In September 0f 2014 my husband, Eric and I were invited to give a talk in Yorkshire, England the following year, to the Women’s Institute. Having been visiting the Yorkshire Dales since the early 1980’s we had come to know and love Wensleydale and to have met some of the people involved with the “WI” in the tiny and delightfully beautiful village of Gayle.
For those of you who do not know of the Yorkshire Dales, it is a large area situated within a National Park which is comprised of 680 sq. miles. The park was created in 1954 to preserve its great beauty and agricultural way of life in perpetuity. Within the Park there are many villages and the rural areas are vast and are comprised of gorgeous, wild scenery, sheep, farmers with their very important sheep dogs to help them in their work, picturesque stone barns, dry stone walls criss crossing the landscape, many of which are hundreds of years old. Those of you who are familiar with James Herriot’s books, “All Creatures Great And Small” will relate to the unique rural area.
We were invited to talk on whatever subject we desired, so of course Glenn Gould immediately sprung to mind and the subject was embraced, although the name of the famous pianist was completely unfamiliar to our hosts!
During the spring of that year, we prepared our talk and kept in touch with our WI contact, sending along a photo of Glenn for publicity purposes. The audience arrived at dusk, and we began our presentation which went very well. As I was speaking I remember looking out of the window onto a scene of green hills rising above us dotted with sheep surrounded above by a muddy purple sky….In the corner of the room, under the window sat an empty chair and in my mind’s eye I visualized Glenn sitting there very happily observing with great glee the entire affair. I shall always remember somehow knowing that he would have been delighted with all of this….this audience of very ‘real’ down-to-earth people gathered in this tiny village hall tucked away in a pastoral setting of such tranquility and beauty, being talked about, and hearing samples of his music playing. I had and still have the feeling that this little ‘concert’ would have perhaps meant more to him than Carnegie Hall!
Upon concluding the talk, the President said that we had presented something “very special, which exceeded our expectations”…and with tears in her eyes she thanked us very much. The following morning one of the ladies who attended the presentation the night before was walking her go and stopped us to say that she was so excited and interested in Glenn, that she was on her computer until 2:30 a.m. learning more about him!
It was certainly a night to remember, and it felt like the spirit of Glenn Gould resided in a tiny lecture hall tucked away in the North of England!
I'd love to on this topic.
Share this Post