Nicola Benedetti takes time out to pose for South Ayrshire pupils
Scores of pupils from schools across South Ayrshire have been treated to a musical masterclass from International violin virtuoso, Nicola Benedetti. The session was part of an Ayrshire wide event designed to celebrate the work of Robert Burns.
71 young people from South Ayrshire made up part of the 250 strong crop of budding musicians that gathered at the Grand Hall in Kilmarnock for an inspirational 'String Day' event. The young musicians, from East, North, and South Ayrshire brought a variety of violins, various violas, several cellos, and even a double bass.
Guest artist Karen Powell led a series of workshops and master classes alongside string teaching staff from schools across Ayrshire. Nicola Benedetti made her special appearance during the afternoon rehearsals and young musicians had the unique opportunity to play alongside the global star.
Pupils performed two new musical arrangements based on Scots Traditional Burns tunes Red Red Rose and Deil's Awa wi' the Exciseman, which were commissioned for the workshops by Scottish composer Stephen Adams.
Nicola said, "Ayrshire's my home county, where I grew up and where I received my first six years of musical experiences. I have so much love for the people and music-making in Ayrshire and am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a large group of students. We must protect music education in Ayrshire, and continue to fund the free tuition currently on offer.
"Music helps us communicate with each other and deal with all the invisible elements of life. This is a necessary investment into the wellbeing of our society. I am filled with gratitude towards each and every teacher spending their time with the complex and beautiful world of music and passing it onto the next generation."
Douglas Hutchison, Director of Educational Services, South Ayrshire Council, said, "We're proud to be supporting an event which we hope will mark the start of a varied career in music for our young people.
"We're sure all those attending will be inspired by one of the UK's finest musicians, with the session providing a fantastic opportunity to learn from the best.
"We will continue to give pupils the chance to get involved in events like this, which helps young people fulfil their great potential."
The event was jointly organised by Instrumental Music Services staff at East, North and South Ayrshire Councils and generously funded by the Ayrshire Music Festival. The day ended with a short concert to share the day's activities with parents and families.