Highland Adventures

Earlier this month the SCO toured to Kingussie, Thurso and Findhorn as part of its annual tour to the Highlands of Scotland. SCO Fundraising Co-ordinator David Nelson tells us more about the trip...

"Being on the road on the Summer Nights with the SCO tour to Kingussie, Thurso and Findhorn was one of my best experiences with the Orchestra so far. From my perspective, the tour encapsulated so much of what the SCO is about.

     
  Kingussie  
  The SCO truck parked at the Badenoch Centre in Kingussie.  

 

Having first heard the SCO perform in 2003 and an SCO Chorus member since 2006, it was a completely different adventure for me to tour to some of Scotland’s more remote communities with the Orchestra as one of their fundraisers.

It was quickly apparent that improvisation would play a part. With the performances taking place in a sports hall, a high school and an ecovillage hall, there were certain challenges for the stage crew, Scott and Ronnie, to get the staging right. The whole tour in fact had a real sense of teamwork surrounding it, with Marketing Director Caroline front of house helped by local volunteers, Orchestra Manager Louisa looking after the players and all of us working together to make sure the audience experience started from the moment they arrived at the venue.

Of course what then took place on the platform was truly exceptional. SCO Associate Artist, Alexander Janiczek, directed the Orchestra in a fantastic programme which was visually as well as musically diverse. The strings played Schubert’s German Dances before four of the SCO’s own phenomenal players took up the solo parts out front in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante. The second half started with Alexander giving outstanding renditions of Beethoven’s Romance in F, setting the scene for exhilarating performances, with the added forces of brass and percussion, in Schubert’s Symphony No 3.

     
  Findhorn  
  SCO soloists take a bow at the Universal Hall in Findhorn.  

 

What struck me throughout the tour was how much both the players and audience members were clearly enjoying themselves. The make-up of the venues seemed to bring everyone closer together and contribute to a much more intimate atmosphere at the concerts. There were smiles all around – proof that taking live music to our local communities is very worthwhile indeed.

I had the pleasure of looking after our very supportive tour sponsors, The Co-operative Membership, over the three nights. It was so nice to meet Barry Wright from Culbokie who had driven an hour south to Kingussie with his 9 year old daughter Amy to see the Orchestra perform. Learning to play the cello, she got the opportunity to meet and have her photo taken with Eric de Wit. To see the delight on Amy’s face was one of those moments that touches your heart and you again realise why your job is so important and how inspiring young people and audiences alike is such an integral part of what the SCO does.

     
  Kingussie  
  SCO Cellist Eric de Wit meets Amy and Barry Wright.  

 

The highlight of the tour for me was the fourth movement of the Schubert symphony and its aftermath in Findhorn. The audience went wild for the Orchestra, with some serious cheering and a number of people even taking to their feet.

I was completely blown over by the thrilling vibrancy of the last movement. The players were playing their socks off. And to see the reception the Orchestra got from the audience just made me so proud to be a part of something so incredibly special. A brilliant conclusion to a brilliant tour!"