19th September 2018
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Schools music festival under threat from Creative Scotland cuts

The future of the Shetland Schools Music Festival is in jeopardy from changes to the funding arrangements, it emerged today.

This year’s festival will go ahead in March but the working group which organises the event is seeking donations and sponsorship for 2013 after the Youth Music Iniative, part of the culture body Creative Scotland, opted to fund only the learning workshops and not the performances.

SIC training and development manager Sarah Henry said: “The working group are increasingly having to rely on the goodwill of many of those involved to keep the festival running costs to an absolute minimum. There are ongoing fund-raising attempts in order to raise money to support and deliver the festival.

“The working group feels that it is vitally important the Shetland Schools Music Festival continues both due to its long history within Shetland and as an important focus within Curriculum for Excellence.

“The festival is very important for all involved in order to make the many hours of commitment and practising in isolation worthwhile and also to celebrate local music making, especially that involving our young people, in all its forms. It is also a terrific opportunity for parents and the general public to witness what is being achieved musically within schools on a day-to-day basis.”

This year’s festival will take place in the week beginning 19th March, offering parents and the public the chance to see first-hand the musical talent coming through the school system.

The performance-related element of the festival will be open to primary school children, in what is promised to be an exciting opportunity for young musicians to build their confidence and demonstrate their learning on a different platform.

As well as the individual performances, there will be class groups coming together to perform the musical pieces they have been working on throughout the year. Secondary and upper primary groups will be offered an accompanying workshop programme ensuring that music can be accessed more widely in schools.

The Junior and Senior Young Musicians of the Year competitions, an integral element of the festival, will be held in the Lerwick Town Hall on the evening of Wednesday 21st March. A guest judge, yet to be announced, will have the challenging task of selecting the winners for both sections of this competition.  

There will also be a large gala concert on Thursday 22nd March.

An important element of the festival is musical adjudication, where an experienced individual provides all the participating young musicians with an overview and feedback to support their musical development.

Recently-retired music instructor Neil Morris has been named as the adjudicator for this year’s festival. He has many years experience as a teacher, adjudicator and professional musician and is said to be looking forward to the challenge.

Also this year representatives from the National Youth Choir of Scotland will be in Shetland to offer a series of choir-orientated singing workshops involving a wide range of pupils.  

Ms Henry added: “It is hoped that as many pupils as possible will make a contribution to this exciting opportunity – no experience necessary. The final results of the workshops will form an integral part of the closing gala concert. This, in itself, should make the concert a ‘not-to-be- missed’ event.”

To support the festival the working group is looking for donations and perhaps sponsorship to ensure the event can survive and be delivered as normal. If anyone has been involved or touched by the festival in the past, would like to see it continue and feel they could offer some level of financial support toward achieving this aim, they are asked to contact Ms Henry at sarah.henry@shetland.gov.uk or call (01595) 744058.

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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