SFO NA Tour 2020

The SFO will be 40 years old in 2020 and we’re planning a Tour to the North Eastern USA and Eastern Canada.

Unfortunately, the tour has had to be postponed, as Blair explains here:

If you would prefer to read a transcript of what Blair says, see here.

Also, there is a message from SFO Chairman, Bob Diament, regarding postponement of the 2020 Tour to likely March / April 2021 here.

Plans for 2021?

The content of the page will evolve and develop as more information becomes available. Also have a look at this article which charts the beginnings of the process towards our abortive tour in 2020.

Press information is set out towards the bottom of this page.

The situation with planned concerts for 2020 was as below.

These dates have had to be postponed for now – to dates still to be fixed but possibly in late March / early April 2021.

All dates were to be 2020 – Note that these concerts have had to be postponed.

Mar 31 – Performance in Portsmouth, NH – Portsmouth Music Hall

Apr 01 – Performance in Lewiston, ME – Franco Centre for the Arts

Apr 02 – Performance in Fredericton, NB – Fredericton Playhouse

Apr 03 – Performance in Charlottetown, PEI – Confederation Hall

Apr 04 – Performance in Riverview, NB – Riverview Arts Centre

Apr 06 – Performance in Halifax, NS – Dalhousie University Arts Centre

Apr 08 – Performance in Montreal, PQ – Le Gesu

Press Information:

The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra’s Compliments to North America

“It was party time when the fiddlers came to town”

Regina, Canada

The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra (SFO) will celebrate its 40th Anniversary as “tradition bearers” for Scottish music by touring the USA and Canada in 2020. The opening concert of the tour is in Portsmouth Music Hall, Portsmouth, NH on March 31st 2020.

The SFO have been at the forefront of promoting and performing traditional Scottish music since 1980.

Formed by John Mason MBE, the SFO grew out of the mass Fiddlers Rallies in the 1970s which had become a feature of the Gaelic Mod and they are now recognised as “Scotland’s leading fiddle orchestra”. They will bring 50 musicians travelling from Boston to Montreal playing 7 concerts over a 12 day period, performing programmes of Scottish traditional music. They will collaborate with local groups to perform their unique concert arrangements for orchestra and pipe band.

The costs associated with the tour will be underwritten by SFO members, the SFO’s financial reserves from UK concert income, a travel grant from the Scottish Government, Crowd Funding and sponsorship.

Any further financial assistance would be very welcome: we’re worth it. The SFO is a registered charity.

Under the baton of conductor Blair Parham…

…the orchestra comprises fiddles, accordions, cellos, basses, flutes, piano and drums.

They are generally joined by acclaimed soloists

  • Yla Steven on fiddle,
  • mezzo-soprano Colette Ruddy and
  • tenor Denis Haggerty.

The SFO produce a unique sound.

Playing traditional music – slow airs, marches, strathspeys, reels, jigs and the songs of Scotland – and also performing unique, stirring concert arrangements for combined orchestra and pipe band.

The SFO perform annually in Scotland’s major concert venues plus concerts in England and Ireland.

They do short summer tours, outwith major venues. In the Summer of 2018, their Northern Nights Tour took them to Moray, Orkney and Shetland.

They tour internationally and have visited China, Australia, Canada and the USA, the last North American Tour being 2008.

The SFO has broadcast and recorded extensively.

Over 30 CDs and DVDs have been produced. Their most recent DVD, “A Grand Night in Glasgow”, was released in September 2019.

Planned ‘Extras’ on the North America Tour

During their travels in North America they will be providing workshops for young musicians and hosting disability group members to rehearsals widening access for people who find it difficult to attend formal concerts due to physical, mental or behavioural constraints.

This initiative has proved hugely popular at their UK concert venues. For example, here is one of many messages we have received from Support Groups after our most recent concert in Edinburgh:

“We had a wonderful time at the Orchestra’s rehearsal on Saturday.

To sum up the impact your music has on our members – by the end, Rose, who has very poor mobility and needs constant support to stand & walk, was dancing in front of her seat, while holding onto the back of the seats in front & behind. Amazing indeed.

Thank you for inviting us, organising our visit and allowing us to enjoy your music making. It really is a privilege.

I am sure that Saturday evening’s performance would have been wonderful and we wish you well for the rest of your concerts for this year.

Very best wishes,

On behalf of The Singing Groups and The Forget Me Notes.”

SFO North American Tour 2020 Itinerary

Note that all dates listed below had to be postponed due to travel and health concerns arising from the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Portsmouth Music Hall, Portsmouth, NH, March 31st 2020
Franco Centre for the Arts, Lewiston, ME , April 1st 2020
Fredericton Playhouse, Fredericton, NB, April 2nd 2020
Confederation Hall, Charlottetown, PEI, April 3rd 2020
Riverview Arts Centre, Riverview, NB, April 4th 2020
Dalhousie University Arts Centre, Halifax, NS, April 6th 2020
Le Gesu, Montreal QP, April 8th 2020

The SFO has raised well over a million pounds sterling for partner charities.

This comes from collections at concerts and impromptu performances.

The SFO hope to be Ambassadors for Scotland while they visit locations that already have strong ties of heritage to Scotland, principally aiming to entertain while reinforcing existing cultural links and promoting Scottish music at a time when the international language of music can cut through some of the uncertainty of global politics.

Press Comments:

“Belfast gripped by Fiddle Fever”

“And even the Queen wanted to dance”

Sunday Post

“A feast of Scottish culture served up with great flair”

York Evening Press

“Rapturous Reception for Scottish Fiddle Orchestra”


“Scots rock and reel the night away”

“A full houseā€¦cheered and whistled like teenagers at a rock concert”

“This instrumental and vocal ensemble is every expatriate Scot’s dream event”

Perth, Australia