Dundee Sistema Scotland orchestra campaign launches

THE campaign to bring a Sistema Scotland orchestra to Dundee will be officially launched tonight at a sell-out concert in the city.

The drive to establish the life changing music project in the city is being led by the family of Michael Marra, the legendary “Bard of Dundee” who had been pursuing his dream of bringing the Sistema music charity to Dundee in the months before his death in October last year.

The acclaimed singer-songwriter, who had shared the stage with artists ranging from Van Morrison to the Proclaimers, died at the age of 60, after a long battle against cancer.

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Hollywood star Brian Cox and members of Snow Patrol, Deacon Blue and Danny Wilson are among a group of high-profile musicians and artists from Dundee who have already ledged their support for the campaign.

And tonight at the concert in an art gallery at Dundee’s Abertay University the organisers of the campaign will ask the capacity audience to sign a postcard sharing how music has changed their lives – and then send them to Dundee City Council, asking for its support.

Tonight’s concert will feature performances by Riley Briggs, from Aberfeldy, Rick Redbeard from the Phantom Band, and Mr Marra’s daughter Alice.

Clare Brennan, curator of the Hannah Maclure Centre at Abertay University, said: “Abertay University is delighted to be hosting this launch event for the campaign to bring a Sistema Scotland orchestra to Dundee. The impact of the project for future generations in the city would be absolutely incredible.

“As Dundee prepares its strong bid for UK City of Culture 2017 it’s clear that projects like Sistema Scotland can reach out right across our city, and leave an amazing cultural legacy.”

Alice Marra said the campaign was already gaining momentum. And she continued: “Sistema Scotland offers an incredible opportunity to young people and my dad was really keen to encourage the project to be brought to Dundee.

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“The fact that we can raise awareness of our appeal through an evening of music set amongst Vince’s work is really special. For me, it really honours my dad and Vince’s friendship in a meaningful way.”

The appeal has already raised in excess of £12,000, with more fundraising activities planned.

The Sistema project was originally established in Venezuela and the first Scottish branch of the project was set up in the Raploch area of Stirling in 2008 .