Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Contribute creatively

The community music project Hear the Drum will start in October with three days of participative storyline development at Drum Castle,Garden and Estate. On the 6th, 7th and 13th of October I will spent time in the castle, tower and woodlands of Drum to write the storylines for three opera-inspired musical compositions. Visitors will be invited to contribute to this process creatively through drawing and writing, thereby pointing at aspects of the story they want to illuminate and filling in conversations, thoughts and feelings. I will then use this material to compose the music for three hour-long voice workshops that will be held in the Drawing Room of Drum Castle on the 1st of December.

On Saturday 6 October you can find me in the Drawing Room of Drum Castle, conjuring up a scene of music making. I’ll be imagining a situation in which residents of Drum Castle are playing piano and singing together. The library at Drum Castle contains volumes of Scottish minstrelsy and songs by Burns. Depending on the conversations and other creative contributions of visitors this storyline may well explore the sociality of music making or how already in the 19th century the singing of Scottish songs was, in part, an expression of being Scottish.

On Sunday 7 October I’ll take residence in the Great Hall of the Tower of Drum. Here, I will imagine what the actual conversation between King Robert the Bruce and William de Irwyn might have been like when the former handed over the rights of Drum to the latter, what may have gone through William de Irwyn’s mind when he approached Drum, and what a ceremonial arrival at Drum might have sounded like. 

On Saturday 13 October I’ll hold up near the entrance of the Old Woods of Drum, inviting people to help me develop a storyline based on a line by Mary Irvine: ‘I lang wish my brother to be at more pains to propagate trees about Drum as I think they might be profitable as well as pretty.’ Mary Irvine was the sister of the 17th laird. She ran the estate for periods during the mid-1700s while her brother pursued the Jacobite cause and fought at Culloden. One possible way to develop this storyline is by imagining Mary’s thoughts and reflections about the woods. This flow of thoughts and reflections can at times be interspersed as Mary gets distracted by thoughts of her brother and the Jacobite cause. Here, visitors may help to fill in the thoughts, reflections and feelings that occupy Mary’s mind.

On each of the three above-mentioned days I’ll be resident in the locations from 11 am to 3 pm. For more information about the project, please contact The National Trust of Scotland's senior assistant Laura Paterson at 0844 493 2161 or ljpaterson@nts.org.uk or myself, community musician Petra Vergunst, at petravergunst@hotmail.com

Copyright text and image Petra Vergunst

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