Partnership concert in Arbroath bringing pupils together

The concert will be in St Andrew's Parish Church, Arbroath
The concert will be in St Andrew's Parish Church, Arbroath

A concert in Arbroath this week will mark the culmination of a unique music project bringing together pupils with special and additional support needs and those from mainstream education.

This inclusive concert is believed to be a Scottish first, and is the result of collaboration between Drake Music Scotland and Angus Council.

The concert takes place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday (November 26) at St Andrew’s Church, Arbroath, and will feature Angus schools senior orchestra, Angus Wind Band, Drake Music Scotland and the Montrose Academy Baroque Ensemble.

The concert is open to the public and tickets will be available at the door.

Sharing the stage will be young people using accessible music technologies such as Soundbeams - a ‘touch free’ device which uses sensor technology to translate body movement into music and sound and Skoogs - a musical instrument designed for those who are unable to play traditional musical instruments.

They will perform with the young musicians of the Montrose Academy Baroque Ensemble as part of a new inclusive ensemble performing a new piece especially created to combine both old and new instruments by composer and Drake Scotland associate musician Matilda Brown.

The new piece entitled ‘So Much Depends Upon…’ was inspired by a William Carlos Williams’ poem ‘The Red Tractor’ and uses a special music notation system called Figurenotes which Drake Music Scotland has introduced to Scotland.

Based on a system of matching coloured shapes ‒ one colour for each note in the scale – Figurenotes makes it possible for everyone, even complete beginners, to learn to play an instrument and learn to read music right from the word go.

“Working with Angus Council has been fantastic,” said Drake Music Scotland artistic director Pete Sparkes.

“The young people have really been able to let their creativity flow, and come up with some fantastic sounds for the music technology.

“Matilda’s piece combines their ideas, inspired by the local environment and rural life on farms, with the wonderful sound of the Montrose Baroque Ensemble to create an innovative and highly expressive sound-world.”

Angus Council’s convener of children and learning Sheena Welsh said: “This is an exciting new development for our music service and a first in Scotland. We are very proud of that.

“We are lucky to have such a dynamic team focused on opening up the opportunity for every child to express themselves through music. We look forward to further projects with Drake Music Scotland.”

Emma Lines, programme co-ordinator for Drake Music Scotland, added: “Working with Angus Council’s instrumental music service has been fantastic.

“This is the first time we’ve had a truly inclusive schools concert with the special school pupils sharing the main stage alongside their mainstream peers. We’re delighted with the whole project and really hope our partnership goes from strength to strength.”