Outstanding musical performance at Strachur.
Strachur Memorial Hall was the place to be on the evening of Thursday, 3rd April.
A capacity audience was given a tremendous musical feast of traditional music featuring the S6 students from the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music which is based in Plockton High School. As part of their course the students organise a tour of various locations around Scotland, this tour beginning in Glenfinnan, followed by two performances in Glasgow and culminating in Strachur Memorial Hall.
The depth and range of the performances was eye-opening and the thirteen students delivered a well-balanced programme over the evening. They combined in various groups throughout their performance and included such instruments as great highland bagpipe, small pipes, high and low whistles and flute, fiddles, accordions, guitars, mandolin, piano, clarsach and percussion. There was also some fine singing in both Gaelic and English. The students handled their own introductions, announcing their songs and tunes and at the same time entertaining the audience with their witty banter which included the tale of the thieving gull which stole their newly-acquired cooked chicken! It was obvious that here was a group of young people who had worked together and bonded into a close unit; they enjoyed each other’s company and were so obviously comfortable in their playing together.
The Plockton Thirteen were augmented by some local young musicians; the Awards-For-All (Scotland) Junior section of Lochgoilhead Fiddle Workshop showed off their new-learned skills and proved to be a credit to their teacher, Siobhan Anderson. Siobhan is the regular tutor for the Workshop and teaches weekly at Strachur. The young beginners have been playing only since January but showed great composure and also that they were having a lot of fun! The Improvers group have had more experience but were new to each other as a group and also new to the learning-by-ear teaching employed by the workshop but gave a great performance of ‘Och is Duine Truagh mi’ including the harmony. Well done to both classes!
Also performing was a young Strachur piper, a member of DGS pipe band, as well as a group of students from Dunoon Grammar School who are tutored by Jack Smedley, playing fiddles and keyboard; their playing was of a very high standard. They were invited on stage to join the Plockton students for the rousing finale and encore.
Mention must be made of the sterling work done behind the scenes by the committee and members of Lochgoilhead Fiddle Workshop, based in Strachur. They were responsible for organising much of the evening, providing the interval refreshments and raffle prizes and generally seeing that the night went with the swing it did! Along with tutor Siobhan Anderson, they are making it possible not only for the young people in the area but for interested folk of any age and ability to become involved in learning traditional fiddle playing, taught by ear in the traditional way.
Report submitted by John Kelly