THE Scottish Parliament echoed to the music of Pirates of the Caribbean and the Skye Boat Song last week.

Children from Big Noise centres across Scotland performed together for the very first time for the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon and cross party MSPs at a special 10th birthday reception.

The reception, in the Garden Lobby of the parliament, was compèred by writer and broadcaster Sally Magnusson, Board Member of Sistema Scotland, and told the story of Big Noise through musical performances, songs and interviews featuring more than 80 children from the four Big Noise centres: Raploch (Stirling); Govanhill (Glasgow); Torry (Aberdeen) and Douglas (Dundee).

Sistema Scotland, the charity which runs the Big Noise programmes, was launched by Richard Holloway in Raploch, Stirling in 2008 with 35 children.

Now more than 2,500 children take part in the programme every week.

As Big Noise Douglas was only set-up in September last year this is the first time the children from all four centres have performed together.

Independent research shows that Big Noise is transforming the lives of children through music and strengthening disadvantaged communities.

It uses the symphony orchestra and learning a musical instrument, via an immersive and intensive programme, as the tools to equip children with a wide range of social and life skills including confidence, resilience and aspiration.

The reception - held during Scotland’s Year of Young People - was sponsored by Bruce Crawford, MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, who put forward a motion in the Scottish Parliament, which received cross party support, commending the work of Sistema Scotland and the Big Noise programme.

The First Minister, who gave a keynote speech at the reception, also joined the children, their families, MSPs and guests to sing The Hello Song, which is the first music children learn when they start the programme.

The performance was filmed for the Big Noise #100BigHellos social media campaign which was launched earlier this year to mark the 10th birthday.

Sally Magnusson interviewed children from Raploch Lower Brass Ensemble - Symone Hutchison (16) and Jade Campbell (14), (both trombone); Tommy Hill (16) and Ben Morrison (13) (both tuba) and Patrick Hutchison (16) trombone – about 10 years of Big Noise.

Independent research by The Scottish Government, Education Scotland and the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH) has consistently found that Big Noise has a wide range of positive impacts on children’s lives.

Welcoming the children and their families to the Scottish Parliament First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, whose constituency includes Big Noise Govanhill, said: “Sistema Scotland has dramatically extended its reach since it began its ground-breaking work ten years ago and I congratulate everyone involved.

"It is particularly fitting they are celebrating this landmark achievement during the Year of Young People.

“The Scottish Government believes that a young person’s background should not have any impact on their ability to take part in culture, or to benefit from the immeasurable benefits the arts can bring.

"Through its creative, empowering and energising approach, and with the support of the Scottish Government and others, Sistema Scotland have helped thousands of young people to reach their full potential and fulfil their ambitions over the past decade and I hope they will continue to do so for many more years to come.”

There was cause for a double celebration as children from the Big Noise Primary Schools String orchestra performed together for the first time in public and the Big Noise Douglas Choir also made its debut appearance.

They were joined by the Raploch Lower Brass Ensemble and Lewis Sinclair (18) from Big Noise Raploch delighted guests with a solo finale of the Skye Boat song on oboe.

Lewis is the first Big Noise musician to be offered a place to study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow.

Richard Holloway, founder and Chairman of Sistema Scotland, told MSPs at the reception:  “There is no quick and easy fix to the poverty and inequality that still darkens the dream of a fairer Scotland. When we set-up Sistema Scotland 10 years ago we knew we would have to commit ourselves for the long haul.

"Social transformation is slow work that can only be measured over many decades. So I hope you’ll stay with us and these brave children as we embark on the next ten years and the ten years beyond that.

“We are grateful to everyone who has helped and encouraged us over the last ten years - not least the strong support of the Scottish Government, local authorities in Stirling, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen, the charity Optimistic Sound, and MSPS of all denominations.

"Thank you for sharing our dream. I beseech you: don’t ever let its sweet music die.”

Big Noise Raploch is delivered by Sistema Scotland in partnership with Stirling Council.

Big Noise Raploch was established  in 2008 and has almost 500 members ranging from babies through to S6.

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