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Black Isle Messiah – more singers, instrumentalists and an audience wanted (02/11/09)
The Black Isle Messiah is a weekend classical music event taking place in Fortrose on 12 and 13 December 2009. Funded by The Highland Council’s Culture Programme, Black Isle Ward Discretionary Fund and LEADER, this unusual weekend will bring together amateur classical musicians and singers from all over the Highlands and beyond for a fun, Feis-style workshop weekend, culminating in a performance of the Messiah on the night of Sunday 13th December.
The workshops and performance will be led by a team of international-standard professional singers and players, many of whom, like Harry Nicoll and Janis Kelly, have local roots.
Volunteer Verity Walker, the event manager, said: “We don’t think this approach has been tried with classical music in this part of the Highlands before, so we are really excited and grateful to have secured our funding. The Black Isle Messiah is a unique opportunity for anyone who has ever wanted to sing or play the Messiah to do it. Standard ‘scratch’ Messiahs, where you just come along and sing, rely on really good sight-reading and a knowledge of the piece. With this one, even if your sight-reading is a bit rusty and you haven’t sung or played for years, there’s advice in advance to help you, and really expert tuition over the weekend. There’s nothing more uplifting than performing one of the world’s greatest choral works among like-minded people so why not make this a Christmas gift to remember, and book to take part or some along and watch? More experienced musicians may also wish to participate in optional masterclasses with a small additional charge which take place on the Friday and Saturday evenings.”
Although publicity has only been by word of mouth so far, places are already filling up, with support from members of Dingwall and Inverness Choral Societies and the Black Isle Singers and several local orchestras. The instrumental line-up comprises: oboes, bassoons, trumpets, and timpani, plus a string section of violins, violas, cellos and double basses. The weekend fee of just £35 (£30 for concessions) includes light lunches on both the Saturday and Sunday.
This is intended to be the first of many winter classical music workshop events held in Fortrose, and the aim of this year’s event is to gather together a pool of talented local people who will continue to perform at future workshop events.
“We have a great venue for classical music in our Leisure Centre Hall,” points out Black Isle Leisure Centre Manager Ian Goode. “It’s often overlooked, but the acoustics are excellent. We hope experienced and semi-professional singers and performers will come along, as well as our enthusiastic amateurs, as we’re keen to use as many local singers and musicians as possible as workshop leaders in the future. This is a good opportunity for them to get a feel for the style of the event, then perhaps get more involved next time.”
Anyone with internet access can find out more and print off booking forms at www.blackislemessiah.co.uk – or call the Black Isle Leisure Centre on 01381 621252 for more information or to book participation or tickets.