Cold night, warm music

The Scottish Opera came to Gairloch last evening. The locals in this remote outpost of the Highlands turned out in force in spite of the continuing cold, (is this winter ever going to end? was the cry), and were well rewarded for so doing. A community centre full literally to overflowing applauded each and every operatic offering. I'm not going to pick out anything or any one of Miranda Sinani, Adrian Ward, Louise Collett, Robert Tucker for special mention. I'm not expert enough to be able to differentiate between ninety nine out of a hundred and a hundred out of a hundred. However Music Director Ruth Wilkinson was absolutely brilliant as accompanying pianist. So good in fact that you were not, most of the time, too aware of the excellence of her work.

Afterwards we invited a couple of friends for a glass of wine in our warm kitchen. Apart from the music, one of the topics turned to how many of the audience were known by us and to each other. As I said, the evening's entertainment had taken place in a community hall. It occurred to me once again that this really is a community, linked by life and living 80 miles from the closest supermarket within a semi-ampitheatre of wonderful old hills and flanked by the sea and the distant islands.

Gabriel, in my new novel, Going with Gabriel, is a street musician. At one point he says, quite simply, that music is the meaning. We all know what he meant.

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