all of them….
There is a catalogue accompanying the exhibition, called warp+weft, which can be bought from the gallery, Oriel Myrddin, and the ISBN is 978-0-9551434-2-7, costing £12.50. Other weavers included in the exhibition are Ismini Samanidou, Ann Sutton, Laura Thomas, and Lucy McMullen, and my apologies for not having a group photo of their work.
On the subject of re-unions, I went to my first re-union last night. How on earth have I managed to avoid re-unions so far?! Anyway, this one was for the musicians who went on the first tour that my husband Graham and I organised for the Moorlands Music Centre, Staffordshire, in 1995. They were aged between 12 and 18 then, and we took them to Valkenburg, a town in Holland on the borders of Belgium and Germany. I remember a concert in Maastricht, where a middle-aged man came up to us with tears in his eyes after we finished playing (was it sooo bad??!) and pumped our hands saying “Thank you for the war”. That took us completely by surprise! Other memories were of our 6-year old son taking himself off for breakfast down to the hotel (we had to stay in an annexe) and our panic when we realised he had disappeared, and his complete ease as he sat in an unfamiliar place, having his breakfast surrounded by all these teenagers who loved him!!
Last night was great fun – not only to see how everyone had physically changed (or not!) – but also to hear from them what their memories were, and how big a part the tour, and the music centre, played in how they grew up. It was amazing to hear how many of them have now gone in to teaching, and fascinating to see how much the music and the playing they did with us enhanced their life experience and helped them with confidence, self-belief and consequent academic and personal achievements. I’ve always had a special bond with my oboe students, and it’s incredible how that special relationship has had a lasting effect.
Graham and I couldn’t help but feel proud of the part, however small, that we have played in these young people’s lives.
A final thought – in these straitened financial times, it brought home to me just how much more music is than learning and playing an instrument, and the long-term positive effects it has on everyone who takes it to even an intermediate level. I know that without the discipline imposed by learning an instrument and taking part in music groups of all kinds, I wouldn’t be the person I am, and wouldn’t achieve the things I am achieving in my life. I only hope that politicians and decision makers are/were musicians and appreciate the hidden benefits that music (and arts and sports in general) can bring to people’s long-term lives and not cut them because they are easy ways to save money.