Over 100 young musicians took part in the first East Lothian Council Instrumental Music Service’s Secondary Ensemble event to be held in three years.

The young people came together in Knox Academy, Haddington, for an intensive weekend of rehearsals involving the East Lothian Council Secondary Schools Piping Corp, Wind Band, String Orchestra and Guitar Ensemble. The event on 13 and 14 November finished with an inspiring informal concert to a packed audience of parents and carers in Knox Academy’s main hall. It marked the first time that ensemble rehearsals and a concert were held over a full weekend.

East Lothian Council’s Instrumental Music Service Team Manager, Jonathan Gawn, commented “It was an amazing opportunity to bring these ensembles together under the tutelage of the full Instrumental Instruction team. Having not had authority ensembles in almost three years, we weren’t sure how the young musicians would respond to six hours of rehearsal and a concert in a day and half but every single ensemble ended up playing an additional piece as the young people coped so well with the repertoire. What the young people achieved was quite simply incredible!”

Supportive and encouraging music lessons

Knox Academy S1 pupil Anwen McInnes was one of the young people taking part in the weekend. Anwen said: “I really enjoyed playing with other people who are more experienced than me. I went into the weekend not knowing any of the music and came out having learnt three new pieces. I love having my music lessons in school with my violin teacher who helps me progress and learn.”

Anwen’s Mum Kelly McInnes added: “I saw Anwen’s confidence grow over the weekend.  She really benefits from playing with others and all of the pieces sounded fantastic by the end of the weekend.  I have been really impressed with the lessons and range of opportunities offered through the Council’s Instrumental Music Service and how supportive and encouraging all the teachers are.”

Superb ambassadors for schools

Mr Ewing Lauder, Upper Strings Instructor, in the Prestonpans and Haddington Clusters, commented “The most amazing thing for the Instruction Team was to see was the enthusiasm and professionalism from the young people throughout the weekend. They really excelled themselves and were superb ambassadors for their respective schools. It was particularly inspiring for us on the first day to see the young people all sat down, on time, with their music and instruments ready to go. That really set the tone for the weekend and you can hear the results the young musicians achieved for yourselves on our recordings”

All of the concerts are available to view online via the Instrumental Music Service’s Youtube Channel or on the following links:

String Orchestra

Wind Band

Guitar Ensemble


Published: Wednesday, 30th November 2022