Skye and Lochalsh Orchestra

7 Dec 2008 in Highland, Music

Kyleakin Hall, Isle of Skye, 6 December 2008

Skye and Lochalsh Orchestra (Photo - Terry Williams)

Skye and Lochalsh Orchestra (Photo - Terry Williams)

SKYE AND LOCHALSH Orchestra (fondly known as SLO), joined with Strath Gaelic Choir and the Schools String Orchestra last Saturday, for their ever-popular winter concert in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care, which drew an audience from a’ the airts in Skye and Lochalsh. They were treated to a lively and varied programme, ranging from Tchaikovsky to Greig via Bach, ‘Oh Come All Ye Faithful’ and The Snowman.

SLO started in January 2000, when a group of friends decided they wanted to make music together. Thanks to their own enthusiasm and the dedicated direction of Rosemary Bungard, they went from strength to strength. Earlier this year, Rosemary handed over the conductor’s baton to another trained, professional musician, Becky Milne. The orchestra presents several well-attended concerts each year, but they still insist: “the emphasis is on fun, inclusion and trying our best to make music”.

If there were a few tense moments during Bach’s ‘Brandenburg Concerto in F major’, all anxiety seemed to have fled after the interval (perhaps the mulled wine and mince pies had something to do with it). Tchaikovsky’s ‘1812 Overture’ went in fine style, cannons firing bang on cue every time.

There were carols from the choir in Gaelic and English (audience participation welcome), a choral/orchestral arrangement of ‘Walking in the Air’, and a delightful set of rounds from the young string players, who are primary school pupils with their sights firmly set on a place in the main orchestra in due course. Their conductor, Marian Beeston, says next year’s players will be even smaller!

Becky Milne chose to finish the orchestra’s contribution with Greig’s ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’. This was a brave move and the orchestra rose to the challenge. They were clearly enjoying themselves. The last, perfectly timed, cymbal clash was instantly echoed by cheers from the audience – apparently a first for SLO! It was well deserved. The two orchestras, the choir and their support teams had provided a fine evening’s entertainment.

© Terry Williams, 2008