I remember well one of the last things Keane said to me before I made my premature departure from Barga in early October 2008. He said, “well that’s this chapter over but I am sure there is a reason for this and I am also sure the story won’t finish here”
Keane was of course right on both counts.
He was right about there being a reason for my early departure. It was quite simple; my Dad needed me home. We had heard that he had contracted cancer but we didn’t know how severe it was. He wanted me there for his meeting with the consultant when his fate would be handed to him. It turned out that it was in fact a highly malignant cancer. He hung on for almost exactly 1 year from the time of that diagnosis. It was a harrowing and traumatic time for him and of course for myself for that matter, and I am thankful he is now spared any more suffering.
Keane was also correct when he said that it wasn’t the end of the story and here I am again writing for barganews. It’s been a while since my last article (all of Hamish’s articles can be read here) and much has happened over here in Scotland in the interim.
I have an exciting new venture in Barga; the inauguration of a Summer School of Traditional Scottish Music, Song and Dance to be held in the old town from the 20th – 26th June this year.
I instinctively knew that Barga was the ideal place to host such a school and I passionately believed that somehow I had to make it work. So with no funding in place but much enthusiasm and a mighty big help from Sonia Ercolini I marched forth with what many would regard as a crazy idea.
As I marched forth with my idea, Sonia marched forth into the offices of The Commune and presented the plan.
No one really knew much about the new administration and how sympathetic they would be to such ideas but to their credit, they liked the idea and embraced it to the extent that they granted my request to host the school in the Conservatorio. This provided not only an ideal home for the school, but dormitory style accommodation for about 25 – 30 students was on offer. I am indebted to The Administration and to Sonia.
The theatre was also offered for another Grand Concert and this concert will provide an ideal culmination of everything that the school will have offered.
The cast will be more extensive and varied than the first concert and represent more fully my thinking about my culture.
Classes in Piping, Fiddle, Cello, Scots and Gaelic Song, Step Dance and Quadrilles and Flute are all on offer. World famous tradition bearers will teach these courses, from the perspective of an aural tradition.
As well as formal classes, all the students and tutors will have the opportunity to sit and eat together on a daily basis and this for me is as an important part of the school as any.
There will be much important collaboration, understanding, talk, music, song and enjoyment during these meals. We will be taking the best of Italian Culture in its approach to eating and sharing and mixing this with authentic Scots and Gaelic culture through quite simply – community.
We will learn at the table.
What better place to live and experience the best of Italian and Scots cultures.
This is Barga.
Hamish Moore. 21st April 2010.
painter and photographer - started barganews.com, the first on line news site in Tuscany, Italy back in 1996