What 5 words about the SFO?

You may have heard of the what3words project or app.

Every 3m square in the world has been given a unique combination of three words: a what3words address.

The idea is that you can find, share and navigate to precise locations anywhere in the world using just 3 words.

Greetings from nosedive.bungalows.scam or thereabouts.

The SFO is putting some time and energy into identifying groups of 5 words.

This is part of a branding analysis exercise.

One side of this is finding 5 adjectives or words that best describe the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra’s ideal customer.

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Blair speaks about the SFO 2020 Tour rescheduling

Scottish Fiddle Orchestra Conductor, Blair Parham, has delivered a video message to set out the reasoning behind what was, in the end, an inevitable postponement of the 40th Anniversary Tour to the USA and Canada from 28 March 2020 to 08 April 2020.

Watch the following video for details or read a full transcript of the text of what Blair says, set out below the video.

Hi there.

Blair here – Conductor of the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra.

Some bad news, I’m afraid, in that the tour to North America – that we were so looking forward to coming on – has had to be rescheduled.

We’re not cancelling; we’re postponing it for the time being.

As I’m sure you’ll agree, the situation with the coronavirus has hit everyone globally in many different ways and unfortunately our tour has had to be rescheduled.

We had been reviewing the situation for the past few weeks very closely, looking at all the eventualities and came to the decision several days ago that actually it would be best if we postpone it. Obviously, in the last couple of days or so, that decision has been made for us, anyway, with the travel bans that have been put in place.

We’re really sorry.

I’m sure you understand the reasons why we’ve taken this decision but we’re looking forward to coming next year – April and March 2021.

So, we’re visiting North Eastern United States and Eastern Canada – as I say, the end of March into April 2021.

We’re really sorry not to see you this year, on our 40th anniversary celebrations, but hope to see you when we turn 41.

Stay safe. Take care.

Bye for now.

Postponement of The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra North American Tour 2020

A message from SFO Chairman, Bob Diament.

The SFO Board and our Promoters, Culture Path, jointly took the difficult decision to postpone our planned North American Tour at the end of last week.

After weeks of increasing uncertainty and anxiety generated by the worldwide onslaught of the Corona virus, we thought that the risk to our players, their families, our guest musicians and our audiences was too high.

The subsequent implementation of an international travel ban from the UK would have made the Tour impossible. However, our decision had already been made on the grounds of safety.

Culture Path have started to work on rescheduling our concerts in 2021.

We will be coming – just not this year.

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SFO Concert analysed by half-time pundits

Who wants to follow in the footsteps of such renowned half-time pundits as Alan Hansen, Graeme Souness and Ron Manager?

Our own Catriona MacLean, Willie Kidd and Jamie Mason subjected themselves to interrogation by SFO Chairman, Bob ‘Lineker’ Diament, during half time at our Perth concert (22 February 2020), the whole of which was streamed live on YouTube.

Rising above periodic heckling from the PA system, these brave souls touched on subjects as diverse as

  • cymbals,
  • nepotism in the SFO,
  • (appropriately) Monty Python, and
  • (as confusingly as possible) the SFO’s forthcoming North America Tour.

They packed a lot of information – some of
it relevant – into 10 minutes and 43 seconds of chat.

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SFO Just Giving Appeal

The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra 40th Anniversary North American Tour 2020

(NOTE that this post is superceded by the fact that the SFO’s Tour to North America in 2020 has had to be postponed in March 2020)

The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2020.

As tradition bearers for Scottish music we will be touring the USA and Canada. Leaving from Edinburgh on 28th March we will perform at concert halls in New Hampshire, Maine, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Quebec.

The SFO is a registered charity, run entirely by volunteers.

This tour will feature not only fiddles, but flutes, cellos, and our very own piper.

With a touring party of 50 musicians, we will be ambassadors for Scotland.

We hope to foster strong social and cultural links, widening access to traditional Scottish music, and promoting one of Scotland’s most recognisable cultural exports.

We will present 7 concerts in a 12-day period.

In addition, we plan to lead workshops with young local musicians.

We will be inviting members of local communities with physical, mental or behavioural constraints to attend our rehearsals. Our aim is to help to expand access to music for those who find it difficult to attend formal concerts.

At each concert location, a local pipe band will join us on stage to help us perform our signature Orchestra and Pipes showpiece arrangements, such as Rose of Galloway and Highland Cathedral.

We would really appreciate your donations towards our travel costs.

We have set up an SFO Just Giving page, for that purpose.

In return for donations, we are delighted to offer the following rewards:

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A new chapter in leadership of the SFO

Yla Steven BEM becomes only the third leader of the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra in its 40-year history.

As a founder member, she follows in the footsteps of Willie Dunlop and the recently dearly departed Bill Cook.

Yla was born in Edinburgh.

Her Christian name is the original spelling of Glen Isla in Perthshire, where she lived in her early years.

She began learning the violin in Edinburgh at the age of seven, continued her studies in Blairgowrie, and later graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

A strong interest in Scottish traditional fiddle music developed at an early age, and she entertained at many events during her teenage years.

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A fond appreciation of Bill Cook – SFO Leader and President

Bill Cook - SFO Leader and President

Bill Cook passed away suddenly on Saturday 05 October 2019.

Bill had been troubled with poor health recently but still managed to lead the orchestra with his customary flair at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 07 September 2019, shortly after his 80th birthday.

He will be a huge loss to the SFO and the traditional music scene in Scotland and will be sadly missed.

Bill was born in Alloa on 03 September 1939.

He was the eldest of three children, from a musical family, with his father being an accomplished violinist.

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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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