Youngsters get a shot at National Youth Orchestra

Some of the Raploch youngsters
Some of the Raploch youngsters
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Ten youngsters from a children’s orchestra set up in one of the most deprived parts of Scotland have won places in one of the nation’s most prestigious music organisations.

The National Youth Orchestras of Scotland has awarded the places to the students from the Sistema Scotland group set up in the Raploch estate in Stirling only five years ago.

Based on the hugely successful El Sistema programme said to have helped transform the lives of hundreds of youngsters in Venezuela, the Scottish charity only recently announced plans to expand to a second location in the Govan area of Glasgow.

Further groups are planned across the country, with the family of the late singer-songwriter Michael Marra hoping one will be set up in his memory in his native Dundee.

A joint announcement said the successful auditions for the Raploch youngsters was aimed at being the first phase of a “very long and prosperous partnership” between the two organisations.

Formed in 1979, the NYOS has given birth to a host of big names in the music world, including violinist Nicola Benedetti, percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and conductor Garry Walker.

Six students from Sistema Scotland’s “Big Noise” programme will get the chance to join the new NYOS’s new junior orchestra, with a further four signing up for the NYOS’s string training course.

Major gala concerts are planned at the Sage Centre in Gateshead and Perth Concert Hall over the next few months.

NYOS chief executive Joan Gibson said: “Both organisations share many goals and aspirations and by working collaboratively we hope to provide clear educational pathways from grassroots right through to pre-professional level for Scotland’s talented young musicians, for years to come.”

Nicola Killean, chief executive of Sistema Scotland, said: “We have always been working hard to provide the children with the very best musical opportunities.

“NYOS has always been high on our list, so we are absolutely delighted to see this first group of children make it through auditions successfully. They will not be the last.”