Special Gala Performance To Celebrate Young Musicians

A musical gala showcase is to take place in Aviemore in November to commemorate 20 years of Regional Music Groups in the Highlands and past pupils of these Groups are being invited to get in touch so they too can join in the celebrations.

Over the last two decades, thousands of young musicians have trained and performed with the local authority’s Regional musical groups so the gala performance, which will be held on Saturday 15 November in the McDonald Aviemore Highland Resort, will provide a fitting tribute to the hard work of past tutors, pupils and celebrate new emerging talent. 

20 years ago saw the formation of the Highland Regional Youth Orchestra and whilst this group was the mainstay of provision until recently, there are now six Regional Instrumental Groups run by The Highland Council as an extension to the work of the Instrumental Tuition Service.  The groups, which are all thriving are: Highland Regional Youth Orchestra; Highland Schools Wind Band; Highland Youth Strings Orchestra; Highland Youth Big Band and ‘Snas ceilidh band. Session 2008/09 will see the formation of a sixth group, the Highland Youth Pipe Band, who will make their debut performance at the Aviemore event along with performances from all the other Groups. 

In total around 240 young musicians are currently involved.  Annual auditions for places in the groups are held and members are drawn from all areas of the Highlands.   Players are all of above Grade 4/5 AB/Trinity standard.  Due to the logistics of gathering musicians together, special intensive rehearsal weekend take place throughout the year and all the groups also take part in public performances.

Over the years the success of the groups has extended beyond the Highlands.  This has included foreign tours and performances in many parts of the UK. Such is the reputation of these groups that regular invitations are received for performances and in session 2008/09 Highland Schools Wind Band will perform in Perth and Highland Youth Big Band will be showcased at a national music education Conference in Stirling and will also be performing at a prestigious Highland Hospice event.  One of the most memorable recent events was the 2007 collaboration with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Regional Youth Orchestra which culminated in a world premiere of a new work by the Edinburgh based composer John McLeod.

Norman Bolton, The Highland Council’s Music Development Officer said:  “We are looking for past members of all our musical groups to get in touch with us so they can be our guests for this special celebration. In the Highlands we are proud of nurturing young talent and providing musicians from all over the area opportunities to develop their skills and gain the confidence to perform in front of live audiences.  Many members from our groups continue to gain membership of national instrumental ensembles and I know that over the years past many members have gone on to make careers out of music.  It would be fantastic to see former members and to allow them to see how the groups have developed and diversified over the past 20 years.” 

“It is a testament to the dedication and loyalty of the musicians, their parents and the staff involved with the Regional Music Groups that we can undertake such an ambitious event.  Providing a quality musical experience for our young people is at the heart of the Instrumental Tuition Scheme and the Regional Music Groups provide an extra incentive and focus for the efforts and commitment of many of our young musicians.”

Rehearsals for the ambitious gala programme will be underway as soon as the new school term begins. Tickets will shortly go on sale shortly and can be booked by contacting Angeline Walker on 01349 868271.  Past members wishing to attend as guests should contact Norman Bolton on 01349 863441 or by email to norman.bolton@highland.gov.uk.


29 Jul 2008