Long days; loading and unloading the coach several times a day; gigs in cramped venues; setting up and dismantling a drum kit five or six times a day; outdoor performances in cold and/or windy conditions perhaps with rain threatening; meals at funny times; and performing without the chance to test the acoustic are all in a day’s work for the Nevis Ensemble. 

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Saturday 24 August, as those of you who followed our Hebridean tour will know, was the day we were originally scheduled to travel to St Kilda and perform to the locals (mostly the hardy Soay sheep – one of the oldest sheep breeds in the world!) However, in the days preceding it became apparent that it was going to have to be Sunday 25 instead because of the high winds, so we suddenly we had a day to ourselves!

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Hebrides Tour – Day 10 – St Kilda

Visiting St Kilda was probably the most memorable part of the Hebrides Tour for many of the Nevis players. Here, I’m going to attempt to share the range of strong emotions we experienced during the trip, and to explain why it was so special for us to play on Hirta, the main island of the St Kilda archipelago.

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Our last full day of rehearsals before we began the Nevis Hebrides Tour was packed with unique experiences to accompany our tour preparations! Starting off after breakfast at 7:30am, we had the option of a yoga session or a hillwalk around Garelochhead. Following this we headed straight into sectionals With Katherine Wren, myself joining the strings for a further look at Grace Williams’ luscious ‘Sea Sketches’.

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Our second day of rehearsals dawned a little damp but not enough to discourage a little pre-tour exercise, a jog along the beautiful Gare Loch which meant I missed the raucous cacophony that was the usually Nevis wake-up call, given by Maxje and Guro (two musicians go round the rooms and perform a short ditty to get everyone out of their bed each morning). There was some yoga to help us stretch and learned how to breathe to destress or release tension. It’s important for musicians to maintain physical health and well being at all times!

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