The SFO in Concert in Inverurie

The SFO had a memorable concert in Inverurie Town Hall on 27 September 2019 as part of the town’s first In-Tune festival.

We were delighted to be joined by our good friends, Colette Ruddy, mezzo-soprano, and Dennis Haggerty, tenor, for the occasion.

The festival took place over 3 days and was organised by Inverurie Business Improvement District.

Our concert was one of a total of 16 events held across the weekend.

Unfortunately, the wet weather meant we could not do any outdoor pop-up concerts but we thoroughly enjoyed the main concert on Saturday evening, some of the highlights of which were:

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A Grand Night in Glasgow (SFO DVD)

The SFO’s DVD – A Grand Night in Glasgow – Recorded September 2018.

One of the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra’s annual Glasgow concerts took place at the iconic Royal Concert Hall on 15 September 2018.

A video recording of the concert has been released on DVD in September 2019.

Members of the orchestra had warmed up with an impromptu “pop-up” concert on the steps of the concert hall, before their rehearsal that afternoon.

This DVD captures some of the highlights from the SFO’s main evening concert and you can purchase a copy via this website.

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The SFO’s 40th Anniversary Tour


If you follow the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra on social media, you will know that our digital media manager, Alexander (Davidson), has been releasing snippets of information about the orchestra’s proposed tour, since the end of June 2019.

30 June: SFO TOUR 2020 – Throughout July we’re going to let you know our tour plans – keep your eyes peeled for exciting tour related news. Our first announcement will be on Tuesday!

02 July: So it’s official, we’ve booked our flights, and at the end of March 2020 we’re crossing the pond. We’ll be touring some of the North Eastern states and can barely contain our excitement! But that’s not all, we’ve another location to announce, but all in good time. Let’s all get excited first!

09 July: As well as touring some of the North Eastern states, we thought why not head over the border to Canada too! So, in April 2020 we’ll be playing in the Maritime Provinces. We’ll let you know specifics before the end of July. We know traditional music is popular over there and are looking forward to meeting some traditional inspired musicians.

12 July: In case you haven’t heard… last week we announced our plans to tour the Canadian Maritime Provinces and the USA next Spring! More specifically, we’re finalising plans to play in Massachusetts and Maine. If you’re a fan and live in Massachusetts or Maine, or know someone who does and would enjoy a night of fiddle music, please share! [Here we are playing a Boston Two-Step to get you in the mood].

16 July: The last time the SFO visited Canada we played in Toronto… This time we’re planning performances in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia! Here we are playing John Mason’s ‘One Hundred Thousand Welcomes’ and a set of jigs in the Molson amphitheater, Toronto. Please share with anyone you know in Canada!

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First principals to second fiddles (life in an orchestra that’s not the SFO)

[Note that this article first appeared in the SFO Newsletter for December 2018 (no. 78), available to download here].

The Irish Times ran an interesting piece about the RTE orchestra during November 2018.

Though this is a professional and classical orchestra, there were many humorous references to different players and sections within the “band”.

It well explains the structure of an orchestra, including that of the SFO.

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A new era in digital downloads for SFO music

Violin on its side with one F-hole visible

As we reported in December 2018, we have been going through the process of making the orchestra’s self-produced recordings available for digital download.

Historically, SFO recordings have been released through REL but – with the growth of digital downloads and online streaming – it has gradually become possible for us to consider releases which are more under our own control.

The two most recent SFO CDs are now available for purchase as downloads via iTunes or Amazon Music.

The flexibility of this format means you can either choose to download the whole album or you can select individual tracks, if you prefer. [Read more…]

Be part of and take home a little piece of the SFO (38 years of SFO recordings)

SFO Second Violin Section 2018

If you come to an SFO concert, you can’t miss our merchandise stall in the foyer.

You may have been in the audience at one of our live concert recordings before and, if you are coming to our Hogmanay Concert in the Usher Hall on 30 December 2018, we will be recording this concert live.

As half time approaches in the programme, you’ll get a gentle reminder from the compere that “CDs and DVDs are available”, and possibly how many shopping days there are left until Christmas.

It has also become an SFO tradition in ending a concert for Blair to see the orchestra off on a set of Swinging Reels, finishing with Caddam Woods. Beforehand, he explains that he’ll be in the foyer in a moment – to meet and greet the audience, and maybe sign a CD/DVD or two. [Read more…]

A Review of Scots Fiddle Festival 2018

The Scots Fiddle Festival (SFF) took place in Edinburgh on the weekend of 16-18 November 2018.

I’ve been at every SFF since 2008 and have seen it go through venues from the Assembly Rooms, Queen’s Hall / King’s Hall, Queen’s Hall / Summerhall and on to a new venue this year at the Pleasance.

The Assembly Rooms worked well because workshops, recitals, sessions and concerts were all under one roof. The Pleasance seems to represent an excellent change of venue primarily for the same reason – everything in one location. It also has a congenial café bar area which seemed to work well for the sessions and stalls. [Read more…]

SFO Members on Celtic Music Radio

Ahead of the SFO’s concert at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 15 September 2018, on 23 August 2018, Celtic Music Radio broadcast a discussion their Sandy Weir had with Blair Parham (Conductor) and Bob Diament (Front of House Manager) of the SFO.

If you would like to listen to their segment in the show again, you can go to the following link and listen from about 11 minutes into the recording.

There’s a chance to win a pair of tickets for the Glasgow concert – open until 12 September.

The chat was interspersed with several tracks from the SFO’s Live CD “A Selection from the Caird and Usher Halls”.

Opening with the tune Fiddlers to the Fore from that CD, Bob and Blair explained that this was a composition of the late, great John Mason and was the first tune played by the SFO at its inaugural concert at Aberdeen Music Hall in 1980.  [Read more…]

The SFO’s Northern Nights Tour gets under way in Elgin

Elgin Town Hall, Elgin, Moray, with SFO in lights

The SFO’s Northern Nights Tour took place from 21 July to 27 July.

Our main concert points included venues in Moray, Orkney and Shetland.

We had planned some additional “pop-up” concerts along the way and the generally fantastic weather meant we could add in even more concerts than we had originally intended.

This is the first of a series of articles detailing the different parts of the tour.

We hope these posts will give you a taste of what we got up to on our travels. And the story begins in Troon, Ayrshire… [Read more…]

Blair Parham – World Peace Tartan Ambassador

Our dynamic Conductor, Blair Parham, is renowned for his swinging kilt during concerts.

The SFO is proud that Blair is also a World Peace Tartan Ambassador.

It’s a tartan he often wears when on stage with the SFO.

We asked Blair to explain how he came to be involved in the project and what it hopes to achieve. This is what he told us:

A little over a year ago I was contacted by Victor Spence, Founder of the World Peace Tartan Initiative asking if we could perhaps meet to discuss the initiative and how I could become part of it.

I met with Victor and listened to the history of the initiative and its aims and objectives, before giving him the history of the SFO and my involvement with it. Victor had clearly done his homework as he knew most of what I had to say! The culmination of the meeting was when Victor asked if I would become a World Peace Tartan Ambassador – something I was honoured to be asked to do.

The World Peace Tartan Initiative was created in 2011 as a message of peace.

It also helps to generate funds to aid charitable work through the licensing of its brand, design and products. As it grows, the World Peace Tartan Foundation invests in education initiatives intended to build a culture of peace and address child poverty. [Read more…]