FORMIDABLE FODEN'S - Full coverage from the 2021 National Brass Band Championships

Issue 6112

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DEPARTURE - Cornet star Kirsty Abbotts leaves Carlton Main

St Andrews project set for brass weekend

Tuesday 31 August, 2021

A music initiative based in Fife and Clackmannanshire, Scotland, is to bring together a plethora of participants for a busy weekend of music making.

The St Andrews Music Participation (StAMP) project launched during the pandemic and will see musicians gather for a brass weekend from September 24-26.

The event will feature members of local brass bands, the world-renowned Wallace Collection and invited current members and recent alumni of the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland. In addition, children who started learning with StAMP during the pandemic will attend the Laidlaw Music Centre at the University of St Andrews to rehearse and create a concert which will be live-streamed at 5pm on Sunday, September 26.

StAMP is a major brass outreach project run by the Laidlaw Music Centre in partnership with the Wallace Collection. During the pandemic the project reached literally hundreds of brass players internationally and started 150 children learning brass, 71 of whom have gone on to join their local brass band. Though some children came together in July for an event at Kellie Castle as part of the East Neuk Festival, the project is yet to bring together all participants from across the region to experience the sound and thrill of a live brass band.

The live-streamed concert is titled Spectrums and Stars and, like previous StAMP concerts, is an interdisciplinary exploration of music and astronomy as part of the long running art, music and astronomy project called Shine. It will be narrated by head of outreach Ellen Thomson and reader in physics and astronomy, Anne-Marie Weijmans. The programme will continue to develop the creative skills of the children by having them improvise interpolations to connect music by Hildegard von Bingen with music of the Italian Renaissance. Such creative and intuitive musical creations have become a hallmark of StAMP pedagogy, led by tutor and animateur Tony George.

Musicians assembled for the concert will inspire the children with a performance of Scottish composer Eddie McGuire’s Earthrise. Completing the programme will be special arrangements of music by the Scottish classical composer Thomas Erskine, and a specially narrated performance of Gilbert Vinter’s classic Spectrum: its movements of colour will be explored in relation to how astronomers use colour to understand the stars, planets and galaxies.

The weekend will be the first event of the second year of StAMP which was awarded the prize for the most outstanding community and outreach project in the recent New Music Scotland Awards, with the panel of judges praising it for being ‘a clever and creative way to engage a wide number of people’, adding ‘It is excellent to see such high-quality musicians being relaxed and enthusiastic about their work which engages everyone.’

Over the course of the coming year StAMP will again start more than 100 children on their musical journey by delivering its Discovering Brass programme which uses the natural trumpet as a starting point for learning all brass instruments, and as a tool for interdisciplinary exploration.