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‘Terrific’ welcome for national orchestra

RSNO musicians kick starting their Shetland performances at Sumburgh Airport - Photo: Hans J Marter

THE ROYAL Scottish National Orchestra started their five day visit to Shetland with a big splash when eight musicians gave a surprise performance at Sumburgh Airport, on Friday afternoon.

Led by the RSNO’s principal timpani Martin Gibson, the eight musicians quickly had travellers and staff joining in.

The full national orchestra is visiting Shetland for the first time in more than 20 years as part of the Music Nation initiative, as part of the countdown to the London 2012 Olympics.

Mr Gibson said: “We arrived just before lunchtime and we thought we would make a big splash on the island – and it went very well.

“The whole orchestra is actually arriving on the islands and this is the first opportunity where we can play something to islanders and visitors. The response has been terrific.”

Tuba player John Whitener boarding the plane to Foula, on Friday morning.

While most of the orchestra will stay in and around Lerwick preparing for the two big concerts on Saturday and Sunday nights, some have ventured further afield as part of the outer isles project hosted by the communities in Fair Isle, Foula, Skerries and Unst.

A screenshot of the Outer Isles project performance on Foula.

The collaboration between members of the RSNO and local musicians working together on music composed by Shetland fiddler player Chris Stout was streamed live on Friday night at www.shetnews.co.uk thanks to Shetland Arts.

On Saturday, two groups of RSNO musicians present the orchestra’s concert programme for pre-school children, Mini Monster Music, to audiences at Brae High School, the Clickimin Leisure Centre, Sandwick Junior High School and the Mid Yell hall.

This is followed by a recital at Busta House, in Brae, and a brass concert in the Bigton Hall, both on Saturday afternoon.

St Columba’s Church is the venue for the Big Kirk Chamber Concert, on Saturday evening when the orchestra’s leader James Clark will be joined by strings, brass and woodwind to play music by Mozart, Elgar and Grieg.

This will be followed the next day by the main symphony orchestra when the RSNO play Britten, Sibelius and the specifically commissioned composition Tingaholm, by Chris Stout.

On the Monday the full force of the musicians can be heard once more, this time for the RSNO’s schools concert Heroes and Rogues.

Tickets for all events are available from the Shetland Box Office at www.shetlandboxoffice.org