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Funding boost will help youngsters participation in this year's Song for Haddo

By David Porter

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Haddo Arts have been awarded a grant of £8798 by People’s Postcode Trust for the 2021 Song for Haddo Music project.

Dr. Cathy Guthrie, Haddo Arts Administrator said: "Added to the grant funding already committed by Udny Community Trust, this award means that the project can once more be extended to include participation by young musicians from local academies to join the McOpera Ensemble in a professionally mentored string orchestra and brass ensemble."

For their 10th anniversary, Haddo Arts have commissioned composer Peter Kemp and Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland (McOpera) to create a work for local primary-age singers and high school instrumentalists, mentored by McOpera professional musicians and presented in collaboration with National Trust of Scotland.

A Place to Play - A Haddo Oratorio, is inspired by Haddo House and its ethos of using music-making to bring people together.

The house itself was for many years the family home of June and David Gordon and was always buzzing with artists and musicians practicing and preparing for the huge productions which happened there each year.

It has also been a place where generations of children and families have lived and ‘played’ in their own way, whether inside the house or in the grounds.

As a result of the People's Postcode Trust funding, singers from four Aberdeenshire primary schools will be joined by young musicians from the surrounding academies and their instrumental music instructors to take part in blended workshops, coaching and recording sessions with baritone Andrew McTaggart and the McOpera Ensemble, players derived from the Orchestra of Scottish Opera.

The project culminates in a live visit to Haddo House where, led by the guides from the National Trust of Scotland, the young people will be able to explore Haddo's childhood haunts, its ‘nooks and crannies’ and ‘secret' spaces, prior to being filmed and recorded in socially-distanced 'bubbles' performing alongside the professional musicians from McOpera.

Set in the past, A Place to Play resonates with our young people's recent experiences - it is a celebration of their resilience, and the power of their talent, imagination and creativity.

2020's Song for Haddo saw local children perform online
2020's Song for Haddo saw local children perform online

Following the success of A Song for Haddo: Witnesses of Time at the Haddo Arts Festival in 2019, Haddo Arts and McOpera have had to be extremely agile in adapting the remaining two years of the project in the face of Covid-19.

In 2020, Song for Haddo: Fables and Foibles was delivered entirely virtually and online with the young singers and musicians recording their individual contributions at home.

This year's project, A Place to Play: A Haddo Oratorio will be recorded live over several days at Haddo House in September and mixed into a final ensemble.

The complete performance will be broadcast as a YouTube Premiere on Thursday, October 14 during the 10th anniversary Haddo Arts Festival.

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