Montrose Academy band wows festival

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MUSICIANS from Montrose Academy took to the main stage of one of the world’s biggest folk and traditional music festivals recently after winning a national competition.

The group of nine youngsters outperformed schools from across the country in the ScottishPower Powerful Performance competition, the first prize for which was the chance to play at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and in the Danny Kyle Open Stage competition as part of Celtic Connections.

They performed three songs on the main stage last Thursday in the festival’s final education concert. Their set included Rattlin Roarin Willie and Atholl Highlanders, I’m shipping up to Boston by Dropkick Murphys and Runaway by The Corrs.

The group, comprising Sarah Rennie, Isla Thomson, Rebecca Breen, Scott Smith, Alastair Walker, Sanan Moir, Ruaraidh Macfarlane, Charlotte Price and Drew Murray, also performed four songs on the Danny Kyle stage with the addition of Suburban War by Arcade Fire to their repertoire. In addition, their performance was broadcast live on Celtic Music Radio and the pupils, from S3, S5 and S6 were interviewed by the station about their win.

ScottishPower, principal sponsor of Celtic Connections, has supported the festival since 2007. Ann Loughrey, the company’s head of corporate social responsibility, said she was pleased that the school’s performances were well received.

She commented: “Montrose Academy’s superb version of Rattlin’ Roarin’ Willie and Atholl Highlanders secured them as winners of the ScottishPower Powerful Performance and their rendition of the song went down very well at the festival.

“The pupils have certainly proved themselves as worthy winners with their exceptional performances. We’re delighted to have selected them as the ScottishPower Powerful Performance winners for the 2011 Celtic Connections festival.”

Academy music teacher Jacqueline Cockburn also said she was thrilled with the pupils’ performances and day at the festival.

She said: “They worked very hard to achieve the high standard required for the contest and the whole school is delighted that it paid off.

“The pupils were slightly nervous before their performances but as soon as they got on stage their nerves died down and they played a fantastic set. We are all very pleased at the response the band received.”