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Sensational week of music making

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra performing in the Usher Hall - Photo: Any Buchanan

THE ROYAL Scottish National Orchestra is to visit Shetland in March next year as part of its Out and About initiative and its contribution to the Olympic celebration.

It is the first time since 1991 that local audiences will be able to enjoy the RSNO playing in the isles.

During its residence from 1 to 5 March 2012 the RSNO will play in the Clickimin Leisure Complex, the new music venue Mareel, as well as venues in Unst, Out Skerries, Fair Isle and Foula.

Their Mareel concert may even be the venue’s opening event, according to Shetland Arts director Gwilym Gibbons.

Mr Gibbons said he was confident that Mareel would be open for business by March next year, although the arts agency has not yet been given a definite handover date for the £12.2 million building, which is still under construction

He said that due to “difficulties” with the glazing and timber contractors the handover date is not likely to be “in the later part of the year” and added that Shetland Arts was at present not confirming any booking before March 2012.

“We don’t really know, but at the moment we are working on the basis of March 2012,” he said.

He added: “The RSNO’s visit as part of Music Nation will coincide with the opening season of Mareel.

“The week of events will include collaborations and performances in venues including village halls, care homes, schools, Mareel and a full orchestral performance in the Clickimin Leisure Centre.”

Visits to communities throughout Shetland will involve a range of activities, from concerts and participative performances to community events and coaching opportunities.

The week will enable the Shetlanders to experience and interact with Scotland’s national symphony orchestra in their own community, the orchestra’s acting chief executive Kenneth Osborne said.

“The visit is shaping up to be one of the most ambitious projects of its kind that we have ever programmed, artistically and logistically.

“Plans are already well underway to deliver a sensational week of music-making that will involve communities throughout the Shetland Islands.

“I’m also particularly pleased that this project is playing such a prominent part in Music Nation, celebrating the lead-up to the 2012 Olympics. We look forward to holding aloft the cultural torch in the north!”

Full programme details of Out and About in Shetland will be released later in the year.