Sunday, 14 April 2024
Sunday, 14 April 2024

Big Noise Douglas young people share stage with the RSNO in Dundee

YOUNG participants of a transformational community music programme have taken part in a special concert with professionals from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO). 

The group of 25 children from Big Noise Douglas, all aged between eight and 10, shared the stage at Dundee’s Caird Hall with the world-renowned RSNO on Thursday night. They performed side-by-side and treated concertgoers to renditions of two pieces – Amitiés and Mission Mars – both of which were written by Big Noise musician Joëlle Broad, the programme’s Strings Curriculum Leader.

It was the first time many of the young people had performed outside the Douglas community. The event gave them the opportunity to demonstrate their confidence, teamwork and musical skills to friends and family on one of the city’s biggest stages while playing alongside accomplished professional musicians as part of Scotland’s national orchestra.

It followed weeks of hard work and preparation from the young people, with RSNO musicians visiting Big Noise Douglas earlier this month to rehearse with them.
Big Noise Douglas is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its launch in Dundee this year.
Through the programme, which is delivered by the charity Sistema Scotland, children in nursery and P1-P4 at Claypotts Castle and St Pius primary schools are offered the chance to learn to read and perform orchestral music while picking up vital life experience.
They can then progress to an after-school programme as they get older, and some of those who joined at the very beginning are now in secondary school. The programme aims to work with young people in the community from birth to adulthood.

The programme in Douglas now works with more than 550 children a week and provides community, nursery, in-school, and after-school programmes and sessions during school holidays – removing some of the barriers parents face when seeking work or training.
It also helps support families by providing healthy snacks before each session, and older pupils are given a hot meal once a week, while also strengthening the community with the long-term aim of tackling inequalities.

There are similar Big Noise programmes supporting a combined 3,500 children and young people in the communities of Raploch and Fallin in Stirling, Govanhill in Glasgow, Torry in Aberdeen, and Wester Hailes in Edinburgh.

Independent expert research has found that Big Noise participants are more likely to achieve a positive post-school destination – including going into employment, training or higher or further education – than those who do not take part.

Professor Divya Jindal-Snape, chair of Education, Inclusion and Life Transitions in the University of Dundee’s School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law, led an independent evaluation of the impact of Big Noise Douglas in 2021.

It found the programme positively impacts participants, with school professionals reporting that it increases children’s determination, motivation and concentration in class, as well as enhancing their communication, oral and listening skills and boosting their happiness. The work of Big Noise Douglas is supported by a wide range of public and private funders, including the Scottish Government, Dundee City Council and players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.

Andy Thorn, head of the centre for Big Noise Douglas, said:

“We are incredibly proud of all our young people who performed alongside accomplished professional musicians from Scotland’s national orchestra.

“It was wonderful to see the young people from Big Noise Douglas demonstrating their confidence, teamwork, musical skills and talents on a big stage in front of friends, family members and the wider public.

“The concert was a fantastic example of the opportunities Big Noise participants have and I have no doubt that this experience will be immensely beneficial for them.

“It also showed the strength of the partnership between Big Noise and the RSNO and is a testament to how much the orchestra members value their role in inspiring children and young people.

“And of course, the event was made all the more special by the fact we are celebrating our fifth year of working with and supporting children, young people and their families in the Douglas community.”

Andy Stevenson, RSNO Director of Engagement, said:

“I’d like to congratulate all of the young people who performed tonight – it’s always fantastic to see the combined orchestra on stage whenever we take part in a side-by-side performance with Sistema Scotland musicians.

“It’s particularly special this week as Big Noise Douglas marks their fifth anniversary, continuing their great work in the community here as well as at centres across the country.

“Partnerships such as this are vital to the RSNO’s work, showing the significant role that music plays in education and well-being in Scotland.

“We look forward to continuing to work together to support young people starting their musical journeys.”

Lee Forster, whose nine-year-old son Jayden played in the concert, said:

“It’s absolutely fantastic that Jayden has been given the opportunity to perform at a venue like the Caird Hall which has seen the very best – it’s a historic place.

“I’ve seen Jayden play in plenty of Big Noise concerts before, which have always been great, but it was really special to see him playing alongside the RSNO.

“Being part of Big Noise Douglas has had a massive impact on Jayden’s life. He loves it so much. He refuses to stay off school if he’s not well – because it could mean he might potentially miss a day of Big Noise.

“He loves exploring his creativity through new instruments. He’s played wind instruments so far, but we saw him the other day with a cornet – he just loves music and he’s taken to it like a duck to water.

“There’s not a great deal for kids to do after school round here, so the after-school element of Big Noise is fantastic. It gives him somewhere to do something that he loves with his friends from school.”

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