Guitar Weekend in the Peak District May 2010

Guitar Weekend in the Peak District May 2010
For several years, myself and Cambridge-based guitarist Lorraine Eastwood performed duo concerts together and during that time we talked often of organising a guitar ensemble weekend in Derbyshire for a small group of guitarists. Lorraine has since moved to live in France and due to the distance between us, we ceased playing as a duo. However, we did still want to begin the 'Peak District Project' and it finally came to fruition on the weekend of the 7th-9th May 2010.

It was held at Willersley Castle Hotel, a 200 year old Grade II listed building, commissioned by the great industrialist Sir Richard Arkwright. Taking part were nine students ranging in standard from Intermediate to Advanced. We worked on two 'orchestral' pieces: Lorraine taking the group for Bernard Piris' lovely 'La Vagabond' and myself conducting the group in my arrangement for guitar ensemble of Karl Jenkins' 'Palladio'.
The three days consisted of rehearsals on each of the large group pieces and a 'master class' for some of the students who performed in trios, duos and one soloist. On the Saturday evening Lorraine and I were to give a concert of solos and duets, but due to a rather frenzied attempt to empty my dishwasher on the Friday morning which resulted in a knife blade going under one of my right-hand fingernails, I decided to forego my solos and just concentrate on getting through the duets without too much bloodshed!

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On the Sunday afternoon, as a finale to the weekend, we performed a concert in the music room of the hotel. The weather was particularly kind throughout the entire three days and we were able to take advantage of the beautiful surrounding grounds (and swimming pool).

Thanks to Lesley Alexander for making this event happen and run smoothly - it definitely would not have taken place without her organisation skills. Also, thanks to everyone for taking part and well done!

updated: 5 years ago