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12th October 2020

North-east orchestra and choir join forces to produce specially-commissioned work with award-winning mentor

BY Kathryn Wylie

Ben-Lunn Composer

Two Aberdeenshire music groups are teaming up in a new musical venture to produce a year-long music project, which will begin in lockdown.

Aberdeenshire Saxophone Orchestra and Ugie Voices will work in harmony for the first time as part of a nationwide Adopt a Music Creator Project, funded by Making Music. The former, set up 11 years ago and now boasting more than 25 members from across the region, reunited briefly in person at Inverurie’s East Aquhorthies stone circle for a special socially-distanced music video during lockdown.

Now, members led by Richard Ingham, are embracing the added spare time Covid-19 has awarded them once again, by collaborating with Ugie Voices, formed as Peterhead Choral Society 150 years ago, and its director James Campbell.

Together they’ve applied for the Music Creator project, an initiative which pairs leisure-time music groups with mentors, to create a special piece of music and voice. The orchestra’s chairwoman, Foss Foster, said: “Singing and saxophone playing are considered the most risky musical activities during Covid-19. So rather than sit back and wait for it to go away, the two groups got together and applied for Making Music’s Adopt a Music Creator project.”

At an online ceremony, due to have been held in London, the two groups were paired up with award-winning Ayrshire composer Ben Lunn for the next 12 months. “The Adopt a Music Creator project brings together music groups and music creators to collaborate on creating a brand new piece of music,”

Ms Foster added. “The project pairs leisure-time music groups with a music creator for a year, culminating in a premiere performance, a recording and a possible radio broadcast. “And although the virus lockdown makes real-life rehearsals almost impossible the groups are already working with Mr Lunn towards creating a piece of music, perfected through online practice session, that will “belong to Aberdeenshire”.

Ms Foster added: “Zoom rehearsing does offer some advantages in spite of the obvious limitations. There is no travelling required, bad weather is not a consideration, no venues need hiring, multiple virtual rooms can be used for detailed practice, there is still fun, plenty of music, social contact and the list goes on.

“The two groups mean to take every advantage of the situation as it is and work towards creating a special piece of new music that belongs to Aberdeenshire.” Anyone interest in joining either group can search @Aberdeenshiresaxorchestra or @Ugievoices on Facebook.


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