Fiddle Jubilee impresses – Aberdeen

Aberdeen Press and Journal, April 2005

Last weekend a capacity audience in Aberdeen’s Music Hall had the privilege of attending The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra’s Silver Jubilee concert, conducted with verve by Andrew McGarva.

Jim McColl, MBE, introduced a sparkling selection of music, old and new, mush of which was composed or arranged by the orchestra’s Musical Director, John Mason. The resounding chords of his “Jubilation”, part of the “Holyrood Suite”, commemorated the opening of the new Scottish Parliament. The orchestra’s Irish tours were reflected in his moving tribute to Father Eamonn Gilmartin, who conducted the service of dedication and thanksgiving in Aberdeen on the occasion of the orchestra’s tenth anniversary.

“Lady Gethin” by the itinerant Irish harpist Turlough Carolan (1670-1738) was featured in another sensitive arrangement. Andrew McGarva’s “Trip to Tokyo” and his composition “Takashi’s Dawn” presented another refreshing and unique musical experience.

Soloists Debra Stuart (mezzo-soprano) and James Nicol (tenor) invited the audience to join them in traditional Scottish songs. And let’s not forget the “boys” of the SFO Glee Club who serenaded the audience and even encouraged some dancing in the aisles!

Keith Easdale’s pipes evoked more the “Echoes in the Glen”, and the arrival of the Bucks burn Juvenile Pipe Band added a poignant and powerful dimension to “The Old Man of Hoy” (Homeward Bound).

It is hard to believe that this orchestra has been touring the world for 25 years. Let’s hope their limitless budget of energy and enthusiasm keeps them on the road for another 25 years! Thanks for the memories and the music.

“Where next”? You ask. Well, in May they are off to York and in June it’s time for Edinburgh again. Did you say “When’s Orkney?” Now that I would like to hear, wouldn’t you?
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