Congratulations to Tolbooth who have been nominated in Venue of the Year in the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2014. Vote now!
We asked Carolyn Paterson of Tolbooth the following questions.
Tell us about yourself
The Tolbooth is a hub for music across the Stirling area, with a year round quality programme that has a strong focus on traditional music – it is a Stirling Council run venue . The arts programme
also includes trad, jazz, songwriting for young people, classes for adults including fiddle and song. Fèis Fhiort also run trad music classes in a range of instruments for over 80 young people at the Tolbooth. We also run one off events such as our Day of Song.
As well as with Fèis Fhoirt, the Tolbooth team work with other organisations including Hands up for Trad – Distil has been promoted annually. There is also work with other Council Services, in particular Education (Creative Learning), who run the weekly trad workshops in the Tolbooth, offering fiddle, guitar and whistle from Lori Watson, Innes Watson and Claire Mann.
The biggest outreach project currently is the Stirling Schools Scots Song project which has successfully been developed over 6 years by the Carolyn Paterson from the Tolbooth and singer Amy Lord and has reached over 2,000 children. Led by Amy, working with children in their schools , each project culminates with the children performing their songs to friends and family in the Tolbooth. Professional musicians- Paul McKenna, Siobhan Miller, Fiona Hunter amongst them – perform as part of the concert to the children and parents . For many it is their first experience of ‘live’ performance.
The list of trad musicians and bands who have performed here through the years is a significant list, not just from Scotland, but from the rest of the UK, Ireland, America and beyond.
We have had 2 musicians in residence, one of whom was fiddle maestro, Aidan O’Rourke. The Tolbooth also commissions new music, and indeed Aidan has premiered 3 works here, 2 as part of his residency, and one to mark the 10th anniversary of the re-opening of the Tolbooth., The Golden Steps ‘
This year to mark the 700th anniversary of The Battle of Bannockburn we commissioned The Bruce 700 by piper Allan MacDonald, and arranged by Neil Johnstone. The premiere took place in June 2014 in The Albert Halls, Stirling, and we are delighted it is to be performed again at Celtic Connections in 2015. The Bruce 700 followed an earlier commission by Allan in 2005, namely Wallace 700.
Why are you involved in Scottish music?
The Tolbooth has always included a significant element of Scottish music as a vital element of its programming -which has proved very popular with its audience. We also help nurture young talent in the Stirling area, by offering learning and performance opportunities. Some who have taken part in activities here have gone on to study traditional music, including Craig Muirhead, Siobhan Anderson, Sarah Macneil and Michael Ferrie.
Any particular career highlights?
The first gig I ever promoted personally was very
special, with headliner Relativity (Phil and Johnny Cunningham and Micheal and Triona O’Domhnaill) with support from harp duo Sileas in the late 80s. I never imagined then programming a venue, It is indeed a great privilege to bring some of the very best music to the people of Stirling (and outwith).
The commission The Bruce 700 was a major highlight, bringing together a 60 strong ensemble, featuring many of Scotland’s top professional musicians which included all 3 MacDonald brothers, together with the
Stirling and District Schools Pipe Band and No More Cages, the senior group of those who attend our trad music workshops as well as members of the Stirling Gaelic choir.
Also, the Muckle Song project, bringing together all 4 schools who took part in the Stirling Schools Scots Song project as a special Stirling 2014 event – over 350 children singing together led by Amy Lord… delighted that this project has also been nominated for the community award at the Trads…
Also, we’ve had some mighty gigs… hard to pick out highlights through
the years, but Blazin’ Fiddles and Fiddlers Bid would be up there along with an electric gig from Treacherous Orchestra – Lau, Aly Bain with Ale Moller and Bruce Molsky, Chris Stout and Catriona MacKay, Mairearad and Anna… outwith Scotland Peggy Seeger, Paul Brady and Northumberland Voices were particular favourites…
What are your plans for the future?
We hope to continue on every level – with the performances, with the
education opportunities, with the projects and commissions – encouraging and nurturing talent across all ages and offering a quality programme which inspires and stimulates.
On the trad front – Looking forward to the rest of the year, with The Poozies, Fred Morrison, Anais Mitchell, Roddy Woomble and the Peatbog Faeries coming up, and 2015 already looking good – with confirmed dates already in the diary for…
Rant, McGoldrick, McCusker & Doyle, Salt House, Mairearad & Anna,
Distil, Rura, Kris Drever & Boo Hewerdine,
Gavin Marwick’s Journeyman, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, Peggy
Seeger with Callum and Neil MacColl, Lau, Treacherous Orchestra, Cruinn, Shine and Braebach…
Just doing our best to support our wonderful performers and Keep Music Live!
Buy a ticket for the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards on Saturday 13th December in Inverness Leisure, start time 7pm. You’ll have a great time!