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16 October 2014

Arnish Lighthouse

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Clocktower outside Nicolson Institute
Last 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.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 14:31


Thanks for your lovely comments I was the concert director that evening and in along with my young colleague in crime (the probationary teacher) in charge of the programme. I am a mailander hailing from Ayrshire. The idea for the concert came from the desire to encourage people, from whatever background, race or creed to stop pigeon holing music into Traditional, Classical or Pop, with their associated predjudices. This is a real problem on the island. I am glad you enjoyed the concert and even happier that your sentiments seem to reflect our aims. Gavin Woods

Gavin Woods from Lewis

Sound wonderfull! I am looking forward to visiting Scotland late Ap. 2006. I enjoyed reading blogs from all over- especially the Island blogs!.

Victoria Wendell from Anchorage, Alaska, USA

I hope Lewis is on your itinerary, Victoria, but wherever you go: be assured of a cordial welcome.

Arnish Lighthouse from Stornoway

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