Music News Traditional Music Trip – Ireland 2012 Tunester is a traditional music group of students based at Anderson High School. The group now has an established reputation in Shetland and beyond having played outside the Islands on several occasions. In recent years we have travelled to Ireland and Northumberland establishing exchange links with these areas as well as performing for the Scottish Association for Music Education conference in Stirling last year. Since 2003 the band has formed close links with East Clare, Ireland. Anderson High students have now visited and hosted three times. There is another opportunity to take the group there at the end of June next year. This will be the culmination of a year’s rehearsals and work to fund raise and record a CD. Currently we have a line up of 12 fiddles, 3 accordions, 2 flutes, 3 guitars and kit with band leader, Margaret Scollay on piano. Whilst in Ireland we will share our music and dance cultures with those of the local area in conjunction with students from The Music Room, Tulla taught by Mary MacNamara. For our pupils this is a valuable educational experience as well as forging life time friendships. Tall Ships Shetland 2011 This summer saw many events taking place throughout the County in support of the Cruise in Company ports as well as the main event in Lerwick. Anderson High fiddle quintet, ‘Hansel’, were kept busy in Scalloway and Cullivoe as well as forming part of the much larger group ‘Laldy’ who opened the entertainment at Victoria Pier, Lerwick. Hansel are Mary Dimitrov, Martha Thomson, Liza Fullerton, Ross Jamieson and Danny Garrick with piano from Margaret Scollay. The first performance for Hansel was the opening of the new Scalloway Museum on July 16th. We played a selection of music whilst the invited guests looked around as well as performing part of Jenna Reid’s ‘Shetland Bus Suite’ as part of the opening ceremony. This was particularly fitting, given Scalloways connections to the Shetland Bus movement during the Second World War. We moved on to Cullivoe’s Cruise in Company on Tuesday 19th. Despite the poor weather and sadly the poor number of Tall Ships who had made it to the port, the atmosphere was great with lots to see and do. We played a 30min set which was broadcast on the radio locally in Yell. Then it was time for the main event in Lerwick. ‘Laldy’ is a traditional band formed for the opening ceremony of the Hamefarin’ last year. We were asked to open the entertainment at Victoria Pier on Thursday 21st July. We were very fortunate that the weather stayed bright and dry for our performance which led to a large crowd listening. It was very pleasing to see thirty-seven young people from throughout Shetland playing well known tunes to a very high standard.
The Harris Playfair Big Band Only in its second year, this event run by Shetland Arts is now firmly established as a high point for young musicians in Shetland. Many Anderson High students have the opportunity to rehearse under the guidance of jazz maestro and teacher Harris Playfair for 5 demanding days before headlining a concert for Shetland Arts Fiddle Frenzy summer school. The Big Band is a fusion of traditional tunes with a jazz accompaniment making it very exciting music to be part of. This year we were 17 fiddles, 2 flutes and accordion with accompaniment from 5 saxophones, trumpet, trombone, bass, kit and percussion with Harris on piano. Amongst the music played were compositions from Anderson High pupil Liza Fullerton and ex-pupils Kirsten Hendry and Helen Whitham. The Big Band were ably supported by Anderson High School fiddle quintet Hansel and played to a packed Garrison Theatre before travelling to Ollaberry the following evening to play at another Fiddle Frenzy concert. Harris will be back next year and the opening performance for the Big Band will be Sunday 5th August. Grades for Fiddlers Since 2003 grades have been available for fiddlers under the Trinity Guildhall Joint Assessment Grade (JAG) scheme. This required instrumental fiddle staff to assess three of the seven disciplines internally during a lesson. The remaining four parts were then assessed by a visiting examiner at Islesburgh Community Centre, the two sets of marks joined and a final result given. We learned last year that Trinity Guildhall would be discontinuing the JAG scheme in July this year and feared that this would mean the end of what had become a very successful grade scheme through which students had achieved and enjoyed. Local Trinity Guildhall Representative, Jane Morton with fiddle instructors Pauleen Wiseman and Margaret Scollay began campaigning to save the Grades. Following the appointment of a new chief examiner at Trinity Guildhall last December, we requested that our Traditional Fiddle Grades be taken in line with the more mainstream exams in Classical and Jazz which are fully assessed by a visiting examiner. Fiddlers have always used the technical work, sight reading and aural tests from the violin syllabus with the only difference being the performance pieces. The new appointment, Nicolas Keyworth (who examined our first grades back in 2003) freely granted this. Given our syllabus of tunes had not changed since the birth of exams 8/9 years back, we then asked to write a new syllabus for the new style of grade. Margaret Scollay, in liaison with Pauleen Wiseman, undertook this task. Nine grades worth of music (Initial and 1-8) were sent in for approval just before our summer break. Nicolas Keyworth, who is a violinist, with Janice Gillard, Trinity’s string specialist has worked on the music learning more about the style fiddlers’ play. The new syllabus is now fully approved and there are many students in Shetland working towards grade finals next March. This is of course perfect timing for senior students in Intermediate Music or Higher as their performance finals will be at that time. These grades are fully accredited and from grade 6 -8 can earn students valuable UCAS points for University. We are delighted to be even closer to the regular exam format and hope eventually to appear in the Trinity Guildhall Syllabus for Strings and Harp.
AHS September 2011 Newsletters