IF you go down to Eden Court next month, you are in for a big surprise...
For a teddy bears’ picnic at the theatre is just one of the attractions promised by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) as part of its week long Highland residency.
The Big Residency, the RSNO’s all ages celebration of music-making, runs from Monday 31st March to Saturday 5th April and will include cross-community performances, workshops, interactive sessions and a full symphonic concert at Eden Court.
Since the launch of the RSNO’s engagement programme RSNO Engage last year, the orchestra has continued to build on its relationships with communities across Scotland.
RSNO musicians have been working with young musicians from Inverness-shire, Wick, Thurso, Skye and Aberdeenshire since last September, while over the last eight months RSNO players have been in residency in the Highlands offering open masterclasses for wind and string musicians aged 16 to 18.
The Big Residency will showcase this ongoing work in a series of composition workshops and performances.
RSNO musicians, including principal trombone Dávur Juul Magnussen, will be visiting schools across the area to lead a series of workshops from improvisation.
For an even younger age group, the RSNO’s critically-acclaimed Teddy Bears’ Picnic performances for three to five year-olds come to Inverness for the first time on Wednesday 2nd April. Wednesday also features performances for early school-years children and their families, with Steve and His Seriously Tall Ladder, again at Eden Court.
Vocal ensemble Boys United is a brand new initiative for the north of Scotland, helping young male singers develop their ability before their voices change. Christopher Bell, director of the RSNO Junior Chorus, will visit participating schools to prepare the young singers for a day of practical exercises and informal performances at Eden Court’s Empire Theatre on Thursday 3rd April.
RSNO musicians have also been collaborating with performers from Eden Court Community Dance Company and from Cashback for Creativity, and the result, RSNO Remix, will receive its première on Friday 4th April at Eden Court, bringing together remixed classical music, digital animation and contemporary dance.
The same day will see the theatre host a full symphonic RSNO concert featuring Vaughan Williams’ Fifth Symphony alongside works by Berlioz and Stravinsky under conductor Jean-Claude Picard.
"I was excited when I was offered the chance to conduct the RSNO for a concert as part of the Big Residency week," Picard said.
"We have a great programme for you, featuring the orchestra in all its splendour. I’m very much looking forward to sharing this music, in this excellent venue of yours that is Eden Court."
Musicians and singers from the local area will join the RSNO on Saturday 5th April for RSNO Collaborate, a day of coaching and guidance, culminating in an informal performance at Eden Court.
Further afield, the RSNO Big Band will be performing the RSNO Tea Dance in Kingussie’s Badenoch Centre on Saturday 5th April from 1pm.
At the same time, but back in Inverness, the RSNO Baroque Ensemble will be performing Baroque Fireworks at Inverness Town House.
"A power of work has already been undertaken over the past 10 months, with our musicians becoming an ever-increasing part of the musical community of the Highland region," RSNO director of learning and engagement Jenn Minchin said.
"The Big Residency week serves as an opportunity to showcase our work so far, as we fully intend to continue our relationships with the new connections we have made in the north of Scotland. On behalf of all participants I look forward to welcoming you to our public events from the 31st March."
RSNO Highland Residency 2014
Monday 31st March/Tuesday 1st April — workshops at various schools.
Wednesday 2nd April — 10am and 11.30am, Eden Court: Teddy Bears Picnic for 3 to 5 years)
— 1.30pm and 4pm, Eden Court: Steve and his Seriously Tall Ladder (for Primary One and Two)
Thursday 3rd April — 10am to 2pm, Eden Court: Boys United
Friday 4th April— 6pm, Eden Court: RSNO Remix performance
— 8pm, Eden Court: RSNO in Concert
Saturday 5th April — 10am to 5pm, Eden Court: RSNO Collaborate
— 1pm, Inverness Town House: RSNO Baroque Group
— 1pm, Badenoch Centre, Kingussie: RSNO Tea Dance
— 1pm, Inverness Town House: Baroque Fireworks
— 6pm, Eden Court: RSNO Collaborate performance