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Caithness News Bulletins November 2003

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The Traditional Musicians In Schools project run by Fèis Rois is continuing to sweep through primary schools throughout Scotland this winter with the Caithness area next to be visited.

Fèis Rois, a Highland traditional arts organisation, has carried out a very successful year of the Traditional Musicians In Schools scheme; funded by the Scottish Arts Council, it forms part of the Scottish Executive’s National Cultural Strategy. The scheme has been a resounding success with nearly 6500 children having received a visit so far.

The TMIS scheme offers Primary schools all over Scotland a free exciting one-off musical performance workshop from a dynamic duo or trio. Each school visited this season will have little or no existing provision of traditional Scottish music.

By directly working hand in hand with Local Education Authorities and music advisors, the two-year programme will continue to deliver free one-hour performance visits to both Primary 6 and 7 pupils from local musicians. Additionally, schools receive a local traditional music resource list to assist and encourage traditional arts follow-on activity. The overall aim is to make each school visit as beneficial, meaningful and enjoyable as possible, by recruiting experienced and accomplished musicians to give lively performances. The children are encouraged to ask any questions they may have about instruments, songs, traditional language and music, and to participate in uplifting singing or dancing.

The group will visit 17 Primary schools over a six-day period beginning at the end of November. The visits will take place in the following areas; Wick, Thurso, Reay, Halkirk, Castletown, Dunnet, Bowermadden, Keiss, Watten, Thrumster, Lybster and Dunbeath. It is estimated that 900 children will benefit from the experience.

The visits will be conducted by a very experienced team being led by acclaimed local musician Addie Harper. He will be accompanied by fiddler Claire Campbell, singer Maeve Mackinnon and harpist and singer Kathleen Graham.

Addie Harper, underlined the importance of the visits by saying,

“This is a great opportunity for local children to hear traditional music written by great Scottish composers. Every child should have the right to listen to and participate in traditional Scottish music. I commend Fèis Rois for allowing the children this opportunity and it’s great that each and every child won’t have to pay a penny.”