Summer Concert 2019

Summer Concert 2019

As always, our summer concert is a much-anticipated event for the orchestra and our community, and this year certainly did not disappoint. We had a packed and exciting program for all those who came to hear us in Ayr Town Hall. All the orchestra’s hard work and dedication over the past two years was perfectly showcased on its stage and the feeling of pride amongst the players and the wider AFO family was immense.

There were many fantastic moments musically and emotionally that night but a major highlight was getting to hear the debut of a Japanese folk song from the orchestra. As always, we like to take a piece of music on tour that has roots in where we are going and the audience was treated to the piece ‘Furusato – My Hometown’, which is a children’s song from 1914.

A rather emotional highlight of the night would be the preview of the air, the Lament for the Children of Hiroshima (comp. H. McFarlane, arr. W. Galbraith & D.Moore) played beautifully by our leader Mia Walsingham. We look forward to having the honour, of not only, of being the first to play music in the Shukkeien and Hiroshima Peace Gardens, but to have the opportunity in the spirit of peace, to play and present this piece of music not only on behalf of the Orchestra but for Scotland.

“I felt honoured to be playing a piece of music that has such a strong message behind it. While playing it my mind wasn’t on the notes of the page or the people in the audience but on what the music stood for.” – Mia

Mia Walsingham playing the lament with our origami cranes to the side.

Let us not forget the amazing debut of our new AFO choir and their wonderful first performance, singing ‘There Was a Lad’ and our new rendition of Skye Boat Song (Outlander Style!), accompanied by the rest of the orchestra. We are excited to hear more from them on tour and also continue hearing their wonderful voices back home in future concerts.

Our AFO Choir

Alice Ridley had the whole building in awe of her Irish dancing skills. It was a stunning performance with a well deserved cheer from the crowd. We are very much looking forward to her future performances across Japan.

Alice Ridley – Irish Dancer

“So excited to be dancing on tour for the second time. The summer concert gave a hint of what dancing to audiences back home is like, and couldn’t be more excited to dance to audiences in Japan now!” – Alice.

Aside from our musical highlights, the concert was filled with poignant presentations and meaningful speeches. We were very grateful that our Provost Helen Moonie could be with us but also joined us on stage with a moving speech of support for our young people and their efforts to bring people together and promote peaceful solidarity through music.

Provost Helen Moonie

The Orchestra was incredibly fortunate to have the Japanese Consul General Nozomu Takaoka be with us for the fourth time, but this time delighted to hear the whole orchestra play. He delivered a moving speech about the significance of the Lament and our future playing in Hiroshima.

Japanese Consul General Nozomu Takaoka

In recent years the orchestra has rewarded a player with the ‘Director’s Award’ that is earned by a player showing great dedication to the group and essentially demonstrating what it means to be part of our ‘AFO Family’. At the concert, it was awarded by the directors to Luke Duncan.

“It was a great honour and an amazing surprise to receive the director’s award. The fiddle orchestra has given me so many fantastic opportunities, and I can’t thank everybody enough. It is a real pleasure to be involved with this incredible orchestra.” – Luke

During our concert, the audience and orchestra got to witness a moving moment that we are sure will remain in our hearts forever. The Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra was made official Peace Ambassadors through the charity World Peace Tartan, through Victor Spence it’s the creator. The orchestra has been gifted this beautiful and meaningful tartan to spread the message of peace wherever we and our music go. We also had the privilege to present Provost Helen Moonie and Mr. Takaoka the Japanese Consul General with the peace tartan scarfs. Other ambassadors of this wonderful social enterprise include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Dalai Lama, Chris Hadfield, and Arun Gandhi.

Victor Spence presenting David Moore (Musical Director) with our Peace Ambassador certificate.

“Cultural exchanges and the performing and sharing of music are all contributions to building a culture of peace and we are so proud to be doing this in our lives through Scottish traditional music.” – David Moore, Musical Director.

So with our Summer Concert finished we now look forward to what we are sure will be a trip of a life time to Japan. All of us are incredibly excited to bring the same energy and musicality with us on our Rising Sun Tour and we are all incredibly grateful for your ongoing support which allows us be ambassadors of Scotland while showing off how hard we work all year round. We look forward to seeing you all when we come back!

                        Sayōnara, soshite arigatō!

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