RSNO Chorus: Sacred Music

Sunday June 21, 2015

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I sing. I love singing. Ella Fitzgerald said that the only thing better than singing was more singing. We can all do it and should do more of it simply because it makes us happy. I have sung previously for Her Maj and the Queen of Denmark. I've sung in the White House for a US President; in Hong Kong for the last Governor-General; in Ottawa for Canada's parliament and Prime Minister. Singing has taken me to the Sydney Opera House and war-torn Jerusalem, and next year, hopefully, will take me to China.

On Saturday, 27th June, I'll pass a glorious Saturday night with the RSNO Chorus singing Durufle’s Requiem in St Mary's Cathedral on Great Western Road, and I hope you'll be able to join us. You won't be disappointed. Religious choral music can deliver unique spiritual beauty far beyond earthly prejudices.

Durufle's Requiem emerged from the embittering stresses and tensions of Nazi occupied Paris in the early 1940s. It was commissioned by the collaborating Vichy government. But its nine short movements were only completed three years after liberation as Paris made peace with itself to regain its place as the city of light and love.

The 100-strong chorus will be conducted by our recently appointed Musical Director, Gregory Batsleer, and accompanied by Steven McIntyre on the splendid St. Mary’s organ. The programme also provides a trio of beautiful motets by Anton Bruckner.

Whatever this wonderful concert delivers, it underscores Glasgow's prestigious legacy in choral singing. The RSNO Chorus evolved from the Glasgow Choral Union, formed in 1843 to sing the first full performance of Handel’s Messiah in Scotland. Almost 50 years passed before Scotland’s national orchestra was officially founded and chorus and orchestra still perform The Messiah every year on January 2nd.

Remember there are over 100 choral groups in Glasgow and, in this our 20th Festival, there are around 25 singing groups participating – virtually a whole festival in its own right. Glasgow Youth Choir conductor, Audrey McKirdy, ran a magnificent singing workshop for kids over the first WEF2015 weekend at Hillhead Library. That same weekend the City of Glasgow Chorus, directed by Graham Taylor, performed the Faure Requiem, alongside other choral classics, at Hyndland Parish Church.

The Mackintosh Choir, featuring John Rutter, performed to a standing room only audience on 14th June, and, over the past couple of weeks, we’ve enjoyed Gospel, Russian, Chamber, A Cappella, Barbershop and Evensong, as well as the Harry Ensemble from London ….. and still lots more to look forward to .... just as Ella said. The only thing better than singing is more singing.

RSNO Chorus performs Maurice Durufle's Requiem at St Mary's Cathedral, Great Western Road, Glasgow on Saturday June 27th.

 

Liz Scobie, Festival Chairman

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Iain Forbes plus guests 'King of Birds' and 'Chloe Marie'

Saturday June 20, 2015

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Iain has dazzled audiences at many festivals and music venues around the UK with his multi-styled guitar playing from the Royal Concert Hall to the SECC. One reviewer even want as far as to say, “One of the best Guitarists I've ever seen, Iain combines an astonishing talent with a huge range of musical tastes - and a refreshing lack of self-importance”.

So head on down to CC Music tomorrow (21st June) for a special performance by an astonishingly talented guitarist featuring special guests. Supported by song writing brothers ‘King of Birds' and the soulful and majestic 'Chloe Marie'.

To see Iain perform his famous "Weejie Jig" click here

 

 

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West End Festival by Subway (Part 1 of 4)

Friday June 19, 2015

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Image courtesy of SPT

 

The West End Festival is in full swing capturing the imagination of participants and visitors in the West End of Glasgow. With over 400 events in 80 venues the WEF is enjoying yet another successful year as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Attending a variety of performances across different venues, many visitors to the city and indeed the west end rely upon Glasgow’s Subway during the festival. With events surrounding four west end subway stations including Kelvinbridge, Hillhead, Kelvinhall and Partick, this is your guide to what is going on near each station and when!

 

Websters Theatre

Formerly the Lansdowne Parish Church this beautiful and exquisite building is now playing a key role in the WEF with a capacity of 190 people.  A prominent Glasgow landmark, Websters Theatre has plenty more events scheduled for the festival including -

Elaine C Smith and Christina Dunwoodie: Torch Song Divas

The fabulous voices of Torch Song Divas Elaine C Smith and Christina Dunwoodie combine the earthiness of soul, blues and jazz with the lyricism of classical opera as they take a witty look at the eternal themes of love, loss, betrayal and survival that form the beating (and sometimes bleeding) heart of these great musical traditions.

Friday 19 Jun 8:00 pm / Saturday 20 Jun 8:00 pm Tickets - £15

 

Little Bat Productions: Speaking In Tongues

Little Bat Productions present an intriguing drama by the acclaimed Australian playwright Andrew Bovell and directed by Una McDade.

Nine parallel lives where contracts are broken between intimates while bonds are forged between strangers. With one missing person and four marriages entangled in a web of love, deceit, sex and death; who will survive?

Wed 24th Jun 7:30 pm / Thursday 25th Jun 7:30pm / Friday 26th Jun 7:30pm

Tickets £12 (con. £10) in advance or online or from 0141 357 4000.  Plus booking fee £1

 

St Mary’s Cathedral

St Marys Cathedral, located on Great Western Road, is another visually stunning and breath-taking piece of architecture.  Situated in the West End of Glasgow, this elegant venue and WEF partner have upcoming events such as…

Dunbartonshire Concert Band: “A Slice of Summer”

The award-winning Dunbartonshire Concert Band are delighted to return to the West End Festival this year. Join them for a slice of summer music. Come along and hear some of your favourite tunes from popular and light classics to music from the movies and the musicals. DCB have been delighting audiences for over 40 years – our concerts are always fun, entertaining and guaranteed to get your toes tapping!

Friday 19 Jun 7:30pm – Tickets £6 at the door

 

RSNO Chorus: Sacred Music

Join the RSNO Chorus with conductor Gregory Batsleer and organist Steven McIntyre for an evening of Sacred Music. Enjoy a rare performance in the beautiful setting of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral of Durufle’s Requiem and motets by Anton Bruckner including Christus Factus Est, Locus Iste and Ave Maria. 

Saturday 27 Jun 7:30pm

Tickets £12 (con £8) from 01412253553 or email or at the door

 

St Silas Church

Another Glasgow landmark, St Silas Church plays host to a variety of events during the festival.  The upcoming ‘Da Capo Alba In Concert’ will certainly appeal to all!

Lanarkshire Guitar and Mandolin Association: Da Capo Alba In Concert

This is an opportunity to hear Scotland's premier mandolin and guitar orchestra in concert. Da Capo Alba have been regular performers at the West End Festival in recent years. Conducted by Barbara Pommerenke-Steel, Da Capo Alba play a range of musical styles from Baroque and Classical to Ragtime and Latin American.

Saturday 20th Jun 7:30pm

Tickets £8 (£6 concessions) in advance from the Lanakrshire Guitar & Mandolin Assosicaation (LGMA) or at the door from 7.10pm.

 

Holyrood Crescent

A charming and alluring area, Holyrood Crescent continues its annual event to entertain all of the family!

Holyrood Pleasure GardensSummer Fête

Come to the Holyrood Pleasure Gardens annual summer fête there is fun for all the family in these beautiful private gardens.

Live music, burgers, curries, cake stall, tombola, bouncy castle, face painting and loads of other fun for kids of all ages!  Plus bric a brac and book stalls.

Saturday 20th Jun 1:30 pm till 4.30pm 

Adults £1.50 on the gate. Children free

 

Kelvinbridge Station has many venues and events located on its door step including The Stand (Comedy Club), Munro’s and Christo’s Gallery.  With plenty more still on offer, find out information about all events online!

 

Next Stop: Hillhead Station

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Gaelic: The Second Hour!

Thursday June 18, 2015

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The event was located in Wellington Church, providing a graceful and elegant atmosphere for the workshop.

Upon entry I sat down with a mixed crowd of young and old interested in honing their language techniques.  Derek advised me that although my knowledge in Gaelic was minimal I would be able to gain something from this event.  Titled ‘Second stage mutations in the dependant mood’ this presentation considered the use of verbs with handouts to go along.

 A gentle step by step approach with audience participation ensured that no one could escape without getting involved.  This technique allowed each person to tune their pronunciation in a warm and encouraging atmosphere.   With word games and audience engagement this ensured a proactive approach into learning the fascinating language of Gaelic and within twenty minutes of the presentation I found myself speaking Gaelic.  I believe that anyone with an interest in language studies or Gaelic would benefit from Derek’s approach.

With Derek’s passion for teaching language and unique style of delivery, I found myself not only enjoying the event but learning Gaelic in a short period of time and before I knew it the session was over.  As the workshop concluded I was able to differentiate between verbs and speak various phrases of Gaelic, something that very morning I never thought would happen.  After the workshop concluded I spoke to Derek and it was clear to me the passion he has for his art and I would encourage people of all levels to attend.

No stranger to the West End Festival, Derek has been providing workshops and presentations since 1999.  As a language and accent specialist, his work with the WEF has a varied over the years.  His first workshop discussed the difference between Scottish and English accents and continued the following year.  In 2001 he discussed the Polish language and more recently in 2013 he discussed the language of Mandarin with simple conversation.  In future WEF events he told me he is looking into discussing the ways in which politicians use language to cosy up to voters which is sure to be of interest to many.

If you didn’t get the chance to attend Gaelic: The Second Hour there will be another presentation at Wellington Church on the 23rd of June at 1:00pm (FREE ENTRY).

To find out more information and future workshops by Dereck here.

 

Andrew Stewart

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Meet The Torch Song Divas

Thursday June 18, 2015

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The torch song divas, Elaine C Smith and Christina Dunwoodie bring their newest show to the West End Festival where opera meets jazz for a witty take on classical operatic themes of love, loss and betrayal. The event is produced in collaboration with design director of Primavoce, Annette Gillies. Primavoce is a company spearheaded by artistic director Dunwoodie which uses music, opera, theatre, dance, visual arts and mixed media to bring opera classics to younger and more diverse audiences.

Christina began her career in opera as a singer, studying at the Opera School of the RSAMD in Barcelona. She has an international career as a soloist in opera (Scottish Opera and English National Opera in the UK), concert and oratorio and made her opera debut in Germany at the Eutiner Festspiele singing the role of Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello with the world famous Heldentenor, John Treleven.

Christina co-founded and was the Artistic Director of ‘Opera on a Shoestring’, which won awards for its productions of La Traviata. Many young singers sang their first major roles at Shoestring before going on to successful careers and this excitement attracted wonderful directors, designers and artists such as Terry Gilbert, Robert Love, Annette Gillies and John Taylor. Christina began directing with Edinburgh Grand Opera and a wealth of knowledge and experience in performance, stage craft, voice coaching, casting and directing allowed her to envisage radical new ways of making opera accessible to a wider and younger audience.

Christina “whose beautiful voice goes right to the heart” brings prestige and experience to this years’ festival in an exciting partnership with Elaine C Smtih.

Elaine Constance Smith is a Scottish actress and comedienne born in Glasgow and is best known for her role as Mary "Mary Doll" Nesbitt in the BBC sitcom Rab C. Nesbitt. She has appeared on numerous BBC dramas and is a star of the pantomime performing in Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White & The Seven Dwarves to name but a few!

Elaine C Smith Torch Song Divas June 19 20

Touring Scotland with her stand-up comedy shows, ‘Elaine with Attitude’ and ‘Hormonally Driven’, the basis for the highly successful TV series ‘Elaine’ for BBC Scotland came about. Smith also displayed her musical talents in these shows leading her to commonly be known as ‘Scotland’s First Lady of Comedy’.

Other stage performances have seen Elaine tour with the UK stage version of the hit film Calendar Girls, in addition to playing Susan Boyle in in the musical stage show “I Dreamed a Dream”.

On the pairing of a comedienne with an opera star Smith commented, “We're a really unusual double act and we've come up with this idea which we're calling Torch Song Divas. The idea is that we tell how women have been represented in song."

The show blending two distinct yet spectacularly talented performers is something which will have to be seen – and heard - to be believed!

Tickets are still available for their event “Torch Song Divas” which is showing on the 19th and 20th of June in Websters Theatre.

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Kathakali Comes To Scotland

Tuesday June 16, 2015

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The West End Festival plays host to a rare opportunity presented by the Kala Chethena Kathakali Company to see the elaborate 3-Dimensional Chutti make-up process that transforms the faces of the Kathakali (Indian dance-drama) actors. This is an amazing 500 year old traditional technique applied by the first and only female Chutti artist in the world - Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar.

The display is followed by a bowl of delicious Indian curry with rice, prepared especially by one of the members of the Kathakali Company from Kerala, India

There is also the opportunity for an evening with Kathakali masters featuring chanting, songs, music and a rare opportunity to ask the artists questions. Kathakali means story–play and embraces drama, dance, music, visuals and ritual to create an exotic and visually powerful form of theatre.

Described as “spectacularly beautiful” by the Daily Telegraph, this rare gem of Indian theatre will be sure to add an exotic twist to your festival experience.

Tickets available for make-up demo, food and evening with Kathakali masters from The Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre

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The Key: An Art Mystery

Monday June 15, 2015

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“As a consequence of a number of discussions, over the last two years, about art with Alasdair Gray, I decided to use my knowledge of art history, and my interest in playwriting, to compose a play that really looked at his paintings and to bring those meanings to life using the dramatic potential of theatre.

Alasdair Gray’s paintings on the surface are engaging designs, but they can also reveal hidden depths of ideas and feelings, ranging from intense pain to delightful pleasure: How could these attributes be communicated in a play?

The decision to use Oscar Wilde’s infamous literary character ‘Dorian Gray’ was initially inspired by the chance association of names, but as the play demanded someone who was an art expert, he claimed the job.

Dorian gets assistance from other characters because they have intimate knowledge of the art. In consequence, the writing and the painting are brought into a close relationship and exploited by the dramatic visual and literary qualities of theatre.

Lanark and Duncan Thaw are regenerated to help Dorian Gray find the key to the meaning of Alasdair Gray’s art. However Lanark has a new dilemma and she falls in love with the beauty of Dorian Gray. Duncan Thaw on the other hand is sceptical and tests Dorian’s claims about the role of art and the beautiful as transforming experience for the individual.

Assisted by a lily, a symbol of purity and beauty they travel into the Alasdair Gray mural painting ‘Glasgow: The Triumph of Death’ in search of the key, but events overtake them and their world is turned upside down. Will art triumph over death?”

-       Duncan Comrie, writer of The Key: An Art Mystery

 

Showing on the 16th and 17th of June at 2.30/7.30pm, tickets are available from Mighty Fine Theatre or available on the door at Websters Theatre. 

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Raintown plus guests 'Elemental' and 'Scott Nicol'

Saturday June 13, 2015

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With eight awards in 3 years, including the recent British Country Music Award's (BMCA) for ‘Entertainer of the Year’ and 'Female Vocalist of the Year,’ Raintown are fast gaining the reputation as one of the hottest Country acts not only in the UK, but in Europe too.

They have a successful first album under their belts so it hopefully won’t be long until the second! Until then however, come witness a stripped back acoustic performance at CC Music on June 14th at 2pm supported by local blues duo ‘Elemental and Ayrshire singer/songwriter Scott Nicol.’

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Cracked Tiles

Friday June 12, 2015

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“I have been acting for several years and am also a professional magician. I decided to write this one man play after the death of my father. It's inspired by the relationship I had with my father which was fragmented somewhat by a battle with mental illness. It is a black comedy or a tragicomedy. There is much to chew on in the piece with regards to mental health and attitudes towards it however, there is also a lot of humour in the piece as it largely revolves around the family chip shop and highlights many of the quirks of a Scots-Italian upbringing.” – Lorenzo Novani

Last year saw the magician perform with “Mysitc” – street magic designed to not only amaze (which it did) but to evoke thought. One reviewer described the event as “a skilful weaving of poetry and prophecy” which means his return to this years’ festival is most anticipated!

 
Tickets for tonight’s show are available on the door at Siempre Bicycle Club for £6.

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The Kelpies Come Home

Tuesday June 9, 2015

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Today, (Tuesday, 9 June), The Kelpies maquettes return home to Glasgow’s west end as part of an exhibition in the West End Festival (WEF), running from 9- 25 June at the Kibble Palace. 

The 10 foot horses heads artwork was hand-crafted by renowned Scottish sculptor Andy Scott at his Maryhill workshop. They acted as models to create the world’s largest equine sculpture, The Kelpies, which is the 100ft high centrepiece of the new 350 hectare Helix Park in Falkirk and forms a dramatic gateway to the new section of the Forth and Clyde Canal.

The maquettes will be the main feature of the G20 heritage exhibition, which has been designed to launch 'The Friends of Queen Margaret Drive' and start fundraising for the conservation of the Queen Margaret Drive footpath. In addition to the Kelpies, the exhibition includes pieces from the Rennie Mackintosh society, The Maryhill Burgh Halls, Scottish Canals plus local conservation groups.

The original concept for The Kelpies was to celebrate the role of horses in both industry and agriculture, as well as their role as tow horses for boats along the Forth and Clyde canal. The Kelpies maquettes have travelled around the world and appeared at major events including New York’s Scotland Week, the 2014 Ryder Cup and this year’s Grand National and Scottish Cup Final. However, this is the first time they have come ‘home’ to the G20 postcode area where they were made. 

Kelpi2

Following the success of Festival Sunday and the WEF parade which saw thousands of people flood the streets of the west end, the G20 heritage exhibition is an event of cultural significance. The celebrated WEF is the perfect platform to welcome home these globally recognised symbols of Scottish craftsmanship.

Rhonda Fraser, chair of QMD Traders Association commented: “The G20 Heritage Exhibition demonstrates Queen Margaret Drives unique position in connecting the amazing Conservation projects throughout the Maryhill postcode with the world famous Botanic Gardens.” 

With over 400 events in over 80 venues across the west end, there is something for everyone, including children, with many of the events free to attend. The 20th WEF is geared up to be the biggest and best yet!

Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, Cllr Adrian Mahoney said: “The Kelpies maquettes have travelled all over the world acting as cultural ambassadors for Scotland and we’re proud to deliver them back to their birthplace for one of the country’s most celebrated festivals. We hope their presence will help make a difference to a local cause and encourage more people to visit the Falkirk area to see the magnificent Kelpies landmark for themselves.”

 

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