Friday, 31 March 2006


<![CDATA[ Clocktower outside Nicolson InstituteLast night (Thursday) I attended a concert at the Nicolson Institute which was unlike any other I have been to. As the title of the post indicates, it was billed as a Kaleidoscope concert. Music of all ages and genres was performed by secondary school age pupils, obviously with a good helping of Scottish and Gaelic culture thrown in as well. I have never been to a concert where a hardrock band rubbed shoulders with a Chopin nocturne, a ceilidh band and a jazz ensemble.

Starting off with the junior piping champion for Scotland (who hails from Lewis), there followed jazz, hard rock, a Chopin nocturne, a movement from a Haydn trumpet concierto, a Gaelic song and a junior big band. After the break, there was a similar set of pieces. The concert was put up to raise funds for new instruments for the Nicolson institute, which it will have done. Attendance was about 150.

I was heartened to see teenagers take an interest in all sorts of music, not just the usual Radio 1 type things. It reinforces my perception that culture ranks very high on the Hebrides' list of priorities, and it's important to start young. It is even more important to have a diverse interest. I noticed one young lady who played the piano as well as the clarinet. Two players were leading instrumentalists in the Scottish Youth Orchestra.

It is not my intention to turn this into a promotion for the local secondary school, although the Nicolson is doing an exceptionally good job in this field. I would rather flag this up as an example to be followed up elsewhere. Not just in Scotland or the UK - but anywhere.

After all, music is universal and transcends borders of countries, language and culture. ]]>

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