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Orchestrating a theme for Heritage Festival

Three of the Borders’ most famous heritage sites came alive with the sound of music last week as children from schools in the Selkirk and Galashiels catchment areas joined forces with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO).

Sounding Out the Past is a new music commission for the Borders Heritage Festival 2017     which has the theme, Borders - Where People Place and Myth Meet.

The initiative is designed to increase awareness and understanding of the unique historical heritage of the Scottish Borders through creative learning.

Composer, Suzanne Parry, Borders-based writer, Jules Horne and Joanna Burns, member of the Orchestra's creative learning team SCO Connect, worked with four classes of primary school children between 8 and 10-years-old.

Two rural schools in the Yarrow and Ettrick valleys and two schools in Selkirk and Galashiels took part in workshops which explored the history and stories connected to Aikwood Tower, Bowhill House and Estate and Abbotsford respectively.

The aim is to create a multi-movement Song Cycle of about 15 minutes in length which will be played by an ensemble of SCO musicians while the children will write and perform their own movements.

The resulting commissions will be rehearsed and performed at afternoon events for the schools involved and an evening performance, which will be one of the new creative commissions for the Borders Heritage Festival, during the first week in September.

Vicki Steel, who owns and runs Aikwood Tower as a special events venue along with husband Rory, said: “The children really engaged with the history of Aikwood and enjoyed hearing some of the many fantastic stories and legends surrounding the building.

“This year celebrates 500 years since King James V granted the lands of Aikwood – the feu deposition - to the Scott family and so during this special year for us, we’re very excited and proud to be taking part in the 2017 Heritage Festival.”

Recordings of the compositions will remain in the historic houses as an alternative creative and expressive interpretation of aspects of each house’s historic past.

This project is funded by Creative Scotland Open Project funding as part of the Borders Heritage Festival 2017 and delivered through a partnership between Live Borders, Scottish Borders Council, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Borders Heritage Forum. It is supported and made possible by the generous partnership of the Abbotsford Trust, Aikwood Tower and Bowhill House and Estate.


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