Clare Harrison’s Life In Music – Part Two

Here is the second part of Clare Harrison’s story

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve been performing at concerts since I was a teenager and when covid dried up all my performance opportunities, and public gatherings were not permitted, I had to think how I could bring music to people in a covid-safe way that was within the rules at that time. It started by giving 10-minute concerts for the neighbours outside my house on a Thursday night before the clap for key workers.

These little performances saved me at what was an extremely difficult time, emotionally and musically. My studio had closed, all concert work dried up overnight, and music lessons all moved online – but it just wasn’t the same. I missed everyone so much. My husband was a key worker, working extremely long hours and so we didn’t see much of each other; it was a very lonely time.

The Thursday night sing was the highlight of my week and a lot of my neighbours said the same at the time. As the rules relaxed a little, we held a community singalong for VE day. What a brilliant night! My husband has a couple of old military vehicles and so he pulled his 1940s Austin Champ out of the garage and I used it as a stage.

I’ll not forget that night as long as I live.

Formal, indoor concerts were still not permitted but things were gradually opening up. The care sector had been particularly badly affected at that time and, as I had previously performed in residential settings, I wondered if there might be some interest in my music in care settings again, but this time outside and socially distanced.

My ‘mini concerts’ were born. A 40-minute programme of selected music from a variety of musical genres including classical, opera, sacred songs, spirituals, musical theatre, jazz, folk, Welsh songs and wartime favourites; something for everyone. They were extremely popular and the number has gradually risen to 85 bookings in 2022 and a similar number so far for this year.

At the same time I still undertake more formal concert work and weddings, and am sometimes invited to perform as part of special projects such as in Llangollen 2017 (Calling all Dawns, Christopher Tin) and Llangollen 2023 (The White Flower, Into the Light). These projects feed back into my love of choral music which is really how it all started for me.

Sometimes I get asked which part of my job I love the most, teaching or performing. That’s a difficult one to answer. I love teaching, there’s something so special about inspiring someone else, leading them to a greater knowledge and understanding, getting them to try new repertoire or just taking the fear away.

And I love performing too. There is something so exhilarating about putting yourself ‘out there’… it’s scary but, in a way, that’s part of the thrill. I’m inherently a rather shy person but performing gives me another persona, I can be anyone when I’m singing.  I suppose the two things really do go hand in hand. I understand the amount of preparation that a goes into a performance because I do it myself. I understand performance anxiety because I get it myself. How could I possibly explain those feelings to a pupil with an exam or important performance coming up, unless I experience it myself? Sometimes several times a week.

Of course we all need some down time, and my husband and I are lucky enough to own our own narrowboat. I spent two weeks on one during a family holiday when I was about eight, then as an adult, started hiring one each summer for about 25 years… I got the bug!

My husband and I had one built and we launched about 18 months ago. As well as weekends and holidays, I also use it as a base for concerts when I’m singing in the North Wales, Shropshire and Cheshire areas of the UK. My boat neighbours are extremely tolerant as I warm up and practise on concert days. If you’ve ever been in the vicinity of Chirk Tunnel, it’s probably me you can hear, singing as I cruise through.  Aside from work, there is something about spending time on the water that is so restorative and relaxing.  I’m a country girl at heart and being so close to nature is wonderful! The best bit of the day is early morning, fresh cup of coffee in hand, sitting on the deck watching the mist on the water… it is truly stunning.

I won’t mention the massive thunderstorm we cruised through on the way back from the Llangollen International Eisteddfod this year…



You can follow Clare on Facebook and Instagram @clareharrisonmusic

07967  558102


Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says " has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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