This month sees the culmination and performances of a project I’ve been dreaming about for the past ten years! Back in about 2014 I came across two beautiful handwritten books of songs in the National Trust for Scotland’s Broughton House, Kirkcudbright. The books were made by local man William Macmath and are full of songs that he’d learnt from his family and local people. He was a main contributor to Francis Child’s collection of Child Ballads which many of you may have heard of. Anyway, to cut a long story short, a fantastic group of traditional musicians along with a reader to tell the Macmath story and my choir singing choruses and backings, are performing Macmath:The Silent Page at the end of this month as part of the Dumfries and Galoway Arts festival. This week we had a three day intensive rehearsal with all the musicians finishing on Thursday in Berkeley Studios in Glasgow where we could try out the whole set amplified. It’s sounding fantastic! Do try and get along if you can – many of these songs have not been sung for 100 years or more and nearly all are local to Dumfries and Galloway.
Here’s the team of musicians at rehearsal this week. From the left: Claire Mann, Jamie McClennan, Emily Smith, Robyn Stapleton, Aaron Jones and Wendy Stewart