I am excited to announce that I will be in attendance for the Lute Society of America's biennial Lute Festival! I have already purchased my airfare, I've made arrangements to stay with one of my cousins that lives in the area, and I will officially register for the festival in just a few weeks. This year's lute faculty consist of Robert Barto, Xavier Díaz-Latorre, Jakob Lindberg, Ronn McFarlane, Christopher Morrongiello, Nigel North, Paul O'Dette, and Charlie Weaver. There will also be two voice teachers, Ellen Hargis and Dame Emma Kirkby.
This will be my first time participating in an early music festival, and I can't wait to be there! Since I began studying the lute, I have only had access to a lute teacher on a handful of occasions. My first lute lesson ever was in November of 2014 with Hopkinson Smith (nothing like starting at the top, amirite?). Since then, I have studied with Michael Craddock when he is in town. But that works out to just one or two lute lessons a year. At this year's edition of the LSA Lute Fest, I will be immersed in the lute and early music culture. I will have opportunities to study with some of the finest early music specialists in the world, as well as the chance to meet other lutenists and early music enthusiasts from all over the US (and maybe even a few from outside the US!). I believe there will be daily concerts as well. Since I have been very active with the lute since my first instrument arrived, it seems crazy to note that there have been only two lute concerts in the DFW area since 2004 of which I am aware. Both of those concerts were given by Hopkinson Smith, and I was in the audience both times.
Aside from all of the festival activities, I will also get to meet my cousin's husband and son! I haven't seen her since before she got married, so it will be nice to have some time to catch up.
In order to ensure the safety of my instrument on the trip, I had to buy two seats. This way, the lute has its own seat. Otherwise, it would have been traveling in an overhead compartment (assuming there was enough room at boarding time) or stuck underneath the plane (i.e. the pit of despair). Having seen far too many instruments broken by airlines over the past several years, I decided that it was worth doubling my travel costs in order to know that the lute would be in safe (read: my) hands for the entire journey.
There are still a few things that need to be done in order to be ready for the festival. I still have to pay the festival tuition ($550) and I'll need to get a better case for my lute (~$500). If you would like to help me get to the festival, I will be accepting donations of any denomination through PayPal. I am hoping to schedule some lute and guitar recitals at several DFW venues in the lead up to the festival. Keep an eye out for updates on this blog and at my facebook page!