INVERNESS’S Eden Court theatre will be taken over by north youngsters this Saturday, March 12, for a day devoted to new musical talent.
The festival will host over 300 young musicians taking part in the Highland regional youth group’s annual concerts festival.
Eight youth groups will take part, performing in a variety of styles from classical to ceilidh, by way of jazz and pop.
"We take it a little for granted, but it’s certainly unique. Nobody else does quite what we do, and having just had a rehearsal, the standard is just mindblowing," Highland Council music development officer Norman Bolton said.
The festival will open with a performance of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony by Highland Regional Youth Orchestra under the baton of conductor Chris George, at 2.30pm.
This opening performance will be followed by performances by Highland Youth Choir, traditional music from ‘snas and Còisir G, and continues into the evening with a percussion ensemble at 6pm followed by Highland Youth Pipe Band, Highland Youth String Orchestra and Highland Youth Big Band.
The festival will end with a set from the Highland Youth Wind Band, who are also competing in the final of the Scottish Concert Band Festival in Perth Concert Hall on Sunday March 20.
The eight Highland Regional Music Groups are organised and run by Highland Council as an extension to the work of its instrumental tuition service. Membership for all groups is by invitation after an audition day held in May each year and some of the musicians are also members of national instrumental ensembles.
"That’s something unique as well, the range of options for the kids to be involved in at this really high level and we don’t seem to have a problem filling the spaces we have available," Bolton added.
"Numbers, even across the whole instrumental tuition service before they get to this level are pretty stable, which is all good.
"We have special guests this time, just to add a bit of variety, including a group from Culloden Academy called the Rolling Drones. They are a band I heard by chance when I was up at the school and they all happen to be members of other young musicians’ groups, and the pipe band have some special guest dancers to work alongside them, so it is a really variety of styles and genres."
The concert is the highlight of the year for the young performers, and as well as friends and relations of the performers, attracts other music lovers who know they will be entertained to a high standard.
After that, Bolton and his colleagues can start planning for next year.
"We are changing the rehearsal schedule and so forth, but we are still very lucky that we can go ahead with this activity, which is good in so many ways, not just the music, but on social an intellectual level as well," he said.
• Festival entry, costs £10 for 18 years and over and £5 for children. This allows ticket holders to come and go throughout the day. Bookings can be made via Eden Court’s box office.
More information about all of the groups can be found at www.highland-young-musicians.com