Children’s Classic Concerts

Perfect for Perth

Ever since our Essential Orchestra delighted Perth with Roald Dahl's Three Little Pigs last year, we've been keen to get back to the Fair City - and the Perthshire Advertiser seems to share our enthusiasm. Their feature article on the Perth Festival of the Arts put us front and centre...

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A passion for inspiring!

Our General Manager, Pippa, turned what she loved into her job. Originally from Aberdeen, the Press & Journal grilled her for all the info a young music lover would need to follow in her footsteps! 

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Introducing Tartan Tales!

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Once upon a time a pair of roving percussionists, brave and true, were driving through the Scottish countryside, enjoying the fair hills, and the warm sun*. “Olly”, said Owen, for those were indeed the lads’ names, “That was a braw concert, filled with many a lively tune, and a roaring crowd. But what shall we turn our drumming sticks to next?” Just then, they passed the shores of the bonny Loch Ness, and Olly exclaimed aloud: “Why, what could be better? Our next concert should be inspired by the myths and monsters of Scotland!” And they became so excited at the thought, singing out their favourite Scottish songs, that they failed to notice the mysterious head rising from the waters of the loch… 

Ok, so maybe that’s not completely true…  but we can confirm that our Essential Orchestra is back: with a brand new show, taking you on a musical journey through the swirling mists of Scotland’s fantastical fables – we give you, Tartan Tales! Scotland’s a country of wild places, home to mysterious creatures, and fearsome warriors; there’s a whole history of amazing stories and landscapes to choose from, and we’ve put together a concert that pulls together a few of our favourites - from the dramatic, through the scary, to the downright silly. Navigate the stormy waters of Fingal’s Cave, triumph over the mighty Misterstourworm, and cheer on the sure-footed horse of Tam O’Shanter. And well, because it’s us, there’ll be a few surprises along the way…  all climaxing in an original medley created for Tartan Tales (arranged by Paul Campbell), featuring music from beloved Scottish family films! 

We’re also inviting the brave hearts in our audience to choose their own clan, from amongst the orchestra. There’s always been some friendly rivalry between instrumental sections and now they’re on the look-out for new recruits: will you band with the strong #clanstrings, pledge your loyalty to the wily #clanwind, or fight for the bold #clanbrass? Decide during the concert, and then join the musicians after the show, for a chance to try playing your favourite instrument. 

We'll be stopping in Perth (part of the rather fabulous Perth Festival of the Arts) and Stirling (Macrobert Arts Centre) - catch you there! 

Now you’ll have to excuse us – we’ve just had a call from a rather frantic Owen & Olly, something about a giant flipper…



*Well, this *is* a fairytale

What's the time, Mr Wolf?

It's payback time! The Big Bad Wolf is back on the prowl, and our Three Little Pigs have begun to howl! Who can save them, our force for good? Could it be that little Red Riding Hood....

After a sell-out show in 2016, our 18-piece mini-orchestra is taking Roald Dahl's Three Little Pigs to Dundee's Caird Hall. Adapted* from the beloved author's Revolting Rhymes, our live-action, live music staging of the dramatic showdown between wolf, pig and hooded heroine has a twist in the tale!

It's not just a musical comment on the literal instability of the housing market, however: led by our dynamic duo, Owen & Olly, you'll learn about the Big Friendly Giants and Witches of the instrument world, take part in our audience dance-along, and have the chance to meet our musicians after the concert - we promise the wolf won't bite!

See the highlights from our production at the Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling last year, in the video below.


*By composer Paul Patterson, who turns 70 this year!

CCC's Top Picks for Festive Family Fun!

It’s Christmas! The kids are high on a seemingly endless supply of sugar! You need entertainment, and you need it fast! Fortunately, the CCC Team are here, with their recommendations on the best in family activities over Christmas time.

In Edinburgh, the National Museums are taking part in Edinburgh’s Christmas with Sprogmanay, a 3 day mini-festival of crafts, storytelling, music and dancing – including a special lantern procession, and a Hogmanay treasure trail. Pre the big day, there’s Too Many Penguins? by children’s theatre specialists Frozen Charlotte, on at the Festival Theatre till Christmas Eve (they also have a book of it, too) whilst Santa can still be visited at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

On the Glasgow front, the big attraction is the Irn-Bru Carnival at the SECC, filled with rides, activities and amusements till 15 Jan, whilst in the New Year, comedian Lee Kyle takes over The Stand Comedy Club with a show for kids entitled ‘What Do I Do Now?’. The Grosvenor are having a live sing-along of Frozen on the morning of Christmas Eve, whilst slightly further afield Fullarton Fairy Tail is free and open till 5th January.

Little and big screen wise, there’s rich pickings as ever. We’re particularly looking forward to the release of A Monster Calls, starring Edinburgh lad Lewis MacDougall and the voice of Liam Neeson, from Patrick Ness’ book of the same name. Olivia Colman heads up a stellar cast for the animated version of We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, premiering on Channel 4 on Christmas Eve whilst Tom Hardy (yes, *that* Tom Hardy) reads the CBeebies New Year story this year. Don’t say we’re not good to you.

And last, but not least, a special mention for Social Bite and ITISON, who have teamed up again to offer you the chance to buy a Christmas meal for a homeless person, for just £5. They’ve made a huge difference since they started in 2014, and we hope they can build on that success for many years to come. Merry Christmas all!

CCC's Best of the Fest(s)

You may have heard, there’s a wee festival happening…? No matter where you’re based, it’s hard to avoid the slew of stars and exclamation marks coming out of Edinburgh this time of year… and lucky as we are to have such a huge number of shows, attempting to sift through the offerings can leave the most experienced cultural consumer reeling in confusion.

So, we did it for you. Here’s the CCC’s Team’s top tips across all the festivals!

Elgar’s The Apostles (Edinburgh International Festival)
Usher Hall

Sunday 14 August - 3.00 PM
Let’s start with the heavy hitters, front and centre. Choral conductor superstar Edward Gardner directs CCC partners the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the NYCoS National Girls Choir of Scotland (amongst others) in Elgar’s mammoth, mystical masterpiece. Prepare to be blown away.

Tamas Fejes

Bach for Solo Violin (Edinburgh Festival Fringe)

Canongate Kirk

Sunday 21 August - 2:00 PM
Something from the other (but by no means lesser) end of the spectrum (although still strictly grown-up fare, the family recommendations are below!): Tamas Fejes performs a selection of Sonatas and Partitas by JS Bach. We were fortunate enough to work with Tamas recently, and as well as being hugely talented, he’s also, as CCC team member Jemma put it, “a lovely guy, [and has] a great rapport with audiences”.

The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace (Edinburgh Festival Fringe)

St. Giles’ Cathedral

Saturday 13 August - 7:30 PM
Before taking to the stage on Sunday, you can also catch NYCoS performing in one of Edinburgh’s most beautiful venues. A timely piece, Karl Jenkins’ large-scale, anti-war piece is based on texts drawn from a diverse array of cultural and religious sources, and the world’s most performed work by a living composer.

In the Mood (Edinburgh Festival Fringe)

artSpace@StMarks

11 – 13 August - Various times
15 piece Yorkshire band Sundown Swing are back to Fly us to the Moon with their toe-tapping, finger-snapping mix of vocals and instrumentals. Covering faves from Glen Miller to Robbie Williams, you don’t have to be a Big Spender to enjoy this bunch. (Sorry. We couldn't resist.) And if swing’s your thing, check out our upcoming Christmas Swingalong, this December…

Okay, enough with the grown-up stuff, here’s where we recommend you spend your family pound this August!


Roald Dahl

We’ve been a little bit doo-lally for Dahl this year, and the festivals have also got on board with 100th celebrations. The Edinburgh International Book Festival offer Roald Dahl’s Glorimptous Gobblefunk (Fri 19 Aug, families and 7+), as well as an entire day of Dahl themed “crafts, colouring-in, face painting and more” next Tues 16. At the Fringe, The Hogwallops (11-14, 16-22) present circus inspired by The Twits, whilst puppetry and folk music combine in the classic James and the Giant Peach (11-21, 23-27 Aug).

Hup!

Pleasance Kids @ EICC (Edinburgh Festival Fringe)

11-16, 19-23, 25-28 August - Various times
“This is just plain lovely. Funny and enchanting.” So sayeth CCC Team member Erin, who returned for repeated viewings. Created specifically for the teeny tiny ones (0 – 24 months), this is classical music in a relaxed and playful atmosphere, with a cheeky, loveable raccoon running the show. A treat for the eyes, ears and heart – and patrons can stick around to keep playing post-event. 


Comedy Club 4 Kids

Assembly Roxy

11-28 August - 5:35 PM
It’s hard to explain how this one manages to make it work, but it’s been doing so for over 10 years. A daily changing line-up of comics from across the Fringe means it’s always fresh, and the kids are included in ways that encourage them to be the star. Comedy that’s focused on the children, but never fails to entertain the adults, too.

Hup Trailer from Starcatchers on Vimeo.


Project Dazzle
(Edinburgh Art Festival)

Dazzle Hub

11 & 18 August - 2:00 – 4:00 PM
Art ain’t just for grown-ups, and the Edinburgh Art Festival know it. Ciara Phillips’ ‘Dazzle’ ships are the highlight of this year’s offerings, and a family friendly programme has been scheduled alongside. There’s tours of the ship itself, after which all can get crafty in workshops (5-12) creating dazzle t-shirts and sculptures, or enjoy free play (for the under 5s) inspired by the themes involved. Good on you, EAF!

One more, because we just had to include….

CeilidhKids at the Fringe (Edinburgh Fringe Festival)

Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

11-17, 19-22, 24, 26-28 August - Times vary
Does what it says on the tin. A good old knees up, for all abilities, ages, and family members. One of our team members took her newly born and told us said daughter “rated the experience 5/5, would ceilidh with a baby again.”

And, finally, a couple of shows that we’ve included for the die-hards: they were sold out within minutes, but returns queues have a good success rate for those in the front. Two worth waiting for are:

GRIT (Edinburgh International Festival)

Edinburgh Playhouse

Tuesday 23 August - 8:00 PM
Winner of the Scots Trad Award for Event of the Year in 2015, this is a reimagining of GRIT, Martyn Bennet’s final album, fusing traditional Scottish tunes and hard techno. As CCC team member Cath put it: “This will be incredible.”

Julia Donaldson & Friends (Edinburgh International Book Festival)

Charlotte Square

Saturday 13 August - 10:00 AM
Eternal favourite (of ours, and everyone else, it seems) Julia Donaldson is hosting a hootenanny with an array of guests from her books, including What The Detective Saw, The Gruffalo and new offering, The Detective Dog. We have a person on the inside, who says this one is not to be missed….

Did we get it right? What are, or have been, your top hits from this year’s crop? Let us know, and we’ll pass the recommendations on. Happy Festivalling!

Take a look back at our new orchestra in action!

Catch our latest concert, The Three Little Pigs on camera! With thanks to Scott MacKenzie Films HD!

'Tails' of pigs 'squealing' the show in Perth - check out this review!

The young audience for the

Children’s Classic Concert on

Saturday strained to see who

- or rather what - was heading

for the stage ... writes Melanie

Bonn (Perthshire Advertiser, 27th May 2016)


For this celebration of Roald Dahl’s

100th birthday the orchestra bounced

into view, dressed in costumes ranging

from a crocodile to an Oompa Loompa.

A cello was in the hands of a grinning

ladybird and we even had a portly tuba

player dressed as Miss Trunchball

from Matilda.

The concert’s presenter Olly Cox

came as Willie Wonka and his partner

in music, Owen Gunnell sported a comic beard, announcing he’d come as

one of The Twits. Clearly this was going

to be a bit of fun.

Tiny people don’t generally behave

if you try to take them anywhere

near a classical performance, but

the enthusiastic team had bashful

dads on their feet doing disco moves

to Shostakovich and toddlers riding

in their seats cowboy-style to the

terrifically lively William Tell Overture.

A big chunk for the show focused on the drama of the Three Little Pigs taken

from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes.

The brass section of the mini

orchestra gamely donned animal

heads and raced among the delighted

audience while the tale was given a

suitable backdrop with music by Paul

Patterson.

The Concert Hall had the

atmosphere of the Christmas Panto

with plenty of boos for the cunning fox.

Sandwiched around the piggy action were some well-chosen snippets

designed to keep the wee ones from

scribbling on their programmes.

The Musiques des Automates from

Coppélia, the Dance of the Sugar Plum

Fairy from the Nutcracker, Mozart’s

Horn Concerto No 4 and Dance

Macabre by Saint-Saëns were all a hit.

Professional musicians Olly and

Owen have just the right touch

for sharing classical music with

children, providing simple, amusing

explanations for each piece. The pair of

madcap percussionists have appeared

in Perthshire several times before and

they clearly loved seeing the response

the concert got at this year’s PerthFestival of the Arts.

Behind Closed Doors – What really happens at a CCC rehearsal…

This blog post is brought to you by our newest recruit, Erin, who has kindly offered to share her first impressions of what goes on before a CCC gig.

“The animal I really dig, above all others, is the pig…”

“Ah ha!” I thought “Found them!” A little lost in the backstage areas of the RSNO Centre, the opening refrain of Roald Dahl’s porcine themed Revolting Rhyme saved my bacon. A booming delivery of lines by artistic director Olly had led me to my destination: the rehearsal for the Children’s Classic Concerts’ performance of The Three Little Pigs.

A newcomer to the CCC team (I’ll be starting properly in July, as the Digital Communications Officer) and to their concerts, I wasn’t entirely sure what I’d find on the other side of the door. Some things were expected; my CCC colleagues would be there, as well as artistic directors Owen and Olly, and CCC’s mini 18-piece orchestra (recently formed, featuring long-standing professional musicians, well versed in the classical scene, together with students and recent graduates). But…how did the rhymes and the music interact? What physical role did the crafty characters Olly was describing play in the proceedings? And, most importantly, would I actually get to see Red Riding Hood whip her pistol from her knickers?

Over the next few hours, I witnessed an impressive display from both musicians and the staff, as they worked hard to bring together music and theatrics into a polished, entertaining whole.

The orchestra, already clearly well practiced at the score, worked with the CCC artistic directors to finesse the marriage of words and music, playing with timing and volume. Dahl’s poetry seems to naturally invoke silliness, and was only amped up by Olly’s character accents, as he thoroughly reveled in his dramatic role.

The giggles grew to full-blown laughter in the adjoining room, however, where the three little pigs, the big bad wolf and Ms. Hood were running through their paces, led by theatre director Lissa Lorenzo. To my surprise, I realized our actors were also drawn from the orchestra, namely the brass section, not needed for the Three Little Pigs section of the show. “Here, try this fur coat on for size” said Lissa to Matthew, “I reckon you’ll make a great big bad wolf”, whilst handing out beautifully constructed pig’s head to Arlene and Al.

The trio threw themselves in to their roles with gusto, being incredible sports as they were instructed to strut, run, cower and roar around the stage; CCC Company Manager Pippa also found herself roped in as the one Pig who believed in the power of masonry as a protective material. They may not have known what they were letting themselves in for when they volunteered, but the connection forged by playing music together made them a great team when playing roles together. The only possible hiccup coming when Al was presented with the polka dot drawers he had to wear as the infamous Red Riding Hood: “I’m just not sure they’re my colour…”

An enormous amount was achieved in a brief afternoon, the musical and dramatic parts of the concert falling into place separately, before neatly fitting together; one could see how the final performance would appear, and the sense of excitement in the room was palpable. I began to realize how many different elements – music, costumes, theatrics, audience interaction, a huge dose of enthusiasm and silliness – go into making CCC’s concerts, and how that energy draws in both children and adults alike. Not being able to make the Stirling concert, I’m finally going to be able to experience it fully this Saturday, at the Perth Concert Hall, part of this year’s Perth Festival of the Arts. I can’t wait.

Three Little Pigs - The Lowdown!

We’re all big Roald Dahl fans at CCC HQ, so we were very excited to see our musicians illustrate their talents and bring fictional fun to life at The Three Little Pigs concert (Macrobert Arts Centre) in Stirling last month! Our mini-orchestra were on a mission to delight families with their Dahl-inspired antics and character costumes - hopefully you’ll agree that they succeeded!

We felt the highlight was Three Little Pigs, Dahl’s Revolting Rhyme, (with brilliant music by Paul Patterson). Olly did a fab job of narrating (his wolf voice was particularly gruff!), Owen made his conducting debut (and played the percussion parts at the same time – how hard can that be, write?) and the acting from our brass players and Company Manager as the pigs, the wolf, and Red Riding Hood was amazing! There was certainly a twist in the tail, but we won’t reveal that here, in case we spoil the surprise for anyone!

The lads were firmly on the same page though, as they took the audience on an astonishing adventure throughout the concert – they got everyone in the party mood right from the beginning with Mambo from West Side Story, before introducing us to the Big Friendly Giants (BFGs) of the orchestra; the contrabassoon, tuba and double bass, in Malcom Arnold’s sprightly Scottish Dance. In contrast, the Minpins (very tiny people!) made an appearance afterwards, as the baby instrument of the orchestra, the piccolo, played a well-known melody from the ballet, Coppélia. Later, the orchestra performed Dance Macabre (Saint-Saëns), showcasing the ‘witch’ of the orchestra, leader Jane Mackenzie, on her spookily de-tuned violin. Next came Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, inspired by Willy Wonka’s sweet tooth (it was also an excuse for Owen & Olly to wear their tutus, as they like to do)!

The intention behind the concert was to celebrate Roald Dahl’s Centenary year, so there was a rendition of happy birthday, complete with a cake fit for the man himself, as well as a massive party game of musical statues. Owen & Olly demonstrated some proper ‘Dad dancing’ - snapping like the Enormous Crocodile, busting some Oompa Loompa moves as well as Miss Trunchbull’s speciality hammer throw, getting everyone up on their feet!

Topping it all off, we had our newly commissioned classical mash-up, arranged by Paul Campbell, of some of our favourite hits (our beloved William Tell is the finale piece), appropriately named, NOW! That’s What CCC Call Classical Music. It certainly seemed to be a crowd pleaser – we had a cracking bit of feedback from a young audience member telling us that this was his favourite bit…

“It was a very hard choice because all of it was mind-boggling, but I think the most flabbergasting part was the finale, because it really tempted me to dance like an insane baboon (but I didn’t).”

Fingers crossed it all goes down well again in Perth! We’re especially pleased to be part of Perth Festival of the Arts this year. Three Little Pigs will be performed on Saturday 21st May, 11am at Perth Concert Hall and we can’t wait for round two!

We owe a big thank you to:

Creative Scotland
Macrobert Arts Centre
The musicians of the CCC mini-orchestra
Lissa Lorenzo, Theatre Director
Paul Campbell, Arranger
Scott Mackenzie, Videographer
Jassy Earl, Photographer