This week the Scottish Chamber Orchestra has been on tour to Duns, Castle Douglas and Galashiels with composer/conductor Howard Moody and soprano Lorna Anderson. Inspired by and celebrating the National Trust for Scotland's Nature Reserve at St Abb's Head and its local communities, Howard's new piece, Border Lines, was premiered and Thursday's audience in Duns enjoyed the presence of the Eyemouth Fishermen's Choir, who performed with the Orchestra. Here, choir member Ranald Wylie talks about his experience working with Howard and the SCO.
From our first encounter with Howard and his music last year, at St Abbs, along with the local Primary School children, until our participation in the SCO's annual Borders tour, only one word can describe the experience: 'incredible'.
We have been so impressed by the way he has obviously been captivated by the sea, rocks, community, culture and history of these parts and used all this as the basis for his dramatic piece Border Lines.
We are all immensely privileged to have had so distinguished a composer/conductor/musicians work with us, with such patience, good humour and encouragement, and to perform with the splendid SCO. That Howard believed in us and our 'singing from the heart' has enabled us to move out far beyond our musical comfort zone.
I write this before we have performed in the actual concert at Duns. But simply on the basis of the past few months and the recording session yesterday at the Queen's Hall I can only say we have had the time of our lives.
My favourite piece is the Song of the Fishermen, followed by the orchestral part when the violins echo the shrill screech of the howling wind, with wailing connotations - it takes me back to my school days, playing second fiddle in the school string orchestra - and my thrill of seeing and hearing my small part in the second violins in the context of the creative sound of the whole orchestra - the thrill of making music.
Our thanks - my thanks in particular - for this 'acoustic' (may I dare say 'spiritual') experience, which will remain with me/us always.