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Guest blog: Hurricanes and harpists

By Gwenllian Llyr

Gwenllian Llyr

After months of planning, weeks of preparing and a fair few days of panicking… my flight to JFK was cancelled. I couldn’t believe it!

Ok, so I had been warned about the hurricane, but the whole thing just felt so surreal.

We don’t really get weather like that in Wales! Maybe a heatwave that we long for then complain about, or a lot of snow that makes us shut schools for days at a time, but a hurricane sounds so serious and devastating.

The previous day had been a busy one. In the morning I filmed for Wales Tonight about my journey to Juilliard which was a lot of fun!

Mostly it was great to be back at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and really be able to appreciate the changes that have been made to the college.

It was great to be back at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and really be able to appreciate the changes that have been made to the college

We filmed in the wonderful new Dora Stoutzker Hall, which was a fantastic experience.

Just recalling some of my memories from college was making me nostalgic for being a student; you can completely focus 100% on developing and improving as a musician, and I’m incredibly lucky that I have two more years to try and reach the highest standard I possibly can.

Maybe then, one day, I can be asked back to wonderful venues like the Dora Stoutzker Hall and perform as a professional musician.

After (unsuccessfully) trying to finish my packing that Friday afternoon, I had a wonderful evening with friends, family and former students at my farewell party. It’s great that everyone is so willing to support me in my decision to study abroad. It was really a bittersweet moment – saying goodbye to friends, family and former students, but looking forward to this exciting new chapter in my life.

The next morning as I checked my emails (again avoiding the unprepared suitcases in the corridor), I was shocked to discover that all of NY’s airports had been closed.

After I recovered from the initial disappointment that I would not be travelling to New York as early as I had planned, I have to admit that I was pretty relieved.

I watched CNN  for many more hours than I normally might have during the weekend, and I can’t imagine being there in NYC with Irene threatening to wreak havoc on the city.

Looking back at that morning I was unusually calm: after waking my sisters (who seemed to be angrier with the 9am wake-up call than anything else), I called the airline to confirm the situation and re-booked my ticket. I then finished my toast, and enjoyed a relaxing weekend with my family with a pool, sauna and steam room session, a fantastic lamb roast, and a somewhat chilly excursion with the Gower Coast Adventures.

Last night I received my amended orientation schedule, and I’m very excited for the Circle Line Cruise, Picnics, International Students’ Dessert Reception, Hypnotist Session and all the other activities Juilliard have organised. It will make the placement exams so much easier to bear!

So for now I say ‘Hwyl fawr Gyrmu fach,’ and I’m off to the airport to begin my journey to Juilliard.

  • To find out more about Gwenllian’s upcoming concerts or to contact her directly, please visit: www.gwenllianllyr.co.uk

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