Over 60 music students and staff the University of the Highlands and Islands BA (Hons) Applied Music course will gather in Shetland for a three day residential from 27 November to 1 December entitled ‘Shetland – A Celebration’.

Now in its second year of delivery, this innovative music degree has attracted students from all over Scotland and beyond who are able to study online and in their own communities, including six local students based in Mareel.

Four times per year, students meet at a different location throughout Scotland, to explore a range of musical and cultural heritage and participate in performances and educational workshops. Having played at concerts at Celtic Connections and at locations including Inverness and Benbecula, this group of students bring together all types of musical styles including trad, folk, jazz, rock, and classical.

As part of this first Shetland residency students will engage in a variety of community outreach activity including workshops in percussion, arranging, composition and traditional music with students in Mid Yell, Whalsay, Aith, Brae, Sandwick and Anderson High Schools. Short early evening Twilight Performances, which are free and open to the public, will be held at St Columba’s Church, Lerwick on Thursday 28th at 6pm, and Mid Yell and Symbister schools on Friday 29th at 5pm.

The weekend’s activities will culminate in a Gala Performance in Mareel, which was recently nominated for Venue of the Year in the Scots Trad Awards, on Saturday 30th 7.30pm (tickets £10/8). Led by local musicians Peter Wood and Margaret Scollay, who are both students on the BA Applied Music course, this concert will include a programme sets by the visiting students, local group Tunester, and students from Anderson High, all in tribute to Shetland’s music and to the legacy of Peerie Willie Johnson. The performance will also feature new music from students inspired by the landscape and culture of Uist.

Students performing

Some of the students performing at Celtic Connections

Margaret Scollay, who has recently been nominated as Tutor of the Year in the Scot’s Trad Music Awards, said: “I'm very excited that Shetland is hosting the BA Applied Music students for this residency. There's a great line up of events with opportunities for the public to hear some of our work. I'm sure the students will have a great time and learn more about our Islands and heritage during their stay.”

Anna Wendy Stevenson, Course Leader, said: “Students and staff have very much been looking forward to our Shetland visit – and we are delighted to have the opportunity to perform at one of the UK’s cutting edge venues.”

Bryan Peterson, Shetland Arts Music Development Officer and course tutor, said: “It promises to be a hectic weekend of music, with all the schools workshops and public performances all over Shetland. It’ll be a job to get it all squeezed in, but great fun for the students and public!”

Tickets for ‘Shetland – A Celebration’, the Gala Concert in Mareel on Saturday 30 November with doors at 7pm, cost £10 / £8 and can be booked via Shetland Box Office in Mareel and Islesburgh, over the phone on 01595 745 555, or online at shetlandboxoffice.org and mareel.org. Anyone wishing to attend the short Twilight Performances in Yell, Whalsay, and/or Lerwick, can just turn up on the night to gain free entry.

Find out more about the BA (Hons) Applied Music degree here. Find out more about studying music in Mareel here. Keep up with the BA Applied Music Facebook page, regularly updated with information on performances and residencies, here.

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